Every once in awhile a quote will jump out for me that brings chills down my spine. This is one of them:

In recent years, the number of people professing Christ and being baptized in Southern Baptist churches in Baltimore and the surrounding Baltimore County is only slightly higher than the number of people murdered in the city.

Some other things that the recent Baptist Press article notes:

  • Baltimore is the third most violent city in the US, as a person is murdered at an average of every 29 hours.
  • Twenty-five SBC churches have started in the past 12 years, but only 16 are still active.
  • There are over 16,000 members of SBC churches in the Baltimore Baptist Association, but only 5,450 members are actually active in their local churches.

And this strange quote on the types of churches being planted:

Some of the more targeted church starts in the last few years include a Nepalese church, two Hispanic churches, a church that meets in a movie theater, a church whose weekly meetings are designed to be “coffeehouse style” (including karaoke) and a church to launch in September that describes itself as “bohemian” and “eclectic” in an effort to specifically reach the younger generation.

While I understand the need for Nepalese and Hispanic churches, for they are attempting to cross language and cultural barriers, is there any reason for a karaoke church (NOTE: I don’t think this is referring to the churches that use audio tracks or MIDI for their services, though that’s really close)?! Though I am a massive supporter of coffee on Sunday mornings, is that really the centerpiece of a local church?!

What Baltimore needs is what every city needs– the gospel. It needs it preached in the pulpits with passion and clarity. It needs it counseled through small groups and accountability. It needs to be sung by the congregation to one another and to the Lord. It needs to be taught to the next generation so that they will rise up after us and continue the gospel work. It needs to be exemplified in holy love and service to neighbors and strangers. It needs to be spread to the most dangerous neighborhoods in boldness and grace. O that God would give all of us minds and hearts that are consumed with the gospel! Baltimore needs it. America needs it. The nations need it.