By Steve Pearson
Tennessee Baptist Mission Board Evangelism Specialist
The state of lostness in Tennessee is increasing. Tennessee’s population is close to seven million people. It is estimated that the amount of that population which is lost is around four million. In other words, it is estimated that around 58 percent of Tennesseans are lost without Christ.
When talking about a church’s area of influence or harvest field, the average number of lost people in that area is about 1,000-3,000 people per church. If your church is in a rural setting that means, there are about 1,000 lost people on average in that area. That number increases to about 3,000 when you are talking about major metropolitan areas.
The yearly death rate in Tennessee is 919 per 100,000 residents. With nearly seven million people, that means every year there are about 64,000 people who die in Tennessee. If about 58 percent are lost that means that approximately 38,000 Tennesseans are dying each year without Christ. It also means that every day approximately 105 people in our state die without Christ.
It was just reported that the 2020 death rate increased in our nation. Heart disease, cancer and COVID-19 were the three top causes of death. With that information in the forefront of our minds, our outreach and evangelism cannot be done as normal or as we used to do it.
We used to have a “ya’ll come” mentality. In fact, I get asked, “How can we get more people to our church?” Do you realize what you just asked? The Great Commission is not “ya’ll come.” It is “Go, tell.” The rising death rate in our state heightens the reality that Tennessee is no longer a church field. It is as Randy Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board reminds us constantly — “Any way you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field.”
It is our hope that the Seven Steps to WinTN strategy (Prayer Matters, People Matter, Relationships Matter, The Gospel Matters, Love Matters, Disciple Matters, Next Generation Matters) will help churches reach Tennessee with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our objective is to see 50,000 Tennesseans annually, saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship. Please join us on this mission to WinTN for Christ! B&R — Pearson is evangelism specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention.