The Church and America-WIll You Help Change the Trend?

Below in this blog are some hard facts for those a part of the church in the United States to look at. The numbers at first glance will not be encouraging, and honestly it is very sad to see. The good news is we as christians possess the power to change this through evangelism. Evangelism is something we talk about but the numbers must ask us if it is something that we actually do. A lot of churches have programs geared towards evangelism, but they for the most part are not effective in the US. Look at the statistics below and see what the church is dealing with in the culture. Ask yourself as a Christian, if you are one, what you will do to change these numbers.

-It takes 86 church members (all denominations) in the US to reach 1 person for Christian’s

-Issue: Not the specific number but the fact it continues to rise.

-Polls report 41-43% of Americans say they attend church on a given weekend

-the real number is 17.5% of Americans actually attend church on a given weekend

-85-94% of our churches are non-growing

-There are some that are growing but we have to ask why? Lost coming to Christ, or transfer membership?

-In the past decade, the US population has increased by around 9%

-US church attendance has decreased by 9.5%

-We are fighting in a hole with a 18.5% deficit

-No state has maintained a level of church growth that has kept up with population growth

-Northeastern USA is growing the fastest, south is the greatest decreasing

-Not a single county in the US can report more people attending church than 10 years ago

-1972, Southern Baptist baptized 140,000 teens and in 2008 they baptized 75,000

-1 out of 4 Southern Baptist churches will baptize 0 people

-1 out of 3 Southern Baptist churches will baptize 2 or less people

-In the SBC, the number of church plants increased between 2010-11 from 780 to 990

-but the actual numeric change in church was only 37 (smaller gain in 40 years)

-The number of people who claim no religious affiliation has doubled since 1990

-non-believers represent the 3rd highest group of Americans, first time in American history

-after catholics and baptist

-there at least 195 million unchurched people in the US (nearly 2/3 of the population)

-This makes the US 4th largest unsaved nation on the planet

-behind China, India, and Indonesia

-Within 10 years the USA is expected to overtake Indonesia for 3rd place

-Studies indicate that over 70 million people in the US could be close to or on the path toward salvation

-If 70 million were saved, it would be the greatest spiritual awakening in the history of our nation

-In fact, less than 10% of the unchurched would be considered antagonistic or hostile toward the church

-The “enemies” we see are the ones suing the schools or on TV.

-Most are open to discussion and willing to talk.

-Over 90% of out active church members (generous, can be 98%) will never share their faith

-This is utter disobedience to the command of Christ.

So take the numbers for what they are. The good news is if you are a believer you have the power of Jesus Christ inside of you, and that is the power that saves people. The power that equips you to handle rejection, answer the hard questions, and direct people to God as he reveals Himself to them. Let us reach our neighbors.

Advertisements

2 Common Fears in Evangelism

Image

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14

If I were to ask you what your two greatest fears are when it comes to sharing your faith, what would they be? Maybe it’s awkward, maybe you are afraid you will not have all the answers, or maybe you are afraid you are the reason someone will choose not to be a Christian. If we are going to be honest, sharing our faith is not always easy. We can come up with more reason not to than we do to evangelize. Deep down we know we should but we are afraid to break down those walls.

In most people’s cases there are two common fears in sharing their faith: fear of rejection and fear of failure. What I want to do is encourage you to not let these fears overcome you. I have absolutely experienced both of these in sharing my faith. I have used the excuses, and am embarrassed to admit tried to justify staying silent.

1. Fear of Rejection

Nobody likes to be rejected. I hated asking girls on dates before I met Kandace because I never wanted to hear “No thanks.” What a silly fear. The worst the person could do was say no. We often experience this fear when we attempt to share our faith. Here are a couple of things to remember:

-If you are rejected be rejected for the right reasons.

-It’s harder to be happier in this life than being rejected for His name

-“The most joyous people are the persecuted church” -Dr. Bruce Ashford, SEBTS Provost. Dr. Ashford saw this firsthand and Acts shows us this evidence as well.

-Don’t take it personally, most of the time they do not even know you.

-Remember what Jesus said in Luke 10:16

2. Fear of Failure

No one likes to fail either. Getting an F on a test, not making a team, or simply not doing what you were supposed to do. Failing is never something that is reflected positively. It is the idea of letting someone down and disappointing them, and in this case that person is Christ. Here are some reminders on the fear of failure.

-How can you grow in faith if you do not risk failure? Take the risk, live and learn. You will become better and more natural in sharing your faith.

-Someone rejecting you is not failure. Remember Luke 16:10.

-The best way to understand failure is to understand our task. Our task was commanded by Jesus, and He did not win everyone over and neither will you.

-God saves people not us.

-Our job is to take the gospel from our mouth to their ears. God will get it from their ears to their hearts.

-Success is judged by your faithfulness.

-Sharing your faith is not failing because you are obeying the call from Christ. Not sharing your faith is failure.

So I encourage us all not to be afraid to share our faith. Let us do so joyfully at work, school, and where ever life may take us. Evangelism is not just for mission trips or VBS, but it is in every part of our lives. What you talk a lot about is what you love, let that be Jesus for us Christians. Paul writes these words in the fourth chapter of Colossians. At the end is a threefold prayer I encourage us all to pray daily. Live with the mindset if I do not tell them, then who will?

“At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak” Colossians 4:3-4

A threefold prayer in sharing your faith:
“Lord, open a door. Lord, open their heart. Lord, open my mouth.”