One fine Spring morning, Jake decided he wanted to start a lawn mowing business. He bought a shiny red mower, wound some more cord on his weed eater, sharpened all of his landscaping tools, and even designed a ball cap with a mower logo on it.
Then he heard about a seminar on best practices for mowers. Next he attended a lecture on the proper height to set a mower blade for best performance. And, he listen to a DVD by an expert who claimed to know whether it was better to mow in a north-to-south or in an east-to-west direction, depending upon the amount of sunlight.
Jake was about ready to start when he had a thought: “If I am going to really be successful at mowing, then perhaps I should know where the grass grows the highest.”
So, Jake measured the height of the grass blades in his yard, and he calculated its rate of growth to the millimeter. He then measured his neighbor’s grass blades—and the rest of the neighborhood. “Now, if I want my business to expand, perhaps I should also measure the grass in my county—and the neighboring counties,” he thought.
It took several weeks, but Jake finally found the perfect location for his mowing business, according to the height of the grass. But then Jake had another thought, “Perhaps I should know the number of mowers, too, If there are many mowers, and they all work, then the grass could be mowed quickly, and there will be no work for me to do.” So, Jake surveyed his neighborhood, his county and neighboring counties. He even counted the broken-down mowers, which could easily be fixed.
More weeks past, and by the time Jake had determined the perfect site for his mowing business, the leaves had begun to fall. Besides, it was football season, and there’d be great games to watch. “Everyone has already lined up their mowers,” he thought. “Maybe next year I’ll start.”
Unlike Jake, we don’t have to determine the best location to start a church. Jason Lowe, director of missions for Pike Association, already has done this invaluable service for Kentucky Baptists. Lowe analyzed data gleaned from a recent Glenmary study, and on blog—www.jasonalowe.com—which already has had more than 4,000 views, you can read his synopsis.
Lowe hopes this analysis will help pastors and churches in at least two key ways. “I hope it helps raise awareness that while there are still vast amounts of lostness all across Kentucky, some areas of the state are in more desperate need of intentional evangelistic and church planting efforts than others,” he told the Western Recorder. “Second, I hope that church leaders will use this information as a resource as they prayerfully consider specifically where God might lead their church to partner in church planting efforts within the commonwealth.”
While the study did not specifically identify towns or cities, the data shows that the East region is in most desperate need of church plants, followed by the North Central region and the Central region. More specifically, Lowe notes, the data suggests that KBC church plants are most needed in (1) Campbell County (Newport/Alexandria), (2) Jessamine County (Nicholasville/Wilmore), (3) Bullitt County (Shepherdsville/Mt. Washington), (4) Rowan County (Morehead), and (5) Pike County (Pikeville).
Lowe was particularly surprised to discover that all of the 25 counties with the worst KBC church to population ratio were located in the Central, North Central, or East regions. As a DOM, he is encouraging Kentucky Baptists to prayerfully consider partnering with these areas, which have the greatest need for intentional evangelistic and church planting efforts.
So, whatever happened to Jake and his lawn mowing business? Well, even with the finest data available, one can still fail. His mower blade and tools rusted over the winter and would need to be sharpened again. There were more seminars he planned to attend. By the time he was ready, his data would be old. It would surely need to be redone, if the best location for a successful mowing business was ever to be found.
In the end, perhaps the advice Jake should have followed in finding where best to begin was stated by Henry Blackaby some years ago in “Experiencing God.” Look for where God is at work, and join in!