The religious landscape of the United States has continued to change throughout the years. Christianity has always been the most populous religion in the United States, with a total of 81.6% in 2001 and at 65% in 2019, according to Wikipedia. What I want to talk about is how we should be concerned about how the trend of Christianity is turning out in America (all information will be coming from Pew Research Center, which is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world).
We are living in a country that is starting to see Christianity fade away from everyday life. I remember growing up and hearing that there were schools taking out or changing the National Anthem because it had “God” in it. In 2018 and 2019, Pew conducted a telephone survey. They found that 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians, which is down 12% over the past decade.
Meanwhile, the population that identifies themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” is now at 26%, up from 17% in 2009. Of course, the decrease of the number of people that identify as Christians would mean that the attendance of U.S. churches is declining as well.
At this moment, 54% of adults stated they go to church a few times in a year or less and 45% of adults go monthly or more. This is just adults, how does this have anything to do with college students? Let us take a look at it then.
Pew collected percentage changes from 2009 to 2018/2019 in the share of who identifies as what based on sex, age, race, education, location in the US and what political views you believe in. Just a few highlights based on the information they found: for men, 12% have left the Christian faith, while 10% now identify as unaffiliated. For women, 11% have left while 10% identify as unaffiliated. 16% of millennials have left while 13% say they are unaffiliated. For Gen Z, 1/3 have no religion. These are shocking statistics and this is just happening under our noses.
What are we to do as a church? How are we able to stop this decline of believers? I believe that we need to stop focusing on third world countries and focus more on our own.
If we are to make disciples and teach people the word of the Lord, we need to do it right in our backyards instead of packing our suitcases and hopping on a plane to a different country. If we are going on these mission trips out of the state, are we really doing it to help others in that country or are we doing it so that we can say we went there and we can cross off the bucket list?
We need to focus on missions in the states where there are people starving and are struggling to make it each day. There are people that are sleeping each day on the streets hoping that it wouldn’t snow or rain that night. People leave the church because they feel like they are not welcome in a place that is supposed to be welcoming to all that enter.
As a church, we need to look inward and see how Christianity is dying in the United States instead of reforming some tribes in third world countries.