“[Evangelize] an 85er // Gotta let ’em know the devil’s a conniver.”

That’s the Austin, TX skyline in my title-bar. It’s been my “home” since 1999. I was born in and raised on the southwest side of Houston, Texas, but moved here shortly after I graduated college.

Austin is a very unique city compared to the other major cities of Texas. Here are a few attributes of Austin, TX : 

  • It is the capital city of Texas
  • It’s the 4th largest city in Texas and the 16th largest in the United States
  • It has roughly 1.6 million people (counting Austin proper and the metro area)
  • Austin was ranked the 5th safest city because there are fewer than 3 people per 100,000 murdered annually
  • It is home of the University of Texas, the 2nd most populous university in the United States (~ 52,000 students)
  • It contains 3 man-made lakes
  • It is centered in the Texas Hill Country
  • Home to Dell Computers and Whole Foods Markets corporate headquarters
  • Home to regional offices for Freescale Semiconductors, Intel, Google, 3M, Apple, Inc. and Samsung
  • Its unofficial city slogan is “Keep Austin Weird”
  • Its official city slogan is “The Live Music Capital of the World”
  • Highly liberal and democratic despite being in the Bible Belt
  • Home to the South by Southwest Festival (SXSW)
  • Was the host city for the debut of Yo! MTV Raps
  • 85% of its residents are unchurched

Astounding right? 85% of the 1.6 million people in Austin and the metro area are unchurched and I would bet haven’t heard the gospel. In my research, I found approximately 975 churches in the greater Austin area of various denominations and non-denominational affiliations. The Austin Metro area has a land mass of 4,285 square miles. 975 churches in 4, 285 square miles is roughly 1 church per 4 square miles. Yet, 85% percent of Austin is unchurched. In fact, Austin is known as one of the most unchurched cities in America as many participate in New Age practices, Eastern Religions, paganism or are agnostic and antagonistic.

There is a great need for the church to begin its focus outward here. The church should be evangelistic by nature because it was birthed by faithful laborers proclaiming the gospel. The church should be missional as that reflects the heart and work of God.

One of our time’s most respected Bible teachers, John Stott, said this at Urbana 76,

“…why has God chosen us? Mysterious as God’s purpose of election remains to our finite minds, it is important to see how Scripture answers our questions. Election is with a view to witness. God chose and appointed his servant Israel to be “a light to the nations” (Is. 42:1, 6); not just to receive and guard his revelation, and certainly not to monopolize it, but to spread it through the world. So Peter continues, “But you are a chosen race…. God’s own people, in order that you may declare [or proclaim] God’s wonderful deeds.” And what are God’s “wonderful deeds” which we are to announce to the world? They are the deeds “of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” We were in the darkness of sin and guilt; he has called us into the light of his forgiveness. We were in the darkness of ignorance; He has shone upon us the light of his truth. We were in the shadow of death; He has brought us out into the light of life. No wonder Peter calls it “his marvellous light.” Are we going to keep it for ourselves?…..No, we must announce his wonderful deeds to the world; it is for this, and not for selfish enjoyment, that He has made us His people.”

“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (~Jesus; John 20:21)

Consider your city. Consider His mission. Consider your submission.

Please pray for me as I desire and make efforts to enjoin with others in my city to reach the 85ers.

Grace & Peace,



5 thoughts on “85ers

  1. Very interesting stats on your city. I was shocked to know about the 85 percent. Since you have been transplanted there, looks like your job is clear and already cut out for you.

  2. hmm.

    i’ve actually never seen anyone consider the stats of their area quite like that. but it makes perfect sense for those of us who God has redeemed and left on this globe for a reason.

    praise God for your focus and deliberate stance in reaching the unreached. thanks for the example.

    something else that comes to mind … what on earth are folks even preaching if it’s true that the majority there have never heard the gospel? are they so intent on being “relevant” and spending millions on using high technology to appeal to folks?

    whatever happened to church-planting and disciple-making … one block at a time?

  3. Thank you for this post, my brother In Christ. It is sobering to read but helpful, in that it tells of just where much of America is, spiritually, at this time! Austin, TX sounds much like Albuquerque, NM, where I currently live. There are many churches, but many more unchurched people, and a general culture that seems ignorant of the true Gospel. Along with out-and-out paganism and indifferent unbelief, an ingrained form of cultural Catholicism seems popular here. I pray for God to give me greater courage and wisdom to proclaim the true Biblical Gospel in ways that modern Americans (and postmodern Americans!) can understand!

  4. Eve, as you know, much preaching today is watered down mingled with humanism. It’s very self-centered along the lines of self-help philosophy. I think church-planting (for biblical reasons) and disciple-making are pretty foreign to the majority of America as I survey the church culture.

    Christopher, thanx for stopping by and commenting! Is Albuquerque really that dark? Are you part of a church that does evangelism to the local community, etc.? I’ll pray for you, bro, for the Lord to use you for His glory there.


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