Hello again! Welcome back to my little slice o' the web.
I wanted to share something with you more on the personal/faith side.
A week or so ago I had an incredible opportunity. I was asked to share the stage at my local Church - Springdale Community Church - at our night of Vision and Worship. I was totally hazed - I had to follow our founding pastor - Dr. David Butler - on stage. But, that's okay. I think I handled it well :)
If you'd like to watch my talk - you can find it on Vimeo. Fast forward to the 9:50 mark and I speak about 8 minutes.
I referenced four slides in the video that you cannot see. I'll add them below with some annotated text from my talk.
I am a Seminary graduate. I attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary - swbts.edu - in Fort Worth, Texas. I spent nearly 10 years in various volunteer, pastoral and staff ministry & leadership roles with Churches in Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma and – through technology – all over the world.
For those of you that know me best, you know I’m a nerd. I’m a numbers guy. I like math. I like statistics and metrics and visual representations of those things. I often use numbers and visual methods to help me make decisions at work – things related to Revenue, and Staffing, and general technical geekery – and to help motivate and lead others.
A few years ago at one of my longest ministry stretches in a Church based in Edmond, Oklahoma – Life.Church - I had the privilege to serve under a man named Kevin Penry. He was our operational leader and mentored me in ways I can never repay. He had a knack of driving the WHY and the SO WHAT into the staff so we remained focused on the reason we did what we did. Working for Jesus? Sure. Of course. But, as a concrete thinker, and Visual learner, I sometimes needed more.
One day several years ago Kevin shared some of this data with me. It blew my mind. And in the context of Springdale, especially in light of some of the words from Dr. Butler this morning, I thought I’d share it in a slightly different format with you tonight. These things I’m about to share totally changed my views about evangelism. And our job as the Christian Church. And our lives as Christians.
Let's just in with Slide #1
A bunch of numbers. The what. Smart people estimating world’s population based on multiple research bases and you can find this on census.gov - raw data here - sometime if you are really interested. This is not intended to start a theological conversation related to the age of the earth or when God made people. It’s interesting how striking the population changed to settle around 400 million at the time of Christ. Then it settles there for hundreds and hundreds of years. Let's jump forward to some more modern times.
More what – There’s another really interesting graph and chart on census.gov - this raw data is here - starting in 1950 and estimated yearly for the next 100 years. A subset of that data is above. I was going to show you more of the raw data, but, it looked like an eye chart so you’re going to have to settle for summary data.
When we were in Seminary, we attended Wedgwood Baptist Church. The Pastor – Al Meredith – jokingly called us “class” and spoke to us about the “What” and the “So What” of the gospel. These numbers are the what.
But remember, I’m visual. Let's jump into the so what. Slide #3.
So, why does this matter? Why is this important?
See that Yellow Line? That’s us. Each of us in the room - and those of you reading this online - is represented by that Yellow line. We live there. Yes, yes. Some of us were born a few years before 1950. Some of us will live past 2050. I’ll be 75 years old then.
Anyway, this time we have on earth is a relatively short time period. But, it is NOT insignificant. A lot can be done for God’s kingdom in just a simple 100 year stretch of time and space. Many lives can be influenced in the span of our lifetime.
But, Daryl, so what?
This chart is slightly different.
Remember those boring charts I started with? The ones that made you cross eyed because there wasn’t any context to 5000 BC or 2000 BC or millions or billions of people?
All those numbers from before are now visualized in this chart. And our life span – the Yellow Line – now has some context to it.
Look at those lines. From the far left – the time of Christ. Through the Roman Emperors and Augustine. To the Crusades. To the Middle Ages. To the Reformation and Luther’s 95 theses. To the Industrial Revolution. To the founding of the US. To World Wars. Then to us again in the Yellow.
What do you notice? Well, I notice that the lines “ebb and flow” but it’s not until we approach our lifetime that I see some significant growth in the World Population. It triples in just our lifetime.
We live in a very unique time in history. The World population is exploding. That means there are more people than ever before who need to hear the good news. Church, Springdale, This is why it matters. This is the biggest SO WHAT I’ve ever heard in my life!
How is the Church responding? Are we remaining content to stay in the status quo of how or why or by what methods we do Church? Stop me if you’ve heard these things before. You know, we don’t want to focus on numbers. We don’t want to grow too fast because we’ll lose control. How will we manage the change? Things might get messy. I get it. I’m there. I feel it too.
But just because we may feel it, or think it, that doesn’t mean that it is acceptable. We need to focus on our role, and our responsibility, and our call to stewarding the Earth for Jesus. It’s our job to share what Christ has done for us. The Great Commission demands it!
So. What do we do? Well – to steal a line from my friend Josh Laxton – I’m glad you asked.
Josh briefly shared again in the 1st gathering just this morning that approximately 42-44% of Louisville has no Church or faith affiliation. That’s just Louisville. The whole population of the world is tripling under our watch.
Springdale. And the greater Church reading this on the Internet. God has placed us here in this moment. We are in a unique time / period of history. Let’s remember the what – all those numbers. Let’s embrace the why – and the so-what – and jump on board with what God is placing before us.
So that's what I shared. And that's the 8 minutes in the video. Kevin if you happen to read this - thank you. I hope "retirement" - whatever that is - treats you well. I'm thankful for you!