America is changing. Society is changing. Of course, change can be good or bad depending on what is changing and the impact that those changes are having on America’s security, her families, and her future on the world stage. I came upon some statistics the other day that shocked me. Barna is a Christian-based research group that compiles statistics on the church in America. Here’s a link to its website. The sobering statistics below relate to men.
· From 1990 to 2003, church attendance on the part of men dropped from 40percent to 28 percent.
· Since 1991, all indictators of spiritual maturity in men have declined. Those indicators include church attendance, Bible reading, participation in missions, and giving.
· Only 1 in 12 men in the church are involved in active discipleship.
· Less than 10 percent of churches offer anything to help men grow in their spiritual lives.
· Couples are divorcing at the same rates as nonbelievers.
· Most men know only enough about God to be disappointed in Him
· 90 percent of men will have their children leave church before they graduate from high school.
· 50 percent of men will have a significant problem with pornography.
· 40 percent will get divorces, affecting one million children a year.
· Only 10 percent will have a Biblical worldview (Meaning thinking like Jesus thinks.)
These statistics paint a glum picture. The church in America today is under assault by a barrage of forces from outside the church including political correctness, the secularized media, rampant materialism, Hollywood movies and music glorifying immorality, and a persuasive American nihilistic culture bent on abolishing the laws of God that have guided us for more than 200 years. There is also a concerted effort from heretics within the church walls to ignore, water down, or change the Word of God, place entertainment of the congregants above sound Biblical teaching, and to place building projects at a higher priority than helping the poor and needy.
Many in America today are simply abandoning the church. Some don’t see church attendance as having any relevance to their lives. Others are so busy with their lives that church just doesn’t make it on their schedules anymore. Many know that church attendance, Bible study, and other spiritual endeavours are good for them yet other priorities simply strangle out the time needed to get to know God better.
I believe that America needs God more than ever! When the Lord came into my heart 23 years ago, He changed everything about me. Before my conversion experience, I was depressed, after, I was joyful. Before, I had no purpose in life except to look for ways to have fun. After turning my life over to the Lord, my purpose was to please God and tell others about Him. Before becoming a Christian, I had no idea what would happen to me when I died, after coming to the Lord, I am convinced I will spend eternity with Him in heaven. Before my conversion, my life was craziness and chaos, afterward, I received a peace that transcends any human understanding.
Are some leaving the church because the church has problems? Sure. The church is full of imperfect people who make mistakes. Some cite the hypocrisy in the church while others don’t like to hear a pastor ask for donations and still others simply are uncomfortable hearing messages from the Bible that make them feel guilty. For as many reasons somebody can list for not going to church, I want to offer a short list of positive aspects of church attendance.
Six Reasons to Attend Church
1. Church attendance gives you a chance to learn more about God.
2. Church attendance can lead you to a life full of joy, peace and purpose.
3. Being involved with a group of believers can help you grow spiritually and encourage you when life turns tough.
4. Getting involved with an organization that helps people winds up helping you too.
5. You will get to know others who can commit to pray for you and support you and your family.
6. If you have children, you can be a positive influence on them by teaching them about their Creator. Ultimately, you are responsible for teaching your children right from wrong and there is no better place to do that then church.
One of the biggest problems I see today on the spiritual landscape across America is the loss of understanding of who God is and how He blesses His people. The Barna report makes it clear that the majority of men across America do not understand who God really is and why church attendance is critical to their emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Hosea 4:6 makes all of this clear.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being My priest.
Since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.”
America’s decreasing lack of knowledge of God is directly related to America’s increasing social problems and ills. If we want God’s blessings, we must get to know Him better and then obey Him in our lives. The problems are also present in Evangelical Churches too. Barna reports that…
- 40 percent of those in Evangelical churches believed that the Bible was not totally accurate.
- 37 percent believed that Jesus committed sins when He lived on the earth
- 62 percent thought the Holy Spirit is a symbol of God’s presence and not a living entity.
- 40 percent believed there are some sins that God will not forgive.
- 51 percent mistakenly believe that if a person does enough good deeds, he will earn a place in heaven.
- 57 percent believed that the Devil isn’t a living being, but rather a symbol of evil.
- When asked what goals have they set for their lives, not one stated a spiritual goal.
- Only 8 percent tithe and 16 percent give nothing.
I hope and pray that I am wrong. I hope these numbers turn around. I pray that our country will turn from the cultural relativism that’s clogging the spiritual veins of our great republic and return to the Bible. Will it happen? Only God knows. I do know this: God wants to see America turn back to Him and He will be waiting with open arms as in the story of the prodigal son. Right now though, the son seems to be drifting far away from his daddy. I hope that son sees how much better he had it at home!