Monday, July 15, 2013

The Waning of the Church

In a July 2nd report from the Pew Research Center, they discovered that less than half of all Americans believe that the growth of the nonreligious in America is a bad thing (48%), the rest either thinks it’s a good thing or that it doesn’t matter. It has been obvious over the past decades that there has been a steady decline in religious commitment among Americans. Here’s what Pew Research Center has to say:

For example, there has been a modest uptick over the past decade in the share of U.S. adults who say they seldom or never attend religious services. The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion also has grown in recent years; indeed, about one-fifth of the public overall – and a third of adults under age 30 – are religiously unaffiliated as of 2012. Fully a third of U.S. adults say they do not consider themselves a “religious person.” And two-thirds of Americans – affiliated and unaffiliated alike – say religion is losing its influence in Americans’ lives.

I have suspected that America is heading for a post-Christian era. As a nation, faith in God is becoming a highly combative issue in public life. Faith is being cornered behind the walls of our homes and churches. No longer is there freedom in the public sector to express and celebrate our Christian heritage and beliefs. We are told that in order to allow a Christian expression of faith we will need to accommodate and allow all faiths the same “air time”. Now though this ecumenical approach seems fair and properly tolerant, it is eroding the impact Christianity has had on public life.

Now let me get a bit controversial here…I believe this is good for the church. History shows that the more persecution the church is under, the stronger it becomes (Ex. Coptic Christians in Egypt or the Underground Church in North Korea). Even in a declining Christian culture, here in America, the majority of church goers are lackadaisical in their faith. They are not sharing about Jesus with others, they don’t read their bibles on a regular basis and their Christian faith has little impact on the way they do life on Monday through Saturday basis. We could benefit for a little more pressure.

There’s another piece to this issue that we must realize. The decline of our Christian churches has a lot to do with the crummy sales job we’re doing. Issues like denominationalism, infighting and immorality have created a negative air about the church. When it comes to our communities, we are not the positive change people look to. We have not continued the work of Christ that was so attractive to those he touched. In fact I’m not sure we are touching very many people at all.

It’s time for a change and that change starts with you and with me. The church is God’s people and we should love our communities in ways that are attractive, practical and inviting. What can you do to start this change? How can you be the attractive change the world is looking for and yearning for? We all need to be the change we want to see.

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...

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