Updates from the decline of Christianity in America

OK, I ain’t blogged in three months. But I was stirred from slumber by some recent news from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the Barna site, and a new e-book “Reaching the College Tribes.”

First; Check out the executive summary of “Faith in Flux: Changes in Religious Affiliation in the US” from the Pew Forum.

Highlights:

  • 1 in 10 Americans is a former Catholic
  • People generally abandon their childhood faith by age 24
  • Catholics leave because they don’t believe the teachings (slightly lesser so for Protestants)
  • 40% leave because they no longer believe in God
  • Used to be only 6% of the population was “unafilliated,” unwilling to claim any religion…now its 16%

Commentary; as we already know, the main church institutions of our country continue to empty out, and the Catholics are the hardest hit. The biggest growing “religion” in America is “I’m not religious,” and people abandon faith in their young adult years (e.g., during college).

Second; check out the Barna group’s article ”Americans are exploring new ways of experiencing God” (June 8, 09).

Highlights: 

  • Americans are still “spritiual” in the sense that they have some kind of “religous faith” in “God”
  • 64% are open to leaving the typical church to do something else
  • Half agree that everyone is tired of the typical (institutional) church
  • 71% say they develop their religious beliefs themselves, instead of getting them from a church
  • Attendance at “home church” or “house church” has grown 700% in the last decade

Commentary; All this to say, yet again, that the institutions are emptying out, with all the former churchies rushing off to do something else. Barna appears to be arguing for “simple church.”

Thoughs for NeoXenos: We were the irreligious anti-institution alterna-assembly when it wasn’t even cool! Now what we do is the “new hotness!” Why aren’t we scooping up the youth scrambling away from their denominations? One reason is that we’ve always reached the non-churched nearly non-religious peeps. “Conversion growth” not “transfer,” right? But given this growing meta-trend in American Christianity, should we/can we net some ex-churchies? If we decide to draw in those who get up out of their pew, put down the hymnal, and walk away from church, how do we accomplish this?

I got to digest “reaching the campus tribes” more….I’ll blog about this soon.

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