Are we becoming Irrelevant?
October 8, 2009
Are we becoming Irrelevant? Those of us who consider ourselves Christian, are we making a difference?
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You wouldn’t think so if you listened to Fox News or if you looked at a recent survey.
Which made the Fox writer ask “Where have all the Christians gone?”
Which left me with more questions than answers. Thankfully there’s google to clear things up. That’s how I found the page “Public Theology.”
They helped clear things up and helped me read between the lines. It looks like there’s a shift going on not a decline.
“The percentage of Christians in America, which declined in the 1990s from 86.2 percent to 76.7 percent, has now edged down to 76 percent. Ninety percent of the decline comes from the non-Catholic segment of the Christian population, largely from the mainline denominations, including Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians/Anglicans, and the United Church of Christ. These groups, whose proportion of the American population shrank from 18.7 percent in 1990 to 17.2 percent in 2001, all experienced sharp numerical declines this decade and now constitute just 12.9 percent.
Most of the growth in the Christian population occurred among those who would identify only as “Christian,” “Evangelical/Born Again,” or “non-denominational Christian.” The last of these, associated with the growth of megachurches, has increased from less than 200,000 in 1990 to 2.5 million in 2001 to over 8 million today. These groups grew from 5 percent of the population in 1990 to 8.5 percent in 2001 to 11.8 percent in 2008. Significantly, 38.6 percent of mainline Protestants now also identify themselves as evangelical or born again.”
So there you have it. People are leaving some denominational churches they feel no longer speak to them. But others from many backgrounds are joining one of the many mega-churches.
Since I belong to a mega-church I freely admit to being biased. But here’s my opinion anyway. My church is one of many of the small but growing mega-churches in the Albany NY area. We’ve all enjoyed a steady growth trend since the turn of the century.
And one thing the survey didn’t mention was the house church movement. These people don’t belong to an official church but they are still Christian nevertheless.
These two patterns if they’re nationwide could make that 76% number start to go back up again. So in spit of what Fox thinks we’re becoming more relevant than ever.