Relevant Magazine published an online article that I wrote today entitled “Why I’m Not Giving Up on Church.” It’s a bit of my own reflections on why the church is still relevant and important for us today. You can read the entire article at their web-site, but here are the first few paragraphs:
In 2011 the largest denomination in the United States, the Southern Baptist Convention, announced the results of a survey showing a significant decline in baptisms and church membership. Ed Stetzer, a missioligist and researcher with Lifeway Research, commented at the time: “This is not a blip. This is a trend. And the trend is one of decline.”
In the very same year, across the Atlantic, a report on the Church of England highlighted the challenges it was facing: aging congregations, faltering clergy recruitment and waning attendance. While church leaders used words like “crisis” and “time bomb,” the report predicted the church would likely be extinct within 20 years.
More recently, the Pew Research Center released a study on the state of religion in the United States entitled “‘Nones’ on the Rise.” The study brings into focus the increasing growth rate of those who do not identify with any religion at all. Nearly one-fifth of the U.S. adult population—and one-third of those under the age of 30—identify in this way; an increase from 15 percent just 5 years earlier.
For many people, these are signs that the church is, if not already dead, steadily moving toward the grave. And many have been calling for followers of Jesus to return to the original vision for our faith…[read the entire article here]