I’m a Christian, and sometimes a teacher/preacher.
This lesson looks outside the church, to America and the world as a whole, then brings it back home.
People Around Us
Depending on which statistics you look at, and how they were counted, the population of the US is between 250M and 500M. Let’s go with 250M for now.
Here’s how my state and city compare to the country at large.
|Louisville (city limits)||250,000||(6½% KY, 0.1% US)|
|Louisville (metro area)||1,250,000||(30% KY, ½% US)|
My city’s metropolitan area amounts to half a percent of the entire country. Not too bad, for a “big small town.”
Louisville! Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46)
Half the US Population
Half of the people in America live in the 39 most populous city areas.
The other half are spread out over the entire rest of the country.
People We Know
This varies a lot by personality, job, age, region, and such, but here are some broad averages of the people we know.
And most Americans these days move around a bit, too, which helps to expand the pool of people we meet.
I know more people than that (and have worked more jobs than that). Part of that scope comes from me working at a lot of places, but most comes from my wide variety of interests and activities. I’m fairly involved in the circles of technology, business, arts/theater, and church, and belong to many groups inside each of those areas.
Church Sizes in America
Churches around the county vary in size, with most of them serving fewer than 100 people on a weekly basis.
|Size||Churches||Total Weekly Attendance|
300,000 churches account for 56 million people each week. That’s a lot of church attendance.
* These figures account for Christian Protestant (non-Catholic) churches
These numbers are still fairly large, and not easy to grasp.
Let’s boil it down, and pretend that the entire US is only 100 people. If you’re in a room with 100 people, you can imagine each person filling one of these categories.
Numbers taken from Pew Research.
The Christians are comprised of these people:
As you can see, there are a lot of Christian in America.
From what we often hear on the news, it might not always sound like it.
I was a bit surprised to find out that out of 100 people, only two would be Jewish, and only one Muslim.
World Around Us
Let’s look at that first set of numbers again, but add in the rest of the world.
|Louisville (city limits)||250,000|
|Louisville (metro area)||1,250,000|
The rest of the world is 30 times larger than the US; the US is just 3% of the world population.
This time, let’s pretend that the whole world is 100 people, not just the US.
So, where is everybody?
Numbers taken from 100 People.
|American (North and South)||14|
What do they speak?
(The languages don’t add up to 100, since many people speak more than one language.)
The Bible has been translated into 2,500 languages. That’s quite a lot, but there are 7,000 languages spoken in the world today.
Other ways of looking at us :
Out of 100 people in the world, 9 have no water, 1 has no food, and 22 have no shelter from the elements.
We’ve already looked at the religious counts in the US. Here’s how it looks worldwide:
The international landscape is a lot different than what we’re used to here in the US.
People Around Us
That’s all a fine intellectual exercise, but let’s bring it home and make it personal.
Taking the national averages of 69 out of 100 Americans being Christian, and applying it locally, we get:
|Louisville (city limits)||250,000||170,000||80,000|
|Louisville (metro area)||1,250,000||850,000||400,000|
There are roughly one and a half million non-Christians in Kentucky. Close to half a million in the metro area.
People who need the Lord aren’t just “out there” — they’re here in our own neighborhoods.
People We Know
To bring it one more step closer to home, if we do the same thing to the number of people that we know:
It’s those final two numbers that particularly draw my attention.
On average, each of us has 50 friends and 3 close friends that don’t know the Lord.
We can’t individually bring the gospel to the world, but even if we could, the world wouldn’t listen to us. But we each have dozens of people that will listen to us, that might not listen to anyone else.
In my case, the stakes are even higher. I know more people than average, and I intentionally have a higher percentage of non-Christians, by putting myself into new situations and stretching my comfort zone as far as I can.
- How many people do you know fairly well?
- How many are non-Christians?
- How much time do you spend with them?
- How can you reach your 50+3?
- If you don’t have any 50+3, should you? how?
You can download the PowerPoint slides here.