Did you know?
The following “FACTS” and “WHAT IT REALLY MEANS” about PURE people and their families can be very surprising and sobering (statistics from U.S. Census and other sources):
FACT: Of the 300+ million people in the United States today, over 50 million Americans have disabilities. That means that an estimated 10% – 20% of any given community’s population (1 out of 6) will include people who are PURE
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: There are many, many more PURE people than most realize. We don’t see them in our churches so we “assume” they don’t exist – but, THEY DO IN GREAT NUMBERS. If we take the lowest estimate (10%) to be conservative, and then slice that number in half to 5 % to be ultra conservative, we are confronted with a reality: statistically speaking, 5% of the people (1 out of 20) in our churches SHOULD be PURE people. In other words, a church with 500 members should have a minimum of at least 25 PURE people. It is a very rare church indeed, if one exists at all, that counts among its membership this ratio of PURE people.
FACT: When the “immediate” family is included, somewhere between 25%- 30% of our entire population is directly affected by disabilities.
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: PURE people and their families represent, by far,the largest unreached or “unchurched” people group in the U.S. today!Cutting across social, economic, racial, and literally all other demographics, PURE people are all around us – except at church!
FACT: Approximately 20% (1 out of 5) children are PURE (in some states this number has reached 2 out of 5 children). Remember, children under 5 are not included in this data.
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: An alarming figure in itself, but particularly alarming when we remember that children under the age of five are not normally counted in any disability statistic. This number would be dramatically larger if these children were included!
FACT: Mostly because of great advances in medicine (particularly with premature births); the PURE population is growing at three times the rate of the normal population.
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: Because more and more children are being saved when born prematurely, this number, though seemingly unbelievable, is true. In churches that are serious about reaching all people, we need to consider this when planning for the future.
FACT: When a child is born into a marriage or a child or spouse becomes disabled through accident or disease, 4 out of 5 (80%) of these marriages end in divorce – 90% when the disability is autism!
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: Statistics in the United States today say approximately 50% of ALL marriages end in divorce, which makes this statistic even more alarming. As we begin ministry to PURE people and their families, we will have the opportunity to directly minister to many parents (specifically, many single moms) with PURE children.
FACT: As of this printing, statistics show that since 2002, the number of children being diagnosed with autism has increased at an annual growth rate of 900%.
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: The reality is if autism were a more “socially conscious” disease, it would be a declared a raging epidemic. News flash: IT IS A RAGING EPIDEMIC!
FACT: While 70% — 75% of Americans “claim” to be Christians and statistics regarding disability and faith are poor, we can assume that a much smaller percentage of PURE people (some say less than 15%) can affirm being Christian.
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: While we know that confronting someone on the street and asking them whether or not they are a Christian is chancy with fairly unreliable results (most people say they are “Christian” if they define what it means!), at best, if we simply look at the number of PURE people in our churches on any given Sunday, the conclusion is inescapable – we are not reaching them with the Gospel. By default, we are not reaching PURE families (parents and siblings) either
FACT: Again, statistics are sparse, but by simply observing the church in America and considering the numbers of PURE people, we can safely conclude that the vast majority (perhaps as high as exceeding 90%) of PURE people and their families are not attending any church with any regularity.
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: With so many conflicting, confusing, and many blatantly wrong perspectives of Christianity today in our world, if PURE people and their families aren’t in our churches and hearing the word of God, how are they to learn of the real Jesus and His love and mercy?
FACT: Children with cognitive impairments are subject to abuse ten times more frequently than non-PURE children.
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: If we reside in a metropolitan city in the US today, it is a rare week that goes by that we do not hear of a sad incident involving child abuse with the victim being a PURE child.
FACT: People with disabilities are the group in our society with the highest incidence of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and suicide.
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: Yes, some PURE people do grow up and it is a sad fact that we find most PURE people on the lower scale of society when measured against other people as a whole. In many cases when PURE people move out of their parents’ home, we find them in nursing homes, homeless, and/or unemployed. A function of churches serious about PURE ministry is to address these needs as PURE people mature.
FACT: Nine out of ten women, who find out through amniocentesis or other new tests, that their unborn child has Down syndrome, choose to abort that baby.
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: Perhaps no statistic demonstrates more critically the need for PURE ministry and PURE “thinking” in our churches and culture than this one single fact. The fact that nine out of ten future mothers would choose aborting a child diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome and would consider this diagnosis worthy of death for the unborn baby, not only should sadden us, but it should alarm and motivate us. We have a huge problem when parents summarily dismiss the blessing of God through this child and the value and worthiness of being that child’s mother and father.
FACT: 40% of American pediatricians today view the withholding of nutrition and hydration from infants born with disabilities as acceptable practice. The more prominent the diagnosis of mental retardation, the more likely it is that the pediatrician will accept this practice.
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: Though this statistic is difficult to even comprehend, it points up the fact that our culture of “doing away with” whatever is inconvenient or uncomfortable for us has permeated the medical community as well. It requires little power of prediction to envision what will happen in the future as other people’s projected “quality of life” or “value to society” is deemed undesirable, unacceptable, or unworthy — what will happen to these people?
In the 14th chapter of Luke verses 12-14, Jesus not only commands His people to reach out to people outcast in society, but also establishes the priority of including these people out in our fellowships. He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
The PURE world (or the world of special needs) is much, much more than any of us have individually experienced. It is ultimately people, just like you and me, born with a disability or who have experienced some disability from an accident. The words “special needs” or “disability” might make you uncomfortable and this is understandable. We often think of these people in the context of our own perceptions and experiences. As we begin to think “outside the box” of what we believe is “normal,” we allow God to reshape our thinking, transforming our thoughts to His thoughts, and we see PURE people and their families for who they truly are – and, in the numbers that they exist!
The PURE world is much deeper, broader, and diverse than any of us can ever realize. And, PURE people and their families have many needs. As Christians, we cannot “fix” everything or make all problems go away. However, with Jesus as our example and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can love PURE people and their families with the love of Christ in their life journey, be their close friend, and be blessed ourselves beyond comprehension in the process.