Posts Tagged ‘violence’

2014 trends and the church

Posted: January 24, 2014 by efenster in Ideas
Tags: , , , ,

logoThe latest report from the Barna Group mentions three U.S. trends in 2014.  One is a loss of faith in public education, another is an increased concern for a culture that seems to accept violence as a normal part of life, and a third is the loss in the valuing church participation.

These touch my life very personally.  My wife and I have had a real concern that we Christians should support the public schools.  We have no regrets for sending our three sons to highly diverse urban public schools.  They were blessed with many Christian teachers (some United Methodist) who shaped their lives, and they were blessed with an incredibly rich diverse community–flaws and all.

One son is attending a university that just had a shooting on its campus.  Unfortunately our children grew up in a community where shootings happen.  In fact, our community experienced an all-time record number of homicides in 2013.  It has caused a significant amount of soul-searching within our community.  One former gang member attributed it to the fact our culture is accepting violence as not only a normal part of our lives but that it also gives status to both the victims and the perpetrators.

Finally, the Barna Report says that roughly a third of Americans believe attending church is important, another third believes it isn’t important, and the remaining third is ambivalent.  As one who believes in the value of church participation, I certainly am concerned about this trend–a trend which has existed the past 30 years.

To what degree might this final trend be linked to the first two?  Could it be that the more churches are addressing the first two trends, that a growing number will value church participation?  I hear of more and more churches that are focusing their resources on supporting their local public schools.  I hear of fewer churches responding to the growing acceptance of violence in our culture.  Obviously “Jesus is the answer!”  Yet, how do those of us in the church, those of us who are followers of Jesus, be salt and light, especially in these trends?

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development