In today’s edition of the Gainesville Sun, the Associated Press reported on the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey suggesting that between 47 and 59 percent of U.S. adults have changed affiliation of their religion at least once. Michael Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist says, “This shows a sort of religion a la carte and how pervasive it is . . . in some ways, it’s an indictment of organized Christianity.”
Two comments in the article grabbed my attention. First, the article pointed out that the ranks of those unaffiliated with any religion are growing not so much because of a lack of religious belief but because of disenchantment with religious leaders and institutions. In my opinion this is a wake up call to the local churches and leaders of those churches. This comment seems to say that the rank and file would participate in worship in the church but somehow they have been burned or dissappointed in some way by the church or it’s leaders. Our conduct in the church really does make a difference in how the unchurched world interprets the truth of the gospel.
Secondly, the article pointed out that many “Americans who belong to their childhood faith are “reverts”–people who left the faith, only to return later.” This is encouraging for those who are passionate about working with children and youth. Often times we wonder if what we teach these young people is really sinking in. The Pew research seems to indicate that what we plant in the young will eventually take root and draw them back to the Lord Jesus.
Concluding thoughts: Live a contagious, authentic Christian life that demonstrates the reality of the transforming power of Jesus. In addition, put an emphasis on reaching and training young people with the message of the gospel. Your work there will not return void–or should I say many of those young who grow up will return.