In the United States of America today, Christians are known more for what they’re against than what they are for. In their book, unchristian, authors David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons tell us that 91% of young people in America believe that we are anti-homosexual. 87% see us as judgmental and 85% deem us hypocritical. 78% view us as old-fashioned and out of touch with reality. 75% think we are way too political. 70% think we are insensitive to others and not genuine. For some reason we’ve become famous for what we oppose.
One speaker I heard in recent years painted a picture similar to that which has befallen the Amish in North America. In the not-too-distant future, he claimed, we may very well be able to board tour buses in Colorado Springs and visit the remnants of the Evangelical Church. We’re quickly becoming irrelevant to society. And unless we change our posture, we simply will become an oddity from the past that attracts a few passing tourists but has little influence on society as a whole.
83% of Americans claim to be Christian yet only 17% are attending church regularly. 50% of churches have no new converts in the last year; 95% of Christians never lead anyone to Christ; and 2% only give it any real attempt on a regular basis. By 2050, 400 million Americans will have no clear expression of the Gospel (most of these alarming statistics were recently presented by Pete Hise at an Uprising Conference I recently attended in Lexington, KY).
My pastor recently pointed out that many Christians either try to hide from the world or try to hide their love for Jesus from the world. We can fall into either ditch. Too many are concerned with living in a Christian nation rather than making America a nation of Christians.
We seem to have a problem with preferring adjectives over nouns and verbs. Jesus calls us “to be” who “do.” Furthermore, nouns always like verbs; sentences are only complete when both are present.
So how Christian really are we? What will it take to be known as people who love unconditionally? Can we create cultures of redemption that are irresistible? Can we flavor society as Jesus’ salt analogy of Matthew 5 suggests rather than run from it? If so, what will “being Christian” and “doing Christian” look like?