How DFW got the Buckle on the Bible Belt
Check out this post from Bob Roberts Jr.
People sometimes make fun of Dallas-Fort Worth being the buckle on the Bible belt. It isn’t anymore. It’s unbuckled. The stats are in and church attendance is around the 17% mark – in northeast Tarrant county where I live it’s probably more like 9%. We think because we see churches and some of them big that we are churched. We are not. A lot of the shelves (pews) are empty in those stores! The ones that are full are often filled with people looking for a different kind of church – not Jesus! If we were “churched” anywhere near what we were just 35 years ago at a minimum we would have to double the number of churches out here.
For some pastors that would freak them out – more competition! We need to shift our mindset from one that says “I pastor a church to reach this community . . . ” to one. that says “I pastor a church to create communities of faith in this community all over.” One thinks like a preacher/pastor the other a missionary/mobilizer.
We were the most wicked place on the face of the earth just a little over a hundred years ago. Downtown Fort Worth was called Hell’s half acre. Gun fights, brothels, gambling, you name it – it was there and out of control. Most people didn’t venture there. It was the last jumping off point till you started out west to nowhere. Godly? Not hardly.
Then, a group of Christians and pastors had enough. They became convicted and started starting churches right in the heart of Hell’s half-acre – a revival began to come – Southwestern seminary came on the scene – and the rest is history. We became the Bible belt not because of our holiness, but because of our sinfulness and a sense of desperation a few people had a century ago.
It’s time for us to once again have a burden for our city. There’s not a greater place to live than DFW. There’s not a more strategic city to live than DFW in the US, and for some reason the world.
When the passion for Jesus is gone and you have the relics of religion left over – buildings/structures/organizations – then it looses its power and becomes counter productive.
Father I pray for my city. I love my city. You love my city more. Guide my city. Pour your Spirit out over my city. Help us to love your city and serve your city like you want. I lift up all the mayors, the pastors, the businessmen, the teachers, the medical personell, the artists, government leaders, the institutions, but more than all of those domains – I lift up the people to you. May they see Jesus in our lives as we serve them in the name of Jesus and share the Good news not as a sermon, but as a transforming story that is alive, ongoing, and inclusive.