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February 08, 2011

Comments

W Brian Leonard

Yes, but what is the number of Christians in the state of CT? I have to agree with the commenter who posted the following:

I’m serving in the Northeast, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that you’ll find the lowest percentage of Evangelical churches here. But what DOES surprise me is your limiting “churched” people to those who’ve had a “born-again experience.” I would rather you had looked for those who “follow Jesus” – since He said that many times and only told someone they had to be “born again” once! Of course, that would complicate your statistical work, since it seems to me there are people who follow Jesus in many kinds of churches – and people who don’t seem to follow him at all who populate Evangelical ones. In the Northeast, the Spirit is at work, even in Catholic churches and mainline churches, and there are many who are quite alive in Christ who may not identify themselves as meeting your standard.

Bill

Brian,

I don't know what the total # of Christians are, but I do know that even though Catholicism has been strong here traditionally, it is losing influence too (nationally). Check out this quote from Pew:

"Catholicism has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes. While nearly one-in-three Americans (31%) were raised in the Catholic faith, today fewer than one-in-four (24%) describe themselves as Catholic. These losses would have been even more pronounced were it not for the offsetting impact of immigration..."

Full article here:http://religions.pewforum.org/reports

Any way you slice it, Christians (broadly speaking) in New England are more rare than in most other places in the U.S. Even if every Catholic, Protestant, etc. church was filled each Sunday, there still wouldn't be anywhere near enough churches to reach the majority of people here who are apathetic about Christ regardless of whatever "brand" is presenting Him.

John S.

You write:
"2.3% -Remember that number and remember the 97+% that are still unreached. Let these numbers penetrate our minds, pierce our hearts and motivate us to keep pushing to reach our God-given potential as a church!"

Are you saying that only "evangelicals" are actual Christians? Only "evangelicals" are the only ones who are saved?

This implication runs counter to the teaching of the Gospel (where accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, and following Him, are the metrics of faith, not labels or specific theological affiliation) and counter to church history. In fact, your position is a totally a-historical position.

It is also frankly offensive to believers in non-evangelical settings -- in New England and beyond.

Catholics... Orthodox... many charismatics who don't identify as evangelical... fundamentalists... Mennonites... Anglicans... Presbyterians... etc etc etc.

Have I mis-understood you?

Bill

Yes, you've misunderstood the heart of the post. Frankly, your comments are off point. My thoughts would have to be twisted for one to claim I attempted to define who is a Christian and who is not among those who call themselves Christian. The point is most in New England do not follow Christ (more so than in other areas) and the call to action is "What are we going to do about it?"
I am responding to a set of metrics that was done for and by evangelical churches. If you have another set of stats/metrics more inclusive I'd be interested in reading those too.

Mandy

I don't believe Bill is claiming that only "evangelical" Christians are Christians. I believe he is trying to say that the low percentage of evangelical Christians in CT is a likely indication that there are very few Jesus followers in this state. No one can say for sure how many there are or what denominations/backgrounds they're from - except God. I think Bill is trying to encourage all believers, regardless of denomination or label, to spread Christ's love to those around them. The mission of Calvary Fellowship as I see it is to share Jesus with the lost whoever and wherever they may be. Certainly there are other churches of other denominations whose mission is the same. It is too bad that denominational barriers prevent Jesus followers from being united in their efforts. Imagine what a work God would do through all of us if we would join together! It's amazing how quickly words and labels can divide. Just the word "evangelical" is loaded with controversy and multiple meanings. I'm looking forward to the day when we're all together with Jesus and there is no more division. In the meantime, let's all get out there and share Jesus' love in grace and truth.

Bill

Mandy, thanks for putting my heart into words better than I managed to do. :)

Mandy

Bill, I'm glad I did something right today! I can check that off on my list. But seriously, I know from experience how challenging it is sometimes to express in words what God has laid on one's heart.

Linda

Saved people can certainly be "unreached" by the evangelical movement (that is, conversionism, activism, biblicism, and crucicentrism). I sure want to reach people who are saved but don't yet understand the primacy of God's word, who don't share the urgency to evangelism, or who don't live strongly in the full redemptive power of the cross. Let's go reach them!

Kevin

I understand the point of the original article, but I too think this is a swipe at Catholics, Orthodox and other believers in Jesus Christ who may not attend a church affiliated with the NAE. How were evangelicals actually measured? Instead of trying to pluck people from churches that we may not like -- why not try to cause revolutions within those churches? In a twisted and un-Biblical way, the Mormons try to sent "plants" (meaning fake members who progress into leadership) into Christian churches, often ones that have an interim pastor or are going through some strife, and try to shake up their churches. Why can't we do the same? If Jesus is really coming soon -- we don't have the time to build these mega monster churches. Connecticut's mega churches -- like Valley in Avon, New Life Church in Meriden, and First Cathedral in Bloomfield -- need to de-centralize and build up the body of Christ -- the remnant in churches that have seen better days INSTEAD OF EXPECTING PEOPLE TO COME TO THEM. We need to get out and actually go into the other churches. Why not 5 at a time?

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