More religious that we realize?

Posted: May 11, 2015 by efenster in Ideas
Tags: , , ,

DSC_0184What percentage of people are unchurched–not having attended church in the past six months?  Well, according to a recent Barna Research study it’s not as  high, perhaps, as you think.  Throughout Indiana the figure ranges from 27-33% of the population being unchurched.  (See the prior blog for details.)

Ken Camp, managing editor of the Baptist Standard, mentions in a recent article that scholars from Baylor University’s Institute of Studies of Religion have found that Millennials may be more religious than we think, that the rise of the “nones” and the “in-your-face confrontational” atheism may not be as significant as the media has portrayed.

Camp’s article goes on with the following quote:  “People have been predicting the end of religion for more than three centuries,” said Rodney Stark, distinguished professor of social sciences at Baylor and co-director of the Institute for Studies of Religion.

“Worldwide, eight in 10 people belong to one of the major organized faiths, and about three-fourths say religion has an impact on their daily lives,” he said.

Some specific positive signs in other parts of the world include:

  • Worship attendance in Latin American going from 10-20% to 60% over the past century
  • Sub-Saharan African has 10,000 independent, indigenous Christian movements
  • The number of Christians in China has grown from 10 million to an estimated 73 million since 1980

The article even points to positive signs in Europe.

The good news, then, is that the picture isn’t as bleak as it’s been portrayed.  Yet, the reality is that the church will have to continue to adapt and change, and to become even more focused on its mission going forward–and not itself.

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development



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