Monday, January 18, 2010

Got Our Number

In high school, nothing sounded as painful as Probability and Statistics Class. I would just as soon walk down to the shop and drink a pitcher full of sawdust. My distaste was probably a combination of totally maxing out with Trig & Pre-cal, but also for the fact that I tend to shy away from most record keeping involving numbers. It just seems that issues of the Kingdom are not usually assessed with numbers and figures.

This caused me to be very suspicious of Ed Stetzer. Why would anyone in ministry want to spend their time looking at numbers? And how in the world could that benefit the church?

I have recently come to really appreciate Stetzer's ministry and particularly his teaching. As an evidence, consider a wonderful article by Stetzer for Christianity Today.

He lays out how statistics are often misused and misunderstood. He also exposes the panic and conclusions that are often made which are contrary to gospel truth. Of course, most stats used in Christian publications paint a picture of a bleak and dying church. However, Stetzer reminds us:

Reports of Christianity's demise in America have been greatly exaggerated. While the main thrust of good research does indicate that the percentage of Americans who self-identify as Christians is declining, these data are not necessarily a bad thing. If three out of four Americans call themselves Christians, we are in big trouble. Three out of four Americans certainly do not live like Christians. Christianity becomes confused when everyone is a Christian but no one is following Christ. We evangelicals believe that most Americans do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Is the church dying? I wouldn't count on it.

1 comment:

Darby Livingston said...

Stetzer is the real deal - well liked by such a broad spectrum of Christian groups - and I've never heard him or read him say something that wasn't well-measured. I devour his books and read his blog nearly every day.