Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Evangelical Effectiveness

A friend of mine who leads a small cell group network tells me that about 1 out of 10 people in the network is an adult convert who came to faith throgh the minstry of the groups.

Now, in my local group of 14 ELCA congregations, the combined average worship attendance comes to about 6,000 people per week. If 1 out of 10 of them were adult converts, that would be 600 people. But a study I did of the annual reports from the congregations found a total of 72 adult baptisms over the past 6 years. In fact, the average number of adult baptisms each year per 100 worshippers among these congregations comes to 0.2.

Put another way, every batch of 100 worshippers in our congregations takes, on average, 5 years to bring one person to Jesus.

This is one reason I'm interested in cell groups and house churces.

Now, is this really a fair comparison... networked cells and conventional congregations? Probably not. It's apples and oranges, I admit it.

But it does make me think.

Perhaps we should be planting apples.


1 comment:

doulos theou said...

There is a factor that might explain the low number. I know people who go to the Lutheran church but prefer to get Baptised by the Evangelicals. There are some reasons for that. First, adult baptism in the Lutheran church very rarely happens, so people feel weird about it. Second some have the idea that there is a right way of baptism which is full immersion, and Lutherans don't do it the way they prefer. Some people believe baptism is spiritual and not physical so they never bother with it. In Chinese church the pastor suspected that some people lie about their baptism, but there is no way to prove it especially if it happened in China.