Few American Christians understand what is really happening in our lifetime, either spiritually or politically. The following information ought to stab us wide awake but most of us will more than likely continue to sleep through one of the most important religious and social transitions in Western history.
In America spirituality continues to rise while religion does not. Gallup explained in a 2002 poll that 50% of Americans describe themselves as “religious” while another 33%, a figure that is rising each year, say they are “spiritual but not religious.”
The fastest growing religious group in American is those who describe their religion as “none.” Every two years this group increases by 1%. We are worried about Islam in America while the overwhelming majority of the next generation will have no religion at all.
The face of North America is also changing rapidly. From 1970 to 2005 the foreign born population in the United States rose from 4.7% to 12%. By 2050 it is expected that 50% of the U. S. population will be of a different ethnicity than non-Hispanic white. Both politically and spiritually we are unprepared.
Our birth rate is slightly below the level that will sustain the population, i.e., 2.2 live births per mother. Without immigrants we would be well below this level. Any family with more than three children is looked at as odd, out of place and foolish. Try attending a typical church with four or five children and you will see what I mean. Evangelicals are not keeping up with the needed birthrate at all.
Globalization and trans-nationalism provide America with a unique historic opportunity. We have become a modern Judea, a crossroads of the world during the time of Jesus. We are fast becoming that same type of modern crossroads in the 21st century.
Less than 1 in 10 churches in America is experiencing healthy growth by real evangelism. Most church growth is Christians moving from one church to another.
What is the solution? A true awakening of Christians to the radical call of Christ upon their lives and their culture. It may yet happen but if it does it will likely come from the youngest among us, not from boomers or adults much older than thirty. This is why I watch the dry timber of the college campus so closely. It has been here, in our nation’s past, that the seeds of awakening were sown that brought about more wholesale change. No generation is more biblically illiterate but this could be the very best context for teaching the demands of true faith if enough faithful people become prepared to invest themselves relationally with these young people.