Is the number of evangelical Christians in America declining?
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life says the percentage of adults in the US who call themselves Protestants has fallen to 48 percent, while the number of Americans with no religious affiliation has increased. That change has occurred in just the last five years.
One of the reasons for the numbers may the growth in nondenominational Christians. The study does not consider them to be Protestants.
But a spike in the number of American adults who say they have no religious affiliation has also contributed to the decline. Scholars debate whether people who say they no longer belong to a religious group should be considered secular.
Pew researchers included atheists in that category, but they also included majorities of people who say they believe in God, along with a notable minority who pray daily or consider themselves "spiritual" but not "religious."
Still, Pew found overall that most Americans who don’t attend church are not actively seeking another religious home, indicating that their ties with organized religion are permanently broken.
Rather than getting discouraged about these statistics, I believe local churches and individual Christians should see this as a great opportunity.
This Pew study should encourage us to reach out to others at work, at school, or in our neighborhood. How can share the love of Christ with them in practical, meaningful ways?
I would challenge you to prayerfully consider how you can “be the light” to those around you. And if you don’t feel confident about sharing the gospel, let me recommend a great book. It’s called “Going Public With Your Faith” by William Carr Peel and Dr. Walt Larimore.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.