Every year another two million American adults become less receptive to the gospel, and less receptive to churches.
That is one of the nuggets I took from the Pew Research work on the “Nones” when they first released the data in 2012. Pew has continued to follow the religious commitment level of Americans. From 2007 to 2014, over 12 million American adults have moved from a high level of religious commitment to a low level of commitment. They just skipped the medium level of commitment altogether.
Cultural Christianity is dying.
One no longer has to be a Christian or in a church to be accepted by society. That relatively easy pool of prospective attendees for our churches is disappearing.
But most churches keep doing what they’ve always done.
As a consequence, they are reaching fewer. They are declining.
The answer to that question is too complex for a simple blog post, but let me provide five high-level responses for now.
1. Church members are not being intentionally relational with those who are not in church. The old way of church outreach was more transactional; today it requires the development of relationships. Most church members will not take that step. Many don’t know how to take that step.
2. Many churches are stuck in the past. While we never compromise the gospel and the Word, our methodologies must reflect an awareness of our culture, and a willingness to be missionaries to that culture. Sadly, too many church members are unwilling to make changes. Church, for them, is about their needs and their preferences.
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