World Missionsby Ronald D. Gilbert — An evangelist calculates how far 1.2 million is to 1 billion

(BNc) — According to the book, 2012 Churches of Christ in the United States, published by 21st Century Christian, the churches of Christ in the USA number 12,447, with 1,209,176 members. It is difficult to know how many New Testament Christians there are in the world today. For the sake of this article, let’s just suppose there are 1.2 million Christians in the USA and 1.2 million outside the USA, for a grand total of 2.4 or even 2.5 million New Testament Christians in the world.

The world population is just over 7 billion. Now just suppose that 2013 is the year when the Lord’s church really gets busy with world evangelism, and we double in one year. Now there would be 5 million New Testament Christians in the world.

Now suppose that everyone is fired up and they say we can do better. So in 2014 we grow from 5 million to 20 million. How far is 20 million from 1 billion?*

What if the Lord’s church could convert 100 million by 2020? How far is 100 million from 1 billion—not to mention 7 billion—and by 2020 the number could be 8 billion or more?

Brethren, the task before us is one of monumental proportions. There is much work to do!

But sadly, when we look at the statistics given in the book mentioned earlier, instead of our numbers growing, since 1994 there has been a loss each year in the number of New Testament Christians in the USA.

At the beginning of 2012 we had over 300 fewer churches of Christ in the USA than we did in 1980, and over 50,000 fewer Christians than we did in 1980 as well.

Brethren, it is time that we make world evangelism our top priority.

Jesus said, “The fields are white unto harvest.” The task before us is almost like the whole state of Texas planted in tomatoes, they are all ripe, and only two men show up for picking them!

Two and a half million is a long way from 1 billion, not to mention 7 billion!

Please join us and other faithful efforts to take the Gospel of Christ “into all the world.”

*Editor’s note: It takes a thousand millions to make one billion.

Ron serves as an evangelist with the Rock Valley church, Tompkinsville, Ky., and Director of International Bible Teaching Ministries. This article was adapted from “The Sower,” October 2012, released yesterday.


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