The Mission Next Door

At Mountain Creek, you’ve heard us say “6 in 10”. That is, 6 in 10 of our nearest neighbors are not involved in a faith community. That was the result of a survey of homes located within a three-mile radius of Mountain Creek Baptist Church.

The number is actually 62.4% and rising, according to the group MissionInsite. That’s 22,959 people within a three-mile radius of Mountain Creek who are not involved in a faith community, a number that has risen over 10% in the last decade.

6 in 10. That’s 6 out of every 10 people you walk past in the grocery store aisles, 6 out of every 10 people you see in your favorite restaurant, 6 out of every 10 you pass on a stroll in your neighborhood.

This past Sunday at Mountain Creek we considered from John 20:21 the truth that we’ve been sent by Jesus on mission in the same way that Jesus was sent by the Father. We need to see that commissioning by Jesus in terms of the nations (Matthew 28:18–20) but also in terms of our neighborhoods.

In our neighborhoods, right here in Greenville, “6 in 10” isn’t even the whole story. That number reflects those involved in a religious or faith community, not necessarily in a Christian community. What that means is that in terms of those who are actively following Jesus together with a Bible-believing church, the number is even lower than 4 in 10 (or, less than 37.6%, to be precise). So we can’t let the sheer number of churches in our area deceive us; there’s much work to be done right here around us. And almost certainly, the way the needle is going to be moved is by each of us taking responsibility for our neighborhood, our street, our coworkers in terms of building relationships and bringing the gospel.

The same study that gives us the number 6 in 10 also tells us this: 32% of those who are uninvolved in a faith community simply have never been invited.

Ultimately, our neighbors need more than being invited to church. What we pray and hope for them is that they would know and love Jesus. They need the gospel, and we need to bring it to them. But an invitation to church is an easy first step for many of us.

Who this week can you invite to join us at Mountain Creek?

If you want to take the next step and begin having intentional gospel conversations with your neighbors, keep a lookout on this blog: in the weeks ahead, we’ll have more content here about sharing Christ with those around us. In the meantime, let me encourage you to stop by our church library and checkout the book Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out by Scott Hildreth and Steven McKinion.

The mission is the nations, and the mission is right here around us. As a church, we’re praying that we can send one family to the nations, to an unreached people group, in the next four years. We want to send at least one family to the nations, but all of us are sent to our neighbors. So let’s live on mission, and let’s seek the day when we can no longer say “6 in 10.”

Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.

Photo of Mountain Creek Baptist Church by Jake Hardin, Hardin Media Productions