Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Monday, November 06, 2006

Are we Really Reaching our Community?

I made the following video a couple of months back for an evangelism workshop I was asked to run for a local church. I got the idea from a similar video, shot in the U.S., that I saw on the Off The Map website.

I asked a set of questions to around 10 or so people on the streets of Bunbury, a major rural centre on the south coast of Western Australia. What surprised me most about the answers I got was the lack of contact local people had with Christians.

You see there are around 33 churches in my part of the world - an area with a population of about 72 thousand (based on the populations of the Bunbury, Harvey, Capel and Dardanup Shires). A few of the more consumer friendly/purpose driven congregations are quite large compared to historical church attendence in the area. However even the largest of these only has an attendance rate of, at the best, about .7% of the local population (based on local newspaper reports on the activities of this church which put its membership at around the 400 mark give or take 100).

The bigger, attractional churches in the area are quite vocal about the amount of community contact they have and the number of people they are reaching with the gospel. I have always had my doubts about the real numbers in this whole equation as most of the population of these larger churches seems to have come from the other, less consumer friendly, congregations around town.

Even though the sample included in my interviews is small, when I couple this with the numbers of un-churched people I deal with everyday in the course of my work, I find it very difficult to believe that the local church, when the rubber hits the road, is even begining to scratch the surface. It is my guess that, at least in the case of the larger churches, the old "bums on seats" formula is creating a false sense of success and security, while the smaller churches - perhaps those best placed to take advantage of the lack of real missional activity in the larger churches - are busy licking their wounds.

The other thing that surprised me was the very different way Aussies responded to similar questions asked of Americans in the Off The Map interviews. Where the American's answers where quite emotionally charged, most of the time the Aussies really didn't have a clue!

Anyway - enjoy!


The Creature said...

Here's an idea - taking interactive blogging to a new level.

Why not think about some questions you would like to see answered by a random selection of "average joes" on the street and post them here.

Once I have a good list of questions I'll get back out with the camera and broadcast the results via "You Tube".

Forge WA News said...

that was excellent

always important to hear the people in the street i reckon