Statistics don’t tell you the whole story, but they do have a way of shocking readers and grabbing attention! So when I say that Portsmouth, OH is nationally ranked as the 67th most dangerous city in the United States of America (According to a 2005 issue of Forbes Magazine), it may come as a shock! Perhaps I am just naive to the ways of Southern Ohio’s former capitol city, but I was stunned! Regardless of how much or how little those stats tell of the true story it is nonetheless startling that Portsmouth should manage to almost squeeze into the top 50 most dangerous cities in the U.S. The question that comes to my mind, however, as we prepare to launch Revolution is this: What does such a stat mean for church planting?
It means several things in my mind. First, it means being careful! When I make the call for Christians to move into the city of Portsmouth and do ministry I am aware that for families it is a hard thing, and much must go into considering such a move. I am also aware that as Revolution seeks to share the gospel with people in the community that there will be those who are considered “dangerous” and so much caution should go into that evangelism.
Second, however, this statistic also means that I must trust God and treasure the cause of Christ. Paul’s life is a model of caring so deeply for the cause of Christ that neither beating, stoning, imprisonment, starvation, or even death could keep him from proclaiming Christ crucified. Jesus makes clear that anyone who loves his life too much will lose it, but any who loses his life for the gospel’s sake will save it! So Revolutionaries, you must ask yourself, “When the days are dark, the times are hard, the resistance is great, and the threat is insurmountable…will you press on for the cause of Christ or not?” I hope and pray that by God’s grace you will press on!