Does the Data Really Mean Christianity Is Dying?

A Meditation for Pastors from President Kevin Wilson’s Digital Scriptorium

In the past few weeks, I’ve heard the same statistic quoted three times: Today around 60 percent of Americans identify as Christians; by 2070 only around 37 percent of Americans will be Christians. 

These numbers come from the Pew Research Center. I have found the Pew Research Center a trustworthy source of research. In this case, it’s not the research that’s giving me pause. It’s how the research is being presented. The following is found in the same report where the above data is presented: 

“…these are not the only possibilities, and they are not meant as predictions of what will happen. Rather, this study presents formal demographic projections of what could happen…” 

I do not share this to discredit everyone who is quoting these statistics. Instead, I want to curb the “doom and gloom” which follows such grave statistics. Yes, engaging in the Great Commission is becoming increasingly difficult. Yes, we are having a tougher time with discipling congregational members, including engaging them in the life of the church. This doesn’t mean we are facing a decades long drought. Jesus is still Lord of the Harvest. 

The pastoral role remains the same: lead God’s people in engaging in God’s mission. We preach, teach, and visit. During this season more attention should be paid to assisting God’s people being in the Word on a daily basis. Equipping our members to live out their God-given vocations is now paramount. Our churches should also become indispensable members of their communities, for the sake of the Gospel. Having a special focus for ministry is nothing new. Every generation has to make adjustments while keeping the core roles of pastoral ministry. 

May our Lord nurture hope within us as we serve in such challenging times.

(This meditation was originally written for the pastors of the Ohio District LCMS. Photo credit Pixabay.)

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