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A Biblical Case
by Michael B. Knight
AM OFTEN ASKED, “Why should church-population ratio that existed in gained 7,864 new churches to help us
we be planting new churches when the 1950s. Think about this: From 1990- combat the increase of population. The
so many of our existing churches 2006 we added 68,510,978 people to the problem is this: We actually needed to
need our financial help or nurtur- population, plus another 22,873,058 plant 43,962 churches during this period
ing?” Let me first say that the salvation of immigrants. During this period, just to keep up with the population
my whole family is a product of a Church 39,611,000 people died. That means that growth. We could have filled every Amer-
of God revitalization project. However, in we had a net gain of 51,773,556 people ican church and still not been able to
a late evangelistic hour I have grown to in America. hold the harvest brought to us through
realize that time may not always be on Notice the cities that Paul chose to population growth alone. We must plant
our side. Many of you have heard that travel to in his missionary journeys— churches just to meet the needs of new
according to C. Peter Wagner, church Jerusalem, Antioch, Samaria, Rome, people, not to mention the 300 million
planting is the “single most effective Lystra, Athens (Acts 19:10; 1 Thessaloni- Americans that are currently within the
borders of our country.
Walk across the street if you love world
evangelization. Today more than 85 mil-
lion people in the United States make up
over 200 people groups other than Anglo.
Approximately 47 percent of the United
States is projected to be non-Anglo by
2050. In America today, 42 percent are
first-generation citizens. There are over 34
million African-Americans that represent
evangelistic methodology under heaven.” ans 1:8). He went to those places that 32 percent of the unchurched population.
But Wagner is not the only voice to were the most populated, influential, While 2 million Hispanics returned home
express such passionate sentiments. Here unconverted, and most culturally astute. last year, tens of millions are still present.
are five reasons why the Church of God Population most certainly was a guide for The world has come to America, and
must begin the biblical multiplication of Paul’s missionary journeys. globalization promises to continue this
church planting: The lack of church planting limits the trend.
The population is calling us. Perhaps we potential of harvest. Currently only 17.5 The Mark Commission. Mark’s Gospel
could say the population is calling us percent of America attends church on records these words of Jesus: “It is not the
back to the 1950s. Many of you are long- any given weekend. Now let’s think healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I
ing for the “good old days.” Have you about this: From 1990-2004 Evangelicals have not come to call the righteous, but
ever wondered why the “good old days” planted 14,032 churches. Mainline sinners” (2:17, NIV). According to Tom
were so “good”? The North American denominations lost 5,217 churches. The Rainer, there are over 190 million
Church actually needs 100,000 new Catholics lost 1,031 churches. What does unchurched people in America. Floyd Bar-
churches tomorrow, just to achieve the this mean? In the body of Christ, we only tel wrote that “95 percent of all Christians
8 EVANGEL • APR 2009
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