Key Insights From New Converts
BY: THOM S. RAINER
Mark M. is one of my favorite formerly unchurched persons. (Remember that a formerly unchurched person is someone who has accepted Christ in the past year and someone who has become active in a local church.) This lifelong Floridian rarely attended church during the first thirty-six years of his life. Through persistent and loving invitations to church by his fellow employee Chad, Mark finally agreed to go to church with him. He liked what he saw.
“I’m not sure what I expected,” Mark said enthusiastically. “But it was so much better than I thought possible. I went with Chad the next two Sundays, and then I started going on my own.” Mark would become a Christian in a little over a year.
While it is nothing less than miraculous anytime someone accepts Christ, Mark’s story is especially compelling. Mark was a lifelong unchurched person. And he was a second-generation unchurched
person as well. “My parents never went to church,” Mark said. “I never really thought about attending; it just wasn’t on my agenda. We asked Mark why he finally attended a church. “Because Chad invited me,” he responded bluntly. “Any other reasons?” we asked. ‘ “Nope, just because I was invited.”
“Had anyone ever invited you to church before?” “Nope, no one.”
“In all the thirty-six years of your life?” “No one in all my life.”
Here was a second-generation unchurched person who decided to go to church based on one person’s invitation. And rarely have I seen any Christian with this level of zeal.
Mark participated in our previous research project on the formerly unchurched.
Because he had been such a great subject for that project, I decided to call him to get his input for this project. I explained that I wanted to visit the world of the unchurched and determine different response levels to the gospel.
He thought it was a great idea and gave me many suggestions on how to ask the questions.
A few months later, after our team was well into the current project, I called Mark again. I wanted him to hear my concept of what the team was now calling the Rainer scale. Mark responded with an outburst, “That’s a great concept; it really explains what’s going on in the world of the unchurched!”
Mark then explained to me that he had traveled across the entire
Rainer scale. “When I was in college, some holy roller Christians started harassing me, and I let them have it. I realized then that I did not like Christians at all. I was what you call a U5.”
But circumstances and time helped move Mark to a more receptive posture. “By the time Chad invited me to church, I guess I was a U3. I moved up to U2 then U1 after I started coming to church.”
I could riot have accomplished this project without the input of formerly unchurched persons such as Mark. They let me pester them and call them at all stages of this project I asked them to brainstorm with me. I went back to them to get help in shaping the interview questions. I called them again when I wanted the perspective of a new Christian.
And I asked them to look at my tentative conclusions and otter their input. The formerly unchurched were key in helping me understand the world they had recently left, the world of the unchurched.
Though the formerly unchurched have been instrumental in shaping much of what you have read thus far in this book, I wanted to devote a full chapter to them to let you hear their thoughts. We have heard from Mark and many other new Christians who were enthusiastic to help us understand better the world they just left.
Resistance Is Not a Permanent No
Alicia G. of Oklahoma became a Christian at age forty-seven. She attended a Baptist church as a child but cannot remember attending since she was about ten years old. Alicia became a Christian when she was in a difficult and messy divorce. “Reba was the one who really showed she cared,” Alicia told us. “I have a teenage daughter, and her dad’s leaving was traumatic for both of us.”
Prior to Alicia’s divorce, Reba had invited her to church. “I wasn’t very nice to her. She was always nice to me, so I felt kind of bad. But the next day she acted as if nothing had happened.” Reba didn’t mention church again until she heard that Alicia’s husband Paul was leaving her.
“The reason I was such a jerk to Reba is that religion just scared me,” said Alicia. “I’m not sure why. But it was like a trigger that was pulled anytime anyone, Reba included, mentioned God, church, or anything religious. I sure am glad she didn’t give up on me.”
Among the important lessons the formerly unchurched taught us about the unchurched is that a negative response should not be taken personally. Without exception, these new Christians told us that any negative responses they made when they were lost really had nothing to do with the Christian who was witnessing.
Jervis S. of California is a formerly unchurched who tells a similar story.
Tervis looked at the Rainer .calf and determined, “I was a U3 most of my life.” He said he never really had any antagonistic feelings against Christians before he was saved. “I guess I didn’t have many feelings at all.”
Jervis married Lydia shortly before Jervis’s thirtieth birthday. At the time of their marriage, neither of the two were Christians, but Lydia started attending church with her best friend, Gina. Lydia would accept Christ before the couple’s first anniversary.
“I guess I was pretty nonchalant about Lydia. I mean, if religion was her thing, that was fine with me. I guess I was a U3 with my wife,” Jervis laughed.
“Everything was fine as long as we could have our normal lives,” Jervis said. “But I started noticing changes in my wife. I soon realized that things were not going to be the same.
“Wives who have husbands who are lost could learn lessons from my wife,” Jervis said proudly. “She never nagged me. She didn’t put me down. Just the opposite. She even became a better wife!”
Jervis watched carefully the new attitude of his wife. He saw her joy. And finally he decided on his own to go to church with her. In less than a year, Jervis became a Christian.
“I would later find out that my wife and a few other women were praying for me every day,” the formerly unchurched Jervis told us. “Lydia also told me later that some older women in the church were
To the surprise of some, doctrine was the number one issue of importance to unchurched people seeking a church. Over 91 percent of the formerly unchurched said that doctrine was important, the highest ranking of all issues.
The formerly unchurched, however, were not just interested in the facts of doctrine; they were insistent that the churches should be uncompromising in their stand.
These facts fly in the face of an increasingly pluralistic and theologically tolerant culture. It seems as if, when one takes the step from being firmly unchurched, a U5, to at least being an inquirer, a U2 or U1, attitudes change.
Seekers desire to discover truth and conviction among Christians about the reality of God, Jesus, and the entire supernatural realm. Jorge C. spoke rather bluntly about the issue: “I visited a few churches before I became a Christian. Man, some of them made me want to vomit. They didn’t show any more conviction about their beliefs than I did. And I was lost and going to hell!”
The formerly unchurched were clear. They not only were interested in learning about doctrine, they were attracted to churches that were uncompromising in their beliefs.
Mandy L., a formerly unchurched woman from Montana, spoke softly but firmly. “When we were lost, we were looking for something that would not be like the world we were in. We were looking, even if we didn’t realize it at the time, for the supernatural, for beliefs that transcend the unbelieving world around
us. It was really sad to go to churches that thought they were being relevant when they were really just being worldly. I got out of those churches as quickly as I could.”
The Formerly Unchurched Speak about the Bible
Almost two years had passed since I spoke to Randy M. of Florida. I went back to Randy, a subject of the formerly unchurched research project, because of his candor and articulate responses. I shared with him the preliminary results of the unchurched next door project and told him that many formerly unchurched people had helped us shape and interpret this project. And 1 explained to him the concept of faith stages, or Rainer scale. He wholeheartedly agreed with our thoughts.
“Randy,” I asked, “what would you tell Christians who wanted to reach out to their unchurched friends and neighbors?”
“That’s a no-brainer,” Randy quickly responded. “I am already doing it.
Invite them to a Bible study. I remembered how much I wanted to learn about the Bible before I became a Christian. So after I accepted Christ, about six months after I became a Christian, I started a Bible study in my home.”
I was curious about how Randy invited people to this Bible study, so I asked him.
“I went to the easy ones first, mainly friends I have known for a bunch of years. I asked two coworkers that I felt comfortable with. But for my second Bible study, I went door to door on my street and gave them a flyer. I had six people in the first study and eight in the second when my neighbors showed up.
It’s been great!”
Randy then told me that of the fourteen in the first two Bible studies, four have already accepted Christ and become faithful attendees and members of the same church Randy attends. He has no doubt about the evangelistic potential of Bible studies. “I remember how I was,” he said, recalling his pre-Christian
life. “I really wanted to understand the Bible and probably would’ve gone to a Bible study if I had been invited to one.”
I was curious if Randy thought the unchurched would attend a Bible study at a church as readily as attending one in someone’s home. He paused for a moment before giving a thoughtful response. “Go back to the Rainer scale,” he said. “I have invited people to my home Bible study and to my Sunday school class. Your scale makes perfect sense to the people I’ve invited. The Uls and the U2s will go to Bible studies in either place. The U3s and U4s will more than likely come to a home but not a church. Of course, the U5s won’t go to any Bible study.”
Such is the reason we asked the formerly unchurched to work with us throughout the project on the unchurched next door. They were able to tell us if our theories met the tests of reality. My one conversation with Randy alone was a major lesson in understanding the attraction of the unchurched to Bible studies.
Before our telephone conversation ended, Randy shared an insightful thought with me. “Thom, you say the name of your new book will be The Unchurched Next Door. That’s a perfect title. I know you’re talking in general terms about all the unchurched people around us. But I learned that my neighbors on the street where I live are perfect examples of typical unchurched people. And even though most of them did not know me well, they felt comfortable with me since we lived on the same street.
Maybe `the unchurched next door’ makes a lot more sense than even you thought.”
Invite the unchurched next door to a Bible study and see what God will do.
“We’d Like to Get to Know You”
Very few writings on the unchurched have ignored the importance of relationships in reaching lost friends, neighbors, coworkers, relatives, and acquaintances. Indeed, in my previous book, the research team noted the critical importance of Christians connecting with non-Christians.
The formerly unchurched encouraged us to ask the unchurched specific questions regarding relationships. So, on their advice, we asked the unchurched who influenced their lives. We also asked them whether any Christians had been an influence in their lives. Then we asked specific questions about negative and positive influences. This input by the formerly unchurched enhanced the research project significantly.
These new Christians were particularly enthusiastic about the Rainer scale. “You know what I see on this scale more than anything?” Lenora T. of West Virginia asked. “I see where relationships make all the difference. I was what you call a U5 for the first forty years of my life. You know what moved me to be a U4 or a U3? Brenda. She was my coworker and she later became my best friend.
“I knew she was a Christian, but she didn’t shove her beliefs down my throat. Instead, she was always there when I needed her. I remember one time when I asked why she always looked after me. She just said quietly, `Because I’m a Christian.’ For four years she just put me first. I was the one who finally asked her if I could go to church with her.”
Lenora continued. “Once I started going to church, things moved pretty quickly. And when I accepted Christ, I told Brenda. You should’ve seen her. She smiled and hugged me, and then the tears came for both of us. She said she had prayed for me every day since we met. Can you believe that? Every day.”
The pause on the other end of the telephone was lengthy by telephone standards. I thought I heard a soft sobbing sound. Then Lenora told me the news. “Brenda died of cancer last month. I met at the funeral I bet a dozen women that she had befriended, and every one of them said that Brenda was the reason they accepted Christ. Yeah, I really believe relationships are important.”
Some of the formerly unchurched who helped us with this project expressed bewilderment that Christians do not more readily befriend the unchurched. Sam J. of Texas, after accepting Christ, went to his coworkers, whom he knew were Christians.
“I guess I wasn’t too Christian acting for a new Christian,” Sam told us. “But I went to the four of these dudes that I knew were Christians. They went to church and everything. But they didn’t have much to do with me. So I confronted all of them at one time. I kind of got mad when I asked them why they never
tried to get to know me better, when they knew I was lost. Not one of them said a word. So I walked away mad and got a parting word, `Why didn’t all of you just tell me to go to hell? That’s what your actions said to me.”‘
“Developing a relationship with a lost person is a high-commitment action,” Leaner told us. “But how can we do nothing when weknow that person is lost without Jesus? I hope I never get that disobedient.”
One Particular Relationship:
In our previous research project on the formerly unchurched, we heard not only about the importance of relationships, but also about the particular importance of family relationships in reaching the unchurched. When we asked if a relationship was a factor in their accepting Christ, a majority answered
affirmatively. Perhaps the number who said yes was not as high as we would have anticipated, but it was nevertheless a strong response.
But among the whole scope of potential relationships, the formerly unchurched were clear in their assessment that family relationships were the most critical. Note the persons of greatest influence as told to us by the formerly unchurched.
The formerly unchurched provided information that we in the church had only intuitively known. Christian family members are important connections to the unchurched world. Do you have a family member who is not a Christian? How are you intentionally reaching out to this relative?
The family issue becomes even more intriguing when we ask which family member was the most influential. Note the responses.
The formerly unchurched first told us that wives were the most important in reaching the unchurched through relationships. More than one-third responded to the positive impact of this relationship. But husbands reaching wives was virtually a nonfactor.
Also note the influence of children in reaching their parents; nearly one out of five responded to this influence. Ten years ago the paradigm of youth ministry was “reach the parents to reach the children.” Today the paradigm is “reach the children to reach the parents.”
Of course the unchurched could not tell us the greatest influence on their becoming a Christian. After all, they were not Christians. But we did ask the unchurched to articulate what Christians had been influential in their lives.
The responses are significantly different from those of the formerly unchurched.
Obviously, the perspective of the new Christian is different from that of the non-Christian. More than one-third of the formerly unchurched said their wives were the biggest Christian influence in their lives. But a paltry 2 percent ofthe non-Christians gave a similar response. While children reaching parents was a huge issue for the formerly unchurched, the unchurched did not recognize the influence of their children at all. Such is the reason we asked the formerly unchurched to assist us in this research project. Researching the unchurched must include a healthy dose of caution, if not skepticism. An unregenerate person may not even realize that he or she has spiritual needs.
We therefore depended on the insights of the formerly unchurched throughout this project. We concluded with little doubt that family members were critically important in reaching their lost relatives.
That Moment of Crisis
In a previous chapter I mentioned the lessons we learned from September 11, 2001. God often uses moments of crisis to reach lost people. We saw an immediate increase in the interest in spiritual matters in the days following September 11, but we also saw that increase wane in just a matter of weeks.
These times of crisis are significant opportunities for you to reach out to those who do not have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
The formerly unchurched agreed. The interviews we conducted of more than 350 of these new Christians gave us a plethora of evidence to verify this reality.
Time and time again we heard the formerly unchurched tell us how a crisis moment made them more desirous toseek spiritual help.
Put some of the formerly unchurched asked an indicting questionof us long-time Christians: “Where were you in my moment of need?” Carla R., a formerly unchurched from Wyoming, had this to say: “When my husband was killed in an automobile accident, several Christians sent flowers or expressed their sympathies. Now, I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I really needed more than a token of sympathy. I had questions.
I was hurting deeply and wondering how to maze sense or all this. I needed a committed Christian just to sit down and listen to me.”Carla’s story does have a good ending. She said that one Christian, “out of
the over fifty I know,” asked if she could come see her two weeks after her husband’s tragic death. “Verna just said that she was hurting for me and wanted to know if she could come over and talk and listen. That’s what she did more than anything. She listened. That was the beginning of my first major step to becoming a Christian,” Carla noted. “One person who cared enough to listen.”
Many of the formerly unchurched asked those of us who have been Christians for several years to become more aware of witnessing opportunities during moments of crisis. “It’s a lesson I learned,” said Carla. “I have had the opportunity to see seven people accept Christ after I became available for them in their time of need.” Tell Them about Jesus
Here is a fascinating lesson from the formerly unchurched: One of the mosteffective ways to communicate the gospel to lost people is to tell them about Jesus. If my comments seem a bit sarcastic, it is because the formerly unchurched often helped us to see the obvious.
Mark W is a formerly unchurched person who lives in a mediumsized town about sixty miles from St. Louis. He was one of severalmillion unchurched who attended church the previous Easter Sunday. “I
typically attended church on Easter,” Mark told us. “There was no particular reason for my once-a-year church habit. No major crisis, no guilt trip. It was just something I did.”
Mark gladly filled out the guest cards as requested in the service. He did not mind hearing from the pastor by letter and receiving information about the church. He was accustomed to the routine after this many years. He was surprised, however, when he received a telephone call from someone at the church requesting an opportunity to visit him. Mark agreed to receive two men from the church.
“These two men got right to the point,” Mark commented. “They explained to me how I could become a Christian. I received Christ and have been in the church ever since.”
The formerly unchurched in our study left little doubt as to the importance ofdirect personal evangelism in reaching the unchurched. Over one-half indicated that someone from the church they joined shared Christ with them. Another 12 percent told us that someone other than a member of the church they joined personally evangelized them.
Only one-third of the formerly unchurched said that no one made an attempt to share Christ with them. While such factors as the building of relationships is very important in reaching the unchurched, we heard repeatedly that an evangelistic visit, even by a stranger from the church, had an eternal impact.
Have you become involved in personal evangelistic effortsthrough your church? Such an approach is certainly not the only way to reach the unchurched, but we have little doubt that God uses direct evangelism to reach many with the gospel. The Appearance of the Church
In Surprising Insights from the Unchurched I acknowledged myreticence to mention such seemingly mundane issues as the appearance of the church. Indeed, my concern was that more substantive issues become the foci for the church. After listening to new Christians for nearly two years, my views on the foundational issues being the most important have not changed. But my perspective on some of the more peripheral matters has adjusted.
Tina L. is a formerly unchurched single mom from Georgia. She and her former husband had moved there from Massachusetts because of his job transfer. In Georgia, Tina felt “like an alien in a strange land.” After the divorce, she told us, “I felt so unbelievably alone. All my social relationships were built
around my husband’s friends at work. When he left me, I had no connections in this town. And I sure am different than the typical resident here. Some of the people can’t understand my accent.”
Tina had never attended church except for special occasions. But, in what she viewed as “an act of desperation,” she decided to visit a Baptist church near her home. “You know I had to be desperate to visit a Baptist church in South Georgia, but I had to find something for Tara [her four-year-old daughter] and me.”
The Sunday arrived, and Tina, with Tara in tow, went to the local Baptist church. “I couldn’t believe how scared I was. I always thought I could handle any situation, but the idea of going to that Baptist church scared me to death.”
To make the situation worse, a light rain started falling on the wayto church. “I debated about going home, but I decided to push ahead.I got there at 10:50 thinking I had plenty of time. I would learn quickly that church started at 10:45, but the sign outside did not give any times.”
Despite her fear, the rain, and her tardiness, Tina got out of the car with determination. “I had to find some hope and people who cared somewhere. If I couldn’t find it in a church, where could I?” Tina was surprised to see the parking lot in deteriorating condition. She almost slipped on the grass growing in the cracks. And she was unable to find a parking place near the church. She still walked resolutely forward in the misty rain.
“I was already frustrated by the time I got to the door,” Tina told us. “But when the front door was locked, I was livid.” She finally found an open door that led to a maze of hallways with no directional signage. “We walked for a few minutes before someone gave me directions to the place to take Tara. But
when I opened the door and saw one lady attempting to take care of twenty screaming preschoolers, I turned around and left. Never again, I told myself.”
Tina’s story does obviously have a happy ending. After all, she is a new Christian, one of the formerly unchurched we interviewed. But after her bad experience, Tina stayed away from church for several weeks. She eventually tried another church, a nondenominational church a little further from her home. At that church she heard the gospel and accepted Christ.
“The difference between the two churches was like day and night,” Tina observed. “One church acted like they could care less about their facilities and ministries, and the other acted like they cared for people like me. The facilities and the preschool area are incredible in our church. Don’t some of these other churches realize that they’re telling people like me that God doesn’t matter to them? Don’t they realize hat anything less than excellence for God is not good enough?”
We could cite dozens of stories similar to Tina’s. I now understand better that seemingly mundane issues like facilities can have eternal impact. As you seek to become a better witness for Christ, observe how your church is doing in these areas. What do the facilities looklike to an outsider? Are the children’s and preschool areas clean and modern?
Is signage clear and modern? Do guests have sufficient parking close to the church?
On the one hand, such issues may seem less than important. On the other hand, from the perspective of the unchurched, the issue may be of eternal importance.
Praying for the Unchurched
The unchurched could not, of course, tell us about people who prayed for their salvation. They are not saved. But the formerly unchurched told us many such stories. One report comes from George G. of Arizona.
George learned a few weeks after his becoming a Christian that at least four people had prayed for him daily. “I wasn’t surprised that Cindy [his wife] was praying for me. I knew she was worried about my spiritual state. She was the first one who told me after I accepted Christ.”
Then George learned about others. “A friend of mine who lives over seven hundred miles away called me when he heard the news. He told me that he prayed for me twice a day. Can you believe that? Twice a day.” George then heard about his mother-in-law praying for him every day. And then he got the word
that someone from the church whom he did not know was praying for him as well.
“There may have been more than those four,” George mused. “But it was still unbelievable that they cared for me that much. Why don’t all Christians show that much concern for someone’s eternity? I tell you one thing. I learned a whole lot about the power of prayer in salvation. And I’ve already started
praying for some of my lost friends.”
Seeker Common Sense
For years the debate of seeker sensitivity and seeker targeting engendered controversy in many churches and denominations. The formerly unchurched really did not care to enter the debate. In fact, many of these new Christians thought that the conflict was much ado about nothing.
Janice T. is a relatively new Christian from New Mexico. She had never heard of the debate until after she became a Christian. She believes the issue is not one of seeker-sensitive or seeker-targeted services; she thinks the issue is simply common sense.
“I am new to the church, so I really don’t know a whole lot of what’s going on. I hear some of the church members fussing about this and that,” Janice commented. “The more I hear, the more I’m convinced that churches need to practice common sense. I mean, it’s common sense to have a decent and clean
building. It’s common sense to be friendly to visitors. It’s common sense to help everybody understand the songs that are being sung. And it’s common sense not to make visitors feel uncomfortable.”
Indeed, the comments that we heard from the formerly unchurched who had bad experiences at churches were typically related to commonsense issues: clean carpets, good signage, adequate guest parking, excellent preschool and children’s areas, friendly greeters, easy-to-follow music, decent landscaping, and a lengthy list of other practical issues.
When I served as a pastor prior to becoming dean of Southern Seminary, I led our church to approach these commonsense issues from a different perspective.
We would ask an unchurched woman to visit our church and give us a detailed and honest response. We would actually pay a respectable stipend for the woman to conduct this exercise. And we would find a different unchurched person every six months so that we could have a fresh perspective each time.
The assistance from the unchurched person would come in two phases. First, she would attend Sunday morning services and tell us of her experience. Did she find convenient parking? Were the greeters helpful and friendly? Could she find the way to her destination? Was signage adequate? What were her first impressions of the grounds and buildings? Were the rest rooms convenient and clean?
The next day, Monday, the unchurched woman would take a thorough tour of our facilities. She would have diagrams of all the rooms,and she would make notes for every single place she toured. At the end of the day, the woman would meet with our ministry staff, custodians, and lay leaders. Inevitably we would hear things that surprised us, even after six or seven consecutive reports in the recent past.
We always took the input of the formerly unchurched seriously.And most of the information they gave us was common sense. But we were often surprised to learn that we were not using common sense. Learn from the formerly unchurched and learn to become commonsensical in your church.
Use the Formerly Unchurched in Evangelism
Jack R., a formerly unchurched man from upstate New York, has quite a network of lost friends. “The guys at work couldn’t believe what happened to me. I really didn’t think much about them until this Christian girl I’m dating said something almost off the cuff. She asked me if I had witnessed to any of my
friends. I was kind of dumbstruck by her question.”
But Jack decided that her question had real merit. “I went to one of our pastors and asked him to help me know how to witness to this bunch of guys I used to get drunk with. He began to teach me and mentor me. It was incredible.
I led five friends to the Lord in less than six months.”
The unchurched who accept Christ will likely have the most significant network of lost people in the church. If you are a longerterm Christian seeking to be obedient to the Great Commission, seek out these new Christians in your church. Ask them if you can work and pray with them to reach their lost friends, neighbors, and family members.
A number of the formerly unchurched who assisted us in this project reported very exciting information about the way God has used them to reach lost people.
And in almost every case, the new Christian had teamed with a more mature Christian to be used of God to reach more people with the gospel. With Thanks to the Formerly Unchurched.
This research project has been the result of hundreds of hours of work by one of the finest research teams ever assembled. The work they did will have eternal impact. My gratitude to these men and women is unending. I stand amazed at the work they accomplished.
But it has been my role to stay in touch with several new Christians, the formerly unchurched, to help us in this project. Before our team was ever assembled, I sought and received guidance from them to help shape our interview process.
During the research project, I would call some of these formerly unchurched to receive interpretation of our work to date. And as the project neared completion, I once again asked for their advice on some of the conclusions we were forming. This massive work would not have been the same without their
Nevertheless, I am concerned with more than a successful research project. At all phases of this work, my prayer has been to provide information to educate, inspire, and motivate Christians to reach out to lost men and women with whom they have contact. I hope that by this point you see that the unchurched are not always the profane, antagonistic people portrayed by stereotypes. They are the unchurched next door. They are your friends, family members, coworkers,and even casual acquaintances. And many of them are waiting for someone like you to share Christ with them.
Yet today it takes eighty-five church members a year to reach one person for Christ. Obviously, we in the American church are doing a poor job of reaching the unchurched next door. Thus far in this book we have attempted to show what God has used to reach lost men and women for Christ. Now we ask, “Why is the American church so unsuccessful in reaching the unchurched next door?” In the next chapter we will see ten reasons why we are not reaching them today.