According to George Barna’s new book, Futurecast, although with a wry hint of exaggeration, America is headed for “310 million people with 310 million religions!” He goes on to write, “We are a designer society. We want everything customized to our personal needs- our clothing, our food, our education.” Now, it’s obviously our religion. Without question there has been a paradigm shift to personalized religious experience; for the most part because people can no longer be duped by false advertising.
Interestingly, most Americans still say they believe in God and believe that the Bible is a good book. However, they now, more than ever, want to also believe whatever they want. Barna blames pastors for these contradictions, basically because they keep telling people to repeat a sinner’s prayer and then to keep coming back to church. But it just doesn’t work anymore- people are bored with, and burned out on church! Frankly, I couldn’t agree more- easy to say since the data obviously supports it. But what I mean is this, when pastors (and I have been one for 22 years) and churches quit trying to be relevant and cool and start being real and credible we just might be taken seriously again.
We’ve used the wrong metrics to measure our perceived success. We’ve believed (and many church leaders still do) that just because people showed up at church it meant they were committed to the church. That is exactly what has created the current explosion of the unchurched in America today- now almost 40% of the population. We’ve promoted a commitment to the church and not to Christ. There’s a significant difference between the two! No where does Jesus tell us to make church members. He does, however, command us to make disciples. Church members tend to be consumeristic, always shopping for the next best spiritual experience, and seem to make church more about preference than purpose. On the other hand, a devoted follower of Jesus Christ is consumed with nothing more than expressing who Jesus really is- they take the deny self, take up their cross, and follow Jesus path.
Regrettably, things don’t look too good for the state of the church in America. However, things have never looked better for a paradigm shift to proving that Jesus is more than relevant, He’s real!(c) 2011, Terry Broadwater. To enjoy a free subscription to this blog, log-on to www.terrybroadwater.com, where you can post comments of this blog, view past blogs in the archive, and check out more resources. Use of the above information in this blog for purposes beyond personal application is by permission only. Also, other supportive resources may be available. Please subscribe to the blog and indicate your intentions via the comments section. Thank you! Follow Terry Broadwater on Twitter: @terrybroadwater