A few weeks ago, PEW Research Center came out with new study on the decline of Christianity in America. According to their research, Christianity has declined by nearly 7% in the last seven years. Since the research came out, CNN, NBC among others have shared their perspective on the decline of the church.
Since this statistical bomb was dropped on American Christians, I have had many conversations about this research with friends, colleagues, and parishioners. And the conversations are always depressing. It includes questions like, “Is the church going to die?” “What will the church look like in ten years at this rate?” And most importantly, “What are we going to do about it?”
Truthfully it would be easy to jump on the bandwagon, and come up with a list of priorities, actions and changes to make the church grow. But is that God’s plan?
My fear is that we have forgotten about love of our Creator and Heavenly Father, Jesus who lived, died and was resurrected for us, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Have we forgotten how God brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, how the Israelites faith grew even though they were a minority in Babylon, or what happened on Pentecost when people heard and received the Holy Spirit and thousands were baptized?
One of my friends once said, “God loves remnants because whenever God’s people are a minority they learn to trust that God will guide them.”
This is a time when we must trust even more than before. We live not by statistics but as faithful disciples each day. We learn how to trust in Jesus because His research doesn’t show decline, it shows deeper relationships, building of community and a stronger faith.