World Population Clock

In a recent conversation about church planting, someone presented this simple math. The world population clock says there are more than 7 billion people alive today. According to the Pew Forum just over 2 billion of those people are Christians. These facts reveal there are 5 billion people who don’t know or follow Jesus. How will they hear? Imagine if 1 leader took responsibility for inviting 1000 people into a life changing relationship with Jesus – it’s a simple and reasonable strategy for reaching 5 billion people. In order to accomplish it, we would need 5 MILLION new church planters.

That got me thinking, what does the same math tell me if I apply it to more specific geographies. The same population clock says there are 316 million people in the USA. Research indicates that about 80% of Americans label themselves as Christians. However, statistics about actual church participation reveal that only 25% of Americans are living out faith in connection to a local church. That means there are 237 million unchurched Americans and utilizing the same strategy to reach them would require 237,000 new church planters.

I live in a suburb of Sacramento. The Census Bureau says almost 2.5 million people live in this metropolitan area. According to Barna, it’s the 17th most post-Christian place in America with 47% of population identify themselves as secular or nonreligious. Even if we just want to reach these post-Christian people, that would require 2,115 church planters in my own hometown.

What happens if you do the math for for you own city, state or country:

(Total population – Christians) / 1000 = number of church planters needed.

I’m guessing you’ll find the math as eye opening and vision expanding as I did. No wonder Jesus said, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”