Disturbed By Statistics

I heard somewhere recently that only seven percent of millennials are self-described Christians. That means that we are in danger of losing an entire generation. If being a disciple of Jesus is as wonderful as we say it is, then why are so many rejecting our claims? Some will say that it is just a sign of the times and that this is only the beginning of the “great falling away.” Frankly, I just don’t buy that. I think that we have so distorted the image of Jesus with our pettiness, in-fighting, bickering, etc. that those on the outside looking in will have nothing to do with us. So the question is, what do we do now?

6 Replies to “Disturbed By Statistics”

    1. I should have. Our churches have become so intertwined with political parities and positions, that it’s hard to tell where the dividing line is. I’m not saying that people of faith shouldn’t be involved in politics, but a persons political positions shouldn’t be a litmus test for faithfulness.

    1. Elaine,

      I appreciate the comment and agree with the sentiment. I fully affirm the role of missionaries, my concern with that however, is context and culture. How can African missionaries speak to American youth in a way that they would understand? My sense is that we have spent so much energy “proclaiming the gospel” that we have failed to “translate” it. I’m in my early forties and the language I speak is completely different from the language of my sixteen year old daughter. From the conversations I’ve had with her, I’ve become convinced that the church today hasn’t taken the time to learn the language. Things that may seem important to me aren’t even on her radar. We try to entertain them, because that is what the consumerist culture they are a part of requires, but we’ve failed to make disciples. We are losing them. It is our fault. We, the Church, are to blame. We’ve bought in to the lie that we can “buy” their loyalty; bigger buildings, fellowship halls, bands, programs, glitz and glamour, but we’re still losing them.

  1. Posted this on Methoblog, thought I would post here as well. Much peace to you.

    My opinion: If the church (and really, at large, the Church) recovered what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus Christ – that is, if Christianity, particularly in America, actually cost us something of our comfort, our finances, our popularity – if Christianity required (as discipleship does) the commitment of our entire lives to the ACTUAL Lordship of Jesus – we would not have this problem. Jesus said that He Himself would build His Church (“Upon this Rock I will build My Church”), not that we were to build it. Maybe we should take Him at His word.

    1. Keri,

      I totally agree… I think. For us to “make disciples” we must first BE disciples. And I’m not so sure that the Church really knows what that means. Bonhoeffer said that when Christ calls us, he bids us come and die. We’ve spiritualized that and made it some nebulous fluffy thing that sounds good, but I don’t think that is what Bonhoeffer, or Jesus meant by discipleship. By your response, it sounds like you’re thinking along those same lines; discipleship that costs something, namely our lives. I’d be interested to hear more about what you consider to be a “true” disciple of Jesus.

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