My wife and I recently attended a dinner where Ed Stetzer talked about "Is The American Church Dying?" It was a wonderful night seeing some old friends, eating a great meal and hearing about many myths we have heard. Two myths he addresses are not true, based on Lifeway research and other research that Ed Stetzer and others have done. First is that young people who attended church up to high school graduation are leaving the church and not coming back. Second is that Christians have a 50% divorce rate. According to the research, both of these are totally untrue. Christian high schoolers might take a break from church during college years (they might join a campus ministry; FCA, InterVarsity, Navigators, etc) but the majority come back by the time they are 30. The divorce rate for Committed Christians is more like 10-15%. The media, and even the church, has not been reporting this fact accurately.
The main point that Ed Stetzer was making that night was about understanding who we are as Americans. Once we understand how it is broken up, it helps us to see how some interpret Christianity differently. He explained it like this.
25% Secular - Do not want God or do not want to be identified with Christianity.
25% Cultural Christians - They think America is Christian, therefore they are.
25% Congregational Christians - Casually connected to a church a few times per year like Christmas and Easter.
25% Committed Christians - Christ centered people who connect with Jesus and seek to make a difference in this world.
So, how do we, the church, show and share the love of Jesus with 75% of America, who are not committed Christians?
Let's not give up. Let's never give up. Let's pray. Let's spend time with those 75% even if we have to change our daily and weekly schedules. Let's show them the love of Jesus practically. Let's risk and ask them about their spiritual story and history. Let's risk and follow the Holy Spirit's lead as we share the GREAT NEWS of Jesus Christ with them in ways that are conversational.
I am evaluating my days and weeks to see how and when am I rubbing shoulders with the 75%, how about you?
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.