Almost all parts of TN are experiencing an influx of people. Many, if not most, are spiritually lost and un-churched.
TN Baptists are a mighty mission base for sharing the gospel around the world and the world is increasingly coming to TN. We are seeing the emergence of cults, sects, ideologies, and pagan religions. IWhen I was growing up, we would debate the difference between Church of Christ and Baptists or Methodists and Baptists. Today, we are instructing people on the difference between a Christian and a Muslim. It is now imperative that TN Baptists answer the question, “Whose mission field is TN?”
We must not become provincial, concentrating only on our immediate mission field. Neither should we miss present opportunities in our home mission field. TN is both a mission base and a mission field.
FACT: TN is a growing state. In 1970, the population was 3,926,000. In 2000, the population was 5,689,267 and the population was projected by the state to top 6,000,000 in 2006. Based on the 2000 census, this is an increase of 1,763,267 persons or a 31% growth. Almost half of the total TN population is not meaningfully related to any church. The number of spiritually lost is growing daily in TN.
FACT: In 1970, TN Baptists had 2,698 churches with a ratio of one church to 1455 persons. In 2006, we had 3,182 churches, with a ratio of one church to 1788 persons. To have the same ratio in 2006 that we had in 1970 we should have started 728 new churches. Extraordinary efforts are being made to plant new churches. We need an increase of 22% of new church starts.
FACT: In 1970 the resident membership of TN Baptist Churches was 643,801. In 2006, the resident membership was 830,392 (2593 churches reporting). This is a resident membership increase of 186,591 persons in a state that increased 1,763, 267 in population.
FACT: In 1970, the average weekly Sunday School attendance in TN Baptist Churches was 285,607. In 2006, with 2389 churches reporting, the average weekly attendance was 287,315. This is a net growth of 1708 persons in Sunday School. This is a growth of less than 1% in a state that grew 31%.
FACT: In 1970, the number of persons baptized in TN Baptist Churches was 28,089. In 2006, the number of persons baptized was 25,814. If the ration of resident church members to persons baptized were the same in 2006 as in 1970, TN Baptists would have witnessed more than 36,000 precious souls baptized into the Kingdom of God.
TN is indeed a mission field! Who will win TN? I Believe TN Baptists are committed to our mission field–our Samaria and our responsibility—and with God help and in cooperation with each other, we will bring TN to Christ.