In October, we hosted an Evangelical Leaders Forum with Ed Stetzer, looking at the future of Christianity in America. About 110 people joined the discussion about what is really happening in evangelicalism in America and how those in ministry can be encouraged about the state of the country, while they share the love of Jesus.
Ed Stetzer, Ph.D, Executive Director of LifeWay Research, discussed how bad statistics help paint an inaccurately poor picture of Christianity in America.
“No real researcher actually believes Christianity is dying in America,” said Stetzer.
Recent Pew Research shows a new trend surfacing where more nominals are answering “none” as their religion rather than historically checking the “Christian” box.
No real researcher actually believes Christianity is dying in America…
“The nominal Christians are shedding the title, they are becoming secular people without changing their behavior,” said Stetzer.
Stetzer discussed how evangelicals should act when engaging society in the “culture war.”
“It now feels like we’re the convictional minority we’ve been for a long time,” said Stetzer. “We can’t lash out at a changing society and expect to change it.”
For the real story about what’s happening to Christianity in America, Stezter says you have to read past the headlines.
“Pew does good research, but you actually have to read the research and not just the headlines that say ‘Christianity is collapsing.’ The pew data actually says that there were more evangelicals in 2014 than there were in 2007. You wouldn’t have known that from the news reports,” said Stetzer.
According to the General Social Survey, one out of 8 Americans is a regular church-attending evangelical. Stetzer says the church is shifting into other expressions, specifically shown in the growth of non-denominational groups.
“The percentage of evangelicals who are non-denominational is the fastest growing category there is,” said Stetzer. “The trend is to large, non-denominational, contemporary churches with smoke machines,” he joked.
My wife and I were very encouraged and blessed by both Ed Stetzer and the chance to fellowship with other church leaders…
Participants were given a chance to have round table discussions about how best to engage society, and based on presented statistical trends, how to advance the Gospel of Jesus.
“As a pastor of twenty years, my wife and I were very encouraged and blessed by both Ed Stetzer and the chance to fellowship with other church leaders,” said Travis Rosinger, Adult Ministry Pastor, Maple Grove Evangelical Free Church.
In the end, Stetzer brought all of his statistics and analysis back to the real reason for the event, asking the group, “How do we live on mission so that the name and fame of Jesus can be more widely known in this mission field?”