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What is Going On in American Christianity?

So what really is happening with American Christianity?  Is it declining as many in the Emerging and Missional church movements suggest?  Or is it as robust as ever?  Alan Roxburgh, a leading missional thinker, provides some research in his latest vlog.  View it here and read below for an overview.

In this vlog, Roxburgh provides an overview of Rodney Stark’s What Americans Really Believe.  This overview consists of seven points that run contrary to what many of us have been led to believe:

  1. Denominationalism is alive and well.
  2. People raised in religious homes remain religious.
  3. Church attendance is not declining in America but growing.
  4. People 18-29 have ALWAYS been less likely to attend church – this is not a new phenomenon.
  5. Some denominations are declining – but these people are moving to other denominations.
  6. Church attendance today is higher than ever.
  7. American religion is very diverse.

Roxburgh concludes with this missional challenge: we transform culture by focusing on the center of the culture, not the margins of the culture.  Therefore, Roxburgh concludes that we must focus on our churched culture.  Interesting.

    1. Ryan Prudhomme
      December 17, 2008 at 3:26 pm

      Interesting thought Brian. Jesus came to the sinners and tax collectors. I would say the “unchurched culture”. However he spent most of his time with the apostles.

      Maybe there are just as many people in church as before, but those that aren’t in church are growing farther away from coming to church. The unchurched culture feels like it is running away kicking and screaming from the churched culture.

      Above all of this I wish there wasn’t even a “churched” culture. We should be impacting our world as part of it, not seperate from it.

    2. December 17, 2008 at 5:25 pm

      The unchurched moving further away from the church…I think you’ve hit on something there. That is a phenom that can’t be quantified very easily, but a lot of people are “feeling” it.

      Our problem (by “our” I mean me and you specifically) is that we are about as immersed in church culture as anyone can be (local church and parachurch). What do we do about that?

    3. Ryan Prudhomme
      December 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm

      Of course when we go by feelings it is hard to argue anything logically. I just saw a series of quotes on the depravity of youth. They went chronologically from 1800 through today, however with out dates you’d think they were all contemporary. People have probably always felt the unchurched culture is getting worse. Just like we always think now is the worst time generationally, or how every generation feels like Jesus is coming any time.

      Ideally I would think that being immersed in church culture should not prohibit one from have a grasp on “unchurched culture”. The first step to overcoming any obstacle is to acknowledge it.

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