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Some Vital Stats

by on June 13, 2010

5500     people in Canterbury (130 000 in Canterbury City area)

<100     people in Canterbury attending an evangelical church (probably <50)

0    churches engaged in mission in Canterbury (that we know of)

50    years the first wave of immigrants have been waiting to hear the gospel

15-20    people the minimum team-size for a financially stable mission team

8    months spent ‘recruiting’ for mission team so far

5000    Christians who have read or heard our invitation to get involved in

the mission (estimated)

3000    visits to our website

400    Christians who have been to one of our mission presentations

80    Christians personally invited to join the mission team (approx.)

17    ministers visited and invited to partner with us by sending one missioner

0   churches who have so far partnered with us by sending one missioner

(though our friend Mat Yeo at Hurstville Grove has been trying hard for us)

150    people who have told us this mission is extremely important (approx.)

6    people who have committed to joining us  and helping in this mission

(not including Elise and me and  family)

7   more people we need to join us before we have a viable team (minimum)


When I put all these stats together, I somehow find them a bit overwhelming.

Any thoughts?

From → General

  1. Chris permalink

    Hey Jonathan,
    Definitely some telling stats although I must say I have to disagree with the 0 churches engaged in mission.

    I can think of at least one church that may not be engaged in any spectacular way but is definitely engaged…by engaged I mean:
    – praying for the gospel to make an impact in the community
    – intentionally going out to the community to build friendships and ask locals if there is any way the church can be of service to them
    – running a YG which is attended by at least 1 non-church member kid + other kids from community who have come along at diff times
    – 1-2 holiday kids clubs a year that attracts a good no. of non-church kids from community
    – 2 International dinners with gospel presentation (one which attracted 40+ visitors of diff ethnicity)
    – 1 carols in the church yard which attracted a number of locals who heard the gospel and were shown love by cong members.
    – Service that is slowly growing in size through recent converts or ‘seekers’ (can think of at least 4 in the last couple of years)
    – some congregation members seeking opps to share gospel with their family and friends
    – 1 missional minded minister.

    As for other churches in the area..just out of curiosity have you tried to find out what the Canterbury Baptists are up to? I have no idea what they do but they have a very nice website 🙂 and their purpose statement is to “Love God and Love People”…sounds promising.

    Other gospel activity in the area – scripture teaching in local primary and highschools with some progress being made it seems

    Perhaps most is lost but not all is lost as your statistics give the vibe….perhaps there is some seed out there that God is watering…

    That’s not to say I don’t agree wholeheartedly that a lot of hard work is required and I jolly well hope and pray that some more people join your team soon…I’m keepin an ear out at college for ya

    Keep up the hard work for His sake

  2. Chris permalink

    P.S. No defensiveness intended in the above post.

    • Chris, thanks for your helpful corrective to my post. Trouble with summaries like mine, they always oversimplify and miss detail.

      The stat you’ve picked me up on was certainly the hardest one to write down. I thought quite a bit about leaving it out. Obviously in the end thought it needed including, painful and confronting though it is. I am sorry if it caused unnecessary pain or offence.

      I certainly agree with the details you list – they have happened/are happening at St Pauls. I’ve mentioned some of them in a previous post. These are good things, don’t hear me dissing them. I haven’t got any stomach for criticising our church – not my intention at all! Great, encouraging, warm, godly, prayerful people. I love them dearly, thank God for them. Great rector, mission-minded all the way.

      I just think we’re talking about different things here, and coming from different directions. If I can oversimplify (again) I’m generally thinking big picture, and conscious of the needs of the area. You’re giving the view from the ground, conscious of the intentions and efforts of the church. When I look at Canterbury, and think about the sort of mission that’s needed, I have to admit that I haven’t heard of any church doing anything remotely like it in Canterbury.

      What I’m talking about is a church which is committed to doing something to bridge the deep, deep divide that exists between the community and the protestant churches. I’m convinced that’s where mission is at for Canterbury. I think it needs a serious, persistent, whole-church commitment to going out and reaching out in love and servanthood. That’s the sort of mission we’re always banging on about here, and my stats should be taken in that context. We’ve got a huge amount of suspicion to overcome, and a truckload of trust to win, in this area. Attractional approaches just won’t cut it in Canterbury – not on their own. They haven’t worked in fifty years. I don’t think we can realistically expect to attract people in any numbers, until the hard yards have been done out in the community, for at least a few years first.

      It’s true that at St Pauls the rector and other paid staff and two or three others have been regularly visiting our neighbours in the surrounding streets. It’s true other church members have come along on occasion. I’m stoked that they’re (we’re) doing that. I think it’s valuable. It’s just not what I had in mind in the stats list.

      If I’d explained all this in my list, it would definitely have been more accurate – just a lot less like a list!

      Thanks for raising this, though. I am encouraged by your heart for the church at Canterbury, and your great work in kids’ ministry/mission, and other outreach. When I do a post about the unsung heroes of gospel ministry in the area, you’ll be on the list!

      Hope this clarifies a bit.

      • btw, I have tried to find out what’s happening in Canterbury re churches. To the best of my knowledge there is no baptist church. The website you mention is possibly from a different Canterbury in a different part of the country/world?

        Sadly, there seems to be very, very little going on in our Canterbury. That’s why we think it’s a great place to do mission.

  3. Chris permalink

    Ah yes, that Baptist church must be from another part of the world.

    And don’t worry I haven’t taken any offence at all at your statistics…..I guess that’s the difficulty of statistics…they can never tell the whole story. However their advantage is that they make a good impact and can make people sit up and take notice!

    I think I understand the distinction you are making in regards to mission approaches and I look forward to seeing it in action!

    P.S. I’m no unsung hero…I struggle to be a missioner at the best of times! Most of the stuff I mentioned above was not stuff I have initiated or driven forward, I just have a bit of a finger in a few pies.


  4. Terrifying!

    Go Holy Spirit Go!

    Sorry I didn’t make it to the prayer meeting that I said I would come to 😦

  5. *ahem* I just read the previous posts and realised I haven’t missed out! Whoops 🙂

    • No, you haven’t, Alison – we’re meeting this Sunday. Going Portuguese. Should be a good afternoon. We’d love to meet any Canterbury Christians you can rustle up!

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