Across America there are pockets where the churches are a plenty and the Gospel is clearly preached and understood. However, there are also pockets where the churches are few and the people are starved for truth. Knox county Maine (where I pastor) is one of those pockets where the churches are few and the people are starved for the truth. Knox county has just under 40,000 residents. Of that 40,000 only 11,122 adhere to any ‘religion’. 72% of the population has no religious affiliation at all. 4.6% are considered as ‘evangelical’. That’s less than 2,000 people out of the entire county that is considered as evangelical.
The term ‘evangelical’ is a very broad term. Not all ‘evangelicals’ are true born-again believers. As far as I know, in all of Knox county there are fewer than 15 churches that are considered as Bible believing and Gospel preaching churches. In speaking with other pastors in the area, it seems that the average attendance in those churches is less than 60 people. In addition to that, very few of those churches have any children and youth who attend. I am thankful that Spruce Head Community Church (where I pastor) does have some youth and is a little above the average in attendance and in its scope of ministry. However, when only 4.6% of the population are considered as ‘evangelical’, my heart breaks.
We live in an area that is in desperate need of hope and truth. As I go about the area we live in, I find that very few people have any understanding of who Jesus is and their need for a Savior. Our church leads a Good News Club in one of the local public schools. At the first club, we pulled out a Bible and some of the children did not even know what a Bible was. As I look into the eyes of people, I see emptiness. I see people with no hope. I see people with no purpose. I see people who are lost and all their way to a Christ-less eternity.
When I think of the task of reaching this area with the Gospel, I am overwhelmed. The task is too great. How do we reach these people? How do we help them to understand their need for Jesus? How do we show them the truth? In thinking of these questions I am reminded that we can’t. We cannot save anyone. We cannot reach the 40,000 of this county. But, we serve a God who can do anything. For too long churches in our area have tried relentlessly in their own efforts. For too long, we have followed our own plans and agendas. But, when is the last time we got on our knees and cried out to God on behalf of Knox County. All of our efforts are useless, apart from the power of God. Yes, the task is too great for us. But God can do anything. Therefore, we must surrender all to Him. Let God be God. Stop limiting his power by our doubts and fears. Trust in the One who can do the miraculous. Church, it’s time to go to war on behalf of Knox County. It is time to cast out the dark forces that have overshadowed this area far too long. It is time to call upon the one who can do it all. May we go to war on our knees. May we pour our hearts out before God on behalf of the 40,000 in this county. The task is too great, but with God, all things are possible!