Thursday, August 29, 2013

Some Interesting (Yes, Interesting) Statistics

For the next two weeks, I'd like to share with you some interesting statistics (yes - statistics can be interesting) related to cultural and religious research. As I looked at the different stats, several questions went through my mind. I want to share some of the research with you as well as the questions that went through my mind as I was reading. My questions will be bold.
World population is over 7 billion people and growing at over 80 million per year (Population Media Center)
Will all of those people be reached or have a chance to hear the Gospel before Christ's return?
Facebook has 1 billion monthly active users (Facebook)
Don't these users see this creates loneliness and isolation?
If the world were 100 people... (
33 Christians, 22 Muslims, 14 Hindus, 7 Buddists
77 people would have a place to shelter them from the wind & rain, but 23 would not
1 would be dying of starvation, 15 would be undernourished, 21 would be overweight
48 would live on less than $2 USD per day
Should I not thank God for my job?
87 would have access to safe drinking water, 13 would use improved water
Over 1 million abortions each year (
What does this sanctity of life mean to most Americans today?
Finance (
Average household debt in the US has now reached a level of 136% of average household income
Over the last decade, the number of Americans without health insurance has risen from about 38 million to about 52 million
Total US credit card debt is more than 8 times larger than it was 30 years ago
Americans now owe more than $904 billion on student loans, which is a new all-time record high
1.5 million Americans filed for bankruptcy in 2010
Am I stiving to be a trustworthy steward?
Highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population
Highest divorce rate in the world
Highest teen pregnancy rate
Most obese
More school shootings
Highest child abuse death rate
Produces more pornography
Gets more plastic surgery
What has happened to the values we once were willing to die for?
How do these statistics make you feel? What part do you think the church plays in these things?
God bless you,
P.S. Last week I wrote about the things no visitor wants to hear from a church. I asked you to send me your ideas to share with others and here they are:
Why are you in church if you don't believe in God?
How could you not believe in God?
I'm so sorry, but you're going to hell!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Old Adage is True: Think Before You Speak

At some point in our lives we have been a church visitor. Remember the experience? For some of you it was a positive one. You were greeted by friendly people, knew where to park, there were signs directed you to classrooms, restrooms and the worship center.
Yet, for others, you felt lost. You weren't greeted, didn't feel welcomed, didn't know where the restrooms were, etc. Whatever your experience was, good or bad, there are certain statements a church visitor (we call them guests at First Free) never want to hear right off the bat. Some I have heard personally, others I read from an article by Ben Reed, a small groups pastor from Clarksville, TN.

  1. Our Pastor isn't normally this ____ (loud, obnoxious, long winded, etc.).
  2. We're full, sorry. (We need to be willing to find a group for them and have a backup plan if classes or the worship service is full.)
  3. What are you doing here? (It implies that God couldn't really love someone like them)
  4. You can't serve've got to be a member first. (Why would someone want to be a member if they've never had a chance to serve?)
  5. We don't believe in serving coffee on Sunday mornings.
  6. What's your address? I didn't catch it on the first 6 forms I had you fill out.
  7. You want to join a small group? You'll have to wait until next Fall. (If a person has to wait more than a month they will go to another church.)
  8. Here we just care about the Truth. If you don't like it, you can leave. (Love people and love Truth, but not one or the other.)
  9. Here are the 38 things we do each week as a church. (Simplifying is the key, otherwise we give people decision paralysis.)
  10. Next time, could you make sure to wear _____ (Fill that in with "something nicer, something that's clean". Creating a "come as you are" culture should be First Free's aim, not a "come as I am" culture.)

Got any to add? Send me them this week and I will share them with other Freshly Bru'd readers.

P.S. Don't miss communion this Sunday. This celebration of Jesus' death, resurrection, and return is one of the most meaningful memorials that deserves our presence.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Living on Mission

First, I wanted to say thank you for allowing me to take a little break from the weekly editions of Freshly Bru'd. I had a wonderful vacation and am excited to be back writing to you each week.

I came across a good read recently, although the book was published in 2011. It is titled, "Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture." It is written by a Pastor in Texas named Brandon Hatmaker.

Here is a quote from the book: "When we say we are to live incarnationally, we mean we are to 'put on' Jesus and represent Him by focusing on being His hands and feet to our world. To live on mission. This includes but is not limited to serving the least. It might be reaching out to your neighbor or a complete stranger in need. Either way, the focus is essentially on the church becoming missionaries to our culture." (p. 26)

That's it - becoming missionaries to our culture! This week's missional challenge: Put on Jesus - focus on being His hands and feet in your community!

In case you don't know what I mean by missional, it's being a missionary everywhere you are. It is being Jesus to everyone everywhere.


P.S. MOVE Sunday is this week, August 18th. There is only 1 service at 10:00am with a meal following. You will discover the next step you need to take to MOVE yourself forward spiritually! I hope to see you there!