Monday, December 21, 2009

Gospel Per Ear: How much would you be willing to pay?

How much should it cost a church to get the Gospel into the ears of it's community? The obvious answer is that it will cost something in resources (funds, time, energy, personnel, etc.).

You've heard the saying...if just one person comes to Christ, all that effort was worth it.

I disagree if it means it was done inefficiently.
Allow me to explain...

If I had a choice between spending $10 a person verse $5 a person to get the Gospel into their ear...I'd pick the $5 every time. Would you? So would any smart organization - that way they have more resources to do it time and time again.

For example, at Topeka Bible Church we had 2,075 vehicles come to our light show this year. That's a 13% increase over last year's traffic. How many people do you think were in each car on average. We use the figure of 3 people per vehicle...but let's be very conversative here and account for an average of 2 people per vehicle. If the budget this year was $6,000 for the light do the math, $6,000/(2,075 vehicles x 2 people per vehicle) = $1.45 Gospel per person.

Some would say we didn't spend enough compared to the rest of the church budget. Yet others would say, invest more in the ministries which have the largest impact (this is what wall street brokers do). Yet others are content to spend just enough to feel like something was done, but not too much to be a sacrifice.

Is $1.45 per person worth the Gospel? If not, what is? If you'd have been willing to pay more, what's your ceiling? Well, if it help to have a frame of reference, it's one of the lowest cost per person I've ever been a part of. Historically, at other churches, it's taken $80,000 to get the Gospel to roughly 8,000 people. That's $10 a head.

Here's another question, "How much did it cost God to reveal the Gospel to us?"

A BIGGER QUESTION is WHO were those people that we just invested $1.45 in. Do they attend TBC? Do they attend another church? Do they already know Jesus? Were any of them guests that a TBC person invited? We will survey this week to find out just WHO these people where and what connections, if any, they have to TBC or other churches in our community.

THE BIGGEST QUESTION... "If TBC doesn't get the Gospel into the ears of the community, what will that void be replaced with?"
Take your pick:
1. No one will 2. Another church who cares people enough to throw resources at it 3. Another organization who might not communicate the Gospel

QUESTION FOR MYSELF Is Bryan Nelson willing to get the Gospel into the ears of the community? If not, why not? Is it costing me anything to do it?


  1. Anonymous5:00 PM

    Whatever the clear goal or goals are - i.e. sharing the gospel to the lost or any other goal for that matter, it is important to have clear means of measuring the outcomes inorder to know if the chosen method of reaching the goal/s is the most effective (as well as cost effective) way to reach that goal. Perhaps the survey will shed greater light.

  2. Nice post Bryan. I love the attention you give such things! Here's an even bigger question than the bigger question you raised: "What is the Gospel?" After answering that question, then we can ask, "Was the Gospel communicated?" When we are confident it was, then program evaluation via numerical analysis is a fine exercise.

    Concerning the biggest question, I'm not convinced throwing resources at getting the Gospel into the ears of the community is the best way to get the Gospel into the ears of the community. That is, churches seem to grow when the people of the church make Gospel proclamation (call it missional living) part of everyday life. That sort of outreach doesn't have to be included as a line item in the church's budget. Agree?

  3. Anonymous8:42 AM

    Good questions to ask.

  4. I agree Casey...we implemented an internal campaign for the light show that emphasized using the light show as a personal tool. We hoped it would be a catalyst to encouraging TBC people to begin making a Gospel proclamation - spring boarding from the light show.