There was a very enlightening article in USA Today (May 13, 2015) about the number of Christians diminishing in America. We call ourselves a Christian nation, but the number of people who identify themselves as Christians is on the decline. The Pew Research Center found that while 70% of Americans still identify themselves as Christians, it marks an 8 point decline in the last decade.
Much to Christianity’s disappointment, the number of individuals that identify themselves as atheists or agnostics has doubled in that period. What appears to be on the rise all across the country is a steep rise in “indifference.” The Pew Research found that only Black Congregations have escaped this steep decline. Even Southern Baptists (known for rapid growth) marked a significant decline in membership and attendance.
The greatest shift for the Church has been the generation known as the “Nones.” The Nones are those who are under the age of 35. This generation doesn’t appear to be interested in any faith. It is not that they are just not interested, they don’t want to be associated with the Church. If Pew Research is correct, there are more than four former Christians for every convert to Christianity. In other words, more are leaving the faith than are coming into the faith.
The “Nones” are to be a powerful force in American politics and faith. Their influence spans all racial and ethnic groups and will be a major influence in the market place. They will be the first group in American history where it is more comfortable to not be identified with a Church. All of these things makes it more challenging for the Church to reach this generation, but it also makes it more imperative.