What Helps Americans Grow Their Faith?

A survey by the Barna Group asked a group of respondents about the key components in growing their faith. The top five answers were prayer, family, friends, reading Scripture, and having children. Did you notice something missing in the list? The church is not there. In fact, it didn’t even make it into the top ten answers. This seems to fit right in with other trends experts are observing about American church attendance. Now in the minority, only 49% of respondents said church attendance is “somewhat” or “very important.” 51% said “it is not too” or “not at all important.” This applies Americans of all ages. When we drill down to younger people, only 20% of Americans under age 30 believe church attendance is important. 35% of those under age 30 now take an anti-church stance.  When asked why they’ve quit attending, 40% said, “I find God elsewhere.” 35% said, “Church is not relevant to me personally.” It is becoming more common to hear people explain their desire to be spiritual, not religious. They believe they can have God without the church and pick and choose what spiritual things suit them.  (For more read Americans Divided on the Importance of Church. https://www.barna.com/research/americans-divided-on-the-importance-of-church/)

What was your reaction as you read this? Do you think all is lost, or is there hope that those who quit attending will return at a later stage of life? No matter how you answer, the challenge is real. Our young people are at a much lower baseline for church participant and commitment than previous generations. The fastest religious group in the country are what is now being referred to as the “nones.”

That is why it is very important to be talking about evangelism and church growth. How can the church navigate the cultural waters of our day? One of the ways we can become a magnet for attracting the lost is through authentic and genuine relationships with people inside and outside the church. Today we’ll be discussing four characteristics of active membership in the local congregation. People want to be connected, but they don’t want to be hurt in doing so. They won't be interested in our preaching or teaching until they see us personally exhibiting the love of Jesus day in and day out. We need to strive for lives of consistency, discipline, and humility, Romans 12.3. We need to elevate compassion and communication skills to a higher priority, Colossians 4.5-6; 1 Peter 3.15. And, we need to be willing to be intentional by making time to mentor and disciple others in the ways of Christ, Ephesians 5.16; 1 Thessalonians 5.11. If you’ve been passive in your relationship with the local church, thinking your responsibility ends with 90 minutes per week at services, now is the time to step up. You can make a difference and play a role in the spiritual and numerical growth of our Kettering family. Today, you’ll see some ways you can get involved.

What is one thing you can do this week to become more active in the role you play here?

— Matthew Allen

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Matthew Allen

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