According to the 2015 edition of Churches Of Christ in the United States, which is put out every three years by 21st Century Christian in Nashville, there are 12,300 congregations of the Lord’s people in the United States. It also should be noted that this figure is down 147 congregations from the last data provided in 2012. And this number represents 1.5 million adherents with 1.2 million of these being actual members of the church. Although numbers do not always tell the whole story, they do help by aiding us in tracking the movement and progress of the kingdom at least in a geographic sense (Acts 6:7).
Additionally, as to ranking, the state of Alabama is still third among the fifty States with 854 congregations, 66 of them located here in Jefferson County. For comparative purposes, there were 867 congregations in Alabama in 2012. The top ten list is as follows:
So the top ten States have 8,063 of the 12,300 congregations of the church in this country. That is a big whopping 65% of the total congregations. Although I have long been aware of this, these totals may come as a surprise to some. In stark contrast to this, the bottom ten States and their slim totals look like this:
Rhode Island 7
North Dakota 7
New Hampshire 13
South Dakota 24
The total number of congregations in the bottom ten states is 149 which is shockingly low. One is immediately struck by the massive difference in totals between the top and bottom ten. There are fifty-four times more congregations composing the top ten versus the bottom ten. Surely this calls for evangelistic reflection on our part.
Naturally, the extremely high concentration of the Lord’s people in our state, and all over the South for that matter, should emphasize to each of us the tremendous responsibility we have to preach and teach the gospel in sections of the country where the church of Christ is struggling or unknown. In the First Century when Christians were “scattered abroad,” they “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Their scattering was because of persecution (vs.1), ours is not. So what reason or excuse will we offer for not preaching the word?
It boils down to this, there is and always will be plenty of work for the church of Jesus Christ to do (Matthew 9:37-38). And this evangelistic imperative is certainly not limited to our city, county, state, or even this wonderfully free country in which we live (Mark 16: 15-16).