The Austin Bridge Builders Alliance (ABBA) recently commissioned a study on the spiritual state of our city. The results show how vast ourmission field is. About one-third of the population never attend church and don’t profess Jesus as Savior–more than half a million people in all. Another 600,000 rarely attend church or attend church but don’t have faith in Christ. One of the most surprising findings of the study is the spiritual openness ofthese people. About 60% would be willing to discuss issues of faith ifa friend brought it up. One in three would definitely or probably accept an invitation to attend church with a friend.
Reaching all of those who are far from Christ or outside of a Christ-centered local church is a bigger job than any one church in Austin can accomplish alone.I was blessed to join about 125 church leaders who came together yesterday to talk about ways we can partner to extend the Kingdom of God in our city. The idea is to unite churches under the banner of being “In the City. For the City.” Churches will work together to raise the spiritual awareness of the lost and unchurched through campaigns that highlight spiritual questions like “What happens after we die?” and “If there’s a God, why do bad things happen?” We’ll train those in our churches to engage with friends, neighbors, and co-workers around these questions.
Churches also will unite around community service projects, particular those that serve the educational needs of children in the areas of kindergarten readiness and early reading. The work we are planning to do through Lumen fits perfectly with this effort.
This banding together of churches across denominational lines to make a difference in Austin is a movement of the Holy Spirit. Please be in prayer for renewal in our city, for churches to be truly united as Jesus prayed in John 17, and for many to come to know Christ. As you pray, let the Holy Spirit guide you in how God is calling you to be a part of what He is doing in Austin through these efforts.
United in mission with you in the city, for the city,