Many of us use statistics in sermons, talks and papers. Sometimes we even use them in our blogs. Unfortunately we often mistakenly misuse the stats and give a wrong impression.
A wonderful article in the online version of Christianity Today explains the proper and improper uses of data and actually clears up some badly misinterpreted statistics from the past. For example, are Christian marriages breaking up as fast as marriages between atheists and other non believers? Are Christian youth leaving their churches at an alarming rate never to return? The article takes on these and other statistics that have frightened all of us.
The proper use of data can help us plan better and reach out more effectively. However, when we misuse data in an attempt to "motivate" Christians to do more evangelism or serve more it is wrong and harmful to out cause. I suggest that we try the methods of Jesus as revealed in Luke 10. He sent his disciples out two by two ahead of him into a lot of villages and towns. He told them to "Bless the people with peace."
It seems to me that encouraging peace is a better motivating factor than fear, anxiety and worry. And, Jesus encouraged His friends to go out with peace, confidence and love. As we can see from the last verses of Luke 10, His method really worked well.