Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Missing Christians

While most folks can buy into the notion of an intelligent being floating about in the cosmos, the idea of creation and a God very much alive and active in our daily lives is a bigger stretch. It is this step of faith that causes many to fall into the "agnostic" or "non-affiliated Christian" categories. Polls tells us that 80-90% of Americans proclaim a belief in God. Preachers proclaim a 70-80% absence from the pews.


Let's start with a typical scenario found after the Sunday morning services of any church of any major denomination. The congregants file out, shake hands with the Pastor, head downstairs for cookies and coffee, visit with one another for maybe twenty minutes or so, and chat.

Know what they chat about? The weather. The economy. Football. Kids. TV shows.

Notice something missing? That's right. Rarely will the conversations turn to Jesus, salvation, the bible, or even the sermon they just heard.

It's a comfort thing. Even church-attending Christians feel uncomfortable talking to each other about their faith. So, if we the followers of Christ can't even get over our embarrassment to speak His name in the church, why are we surprised when most Americans see no reason to attend church or speak openly about their faith?

Taking it a step further, if most Americans are unwilling to publicly proclaim their faith (unless, ironically, running for public office), why should the children of those quiet Christians grow up believing in anything at all? They shouldn't. And since this slip into a "personal religious viewpoint" has been going on for over forty years, it's no surprise that the pews are emptying.

This leaves us with two problems: how to start speaking openly about our faith, thus reversing the trend, and how to convince an entire generation of agnostics that God is real, God is alive, and God wants a relationship with them.

I don't believe this is simply a matter of packing people back into the church. I honestly believe that our country's survival depends on it.

More to come...


Aaron Grayhek said...

I think one important point to consider is the early church just after Jesus left. We see a model demonstrated over and over again, particularly the churches under Paul. The people would go to the streets and house to house proclaiming their faith and winning people to Christ and church was merely a gathering together of the believers that found their faith outside church meetings. We need to stop thinking of church as the place to find God. We need to bring God into the world every place we are and when people begin to profess the faith for themselves, they can at that point find a place to gather themselves (a local church). We have it all backwards and think we should bring unbelievers to church so they hopefully find God.

Anonymous said...

I think your both right in why the church is seeing more empty pews, both were similar in the fact that people do not profess their love for god or even talk about it enough with other people,its became a social event they go through the the motions show up for church, make sure everyone see's their there. try an stay awake through the sermon and then their the first off the lot. We christians need to start walking the walk inside the "house of god" and outside. Care for our fellow humans, pray for those that need it regardless of your feeling toward them at that moment,learn to forgive people as one day we may be the one asking for forgivness and spread the good word when ever you can, now were all human and we will sin, there is no question about that. but to sit in our "pews" and judge other people and excluded them because their race,sexuality, or even how they like to dress for church. these are the things that will continue to shrink church attendance even further in the coming years. I recently attended a church that had a relaxed dress code, an more of a younger feel to it, there were many people from different races, conservitves, liberals,some punk rockers with crazy hair and the clothes to match, yet everyone seemed as one group, it was a large church an there wasnt a seat to be had, standing room only, an even that was crowded. We need to update our churches to more reflect current times, nowhere in the bible does it say churches need to be one way or the other, they just need to be able to draw people in so they can learn the word and way of Jesus.