This is an update of the original posting of this article
It’s almost like there’s a rule: 99% to us, 1% for them. We can see it reflected in Christian bookshops, where a search of the book titles and videos will reveal that the vast majority of material is produced entirely for Christians, in terms of language, content and underlying assumptions. – Internet Evangelism Day (Under Creative Commons License: Attribution)
The 99% to 1% problem discussed in the article above is the story of the Church today. What it represents is the fact that the majority of our efforts of ministry, resources, nurturing and even drawing, are focused on people that are already Christians, or have been exposed to Christianity and its culture. The truly unreached and unsaved are rarely even approached by us, much less pursued. It is like taking your rod and reel, with a bass boat, and going to an industrial fish farm to fish bass. The fish there have always been there, are maintained and stocked every day, and they don’t go far so you don’t have to go far to find a fish. I have been wrestling with this issue. The question is “how do we fix this problem?”
I think a good start, along with prayer, fasting and listening to the Holy Spirit (for once), is looking at the list of possible causes posted in the article quoted to above, “The Challenge of ‘The 99% Problem’” ( http://www.internetevangelismday.com/evangelism-problems.php). The cause I think is particularly cogent is: “Some Christians may perhaps believe that any type of Christian material is somehow evangelistic through a ‘trickle-down’ effect”. This cause is very real and it shows laziness and inconsideration on our part as Christians. If we are truly interested is getting the harvest in, we are going to make sure we use good bait. OK, it is a mixed metaphor (harvesting and fishing), but we are not taking the time to put the “good stuff” out there to draw the unsaved. It takes work, creativity, and imagination. We are falling short in this regard. Further, we are not training ourselves and our brothers and sisters on how to reach the unsaved ….. not really. In recent years, the closest to an evangelist instruction I have heard in Church is “Each one reach one, bring someone to Church this Sunday” This is not going to get it with the 1%. Our training needs to go beyond slogans to actual training on what to look for, how to respond, what to say, how to bring the Holy Spirit on the scene. All this takes time, some money, and willingness and concern on the part of God’s people. I’m not seeing a lot of it today, and I say this as I look in the mirror.
I also think that we as the Body of Christ need to grow up, get out of the nursery, and make room for new babies. We have too much room and energy being taken up by Christians that have been “in the Way” in more ways than one. They won’t do what it takes to mature, they don’t want to mature, and they have a fit if they get a little uncomfortable. Many leaders have their hands full dealing with the immature in their congregations, and all the time and resources get sucked up by them, before they can reach a unsaved person. This is the shame of the Church today and we must do something about it.
I don’t have all the answers but I think we have to come to a point that we give people a place to learn and grow, we put good resources to it, and then we move on to establish a true outreach for the unsaved. We have to be prepared to let those who want to lie in the crib, and suck down time, energy and resources, walk away because we won’t accept their eternal babyhood. I’m not saying to ignore the 99%. I am saying expect and require more from them. We, the leaders, are responsible for turning the hearts and minds of those we lead and associate with, to the unsaved. If we push it, they will either have to ignore and be irritated, or join in and help. I don’t by any means imply that this is all we can do. But for me, it is a start.