To Know With Certainty is a ministry targeted at young people and their parents for the purpose of training and equipping them to remain dedicated followers of Christ and to remain in their church. What they do today in this regard affects their future, the future of the church and the future of the United States of America.

However, national trends are disturbing and American Christians should be alarmed. The nation should be alarmed. A cultural and faith war has been waged in this country since it’s founding but in the last 50 years it is beginning to point to a conclusion. It is not a conclusion we will like. We are in a war and most of us do not know it and this is a war we must not lose!

Surveys by the Barna Group, Pew Research and Lifeway Research over the last 20 years have consistently informed about the fact that teen age church goers will drop out of church attendance and many of those will never return. In the book To Know With Certainty* the never returnees were calculated to be around 32% of all who have dropped out of church attendance. To make this more alarming these are evangelical Christian teens. In other words every year we are losing one third of what are supposed to be our strongest Christian teens. If this is the case a logical question should be “ Is this loss reflected in Christianity as a whole in America?” Our young people are the feedstock for the faith and Christianity. 

In the Religious Landscape Study by Pew Research in 2014 it was reported that as a percentage of the US population Christians constituted 78.4%(2007), 70.6% (2014) and are projected to fall to 62.8 % in 2021. Religiously non-affiliated were reported to be 16.1% (2007), 22.8% (2014) and are projected to rise to 29.5% in 2021. Extrapolation of this data graphically indicates a point in the future when Christians in America will be less than the religiously non-affiliated, assuming the trends remain the same. According to the extrapolation that date arrives around 17 years from now in 2035 when the small children of today will be graduating high school.

Source: 2014 US Religious Landscape Study-Pew Research

This trend appears to be the result of losing young people? Consider more data from the Pew Research Religious Landscape study. The study showed that the Christian makeup of the US population may be dependent on when one was born. Christians have decreased to 36% among those born in the 1990-96 period and who would be 22 to 28 years old today. Their grandparents, those today who are 73-90 years old constitute 85% Christian. This is a significant disparity between todays young adults and their grandparents.

The religiously un-affiliated are found at only 11% among the grandparents but are more than three times as much at 36% among their grand children. This increase in the religiously non-affiliated with no expression of Christianity and the decrease in expression of Christianity has been the trend over every generation since 1928.

Source: 2014 US Religious Landscape Study-Pew Research

The extrapolation of this generational data coincides with the data where Christianity as a percentage of the population will be a minority around 2035 confirming that we have about 17 years to turn the battle. Let us hope that the apparent leveling effect between 1981-96 will be maintained or lessened.

The concern here is that as people get older they can no longer be counted on to anchor the faith as they have in the past because the number of them as Christians are decreasing over time.The reasons for this decline in Christianity are actually known to us through surveys like those cited earlier. The reasons point to parents, grandparents, educators and the young people. All can share in the blame. What can be done to reverse this decline will require a change in how we have trained and equipped because what we have been doing while being effective in isolated areas is not winning the war. This will be the subject of future blogs.

This trend constitutes a significant problem for the church and for the United States of America whose very existence is dependent on the Church and Christian values and morals being an essential part of our cultural fabric. These values played an important part in making us a great nation. The dilution of these morals and values will decrease as the cultural influence of Christianity decreases.This trend is a major National Security Issue for America because as we have seen in other times and other places you cannot easily get it back.

*G. Lee Southard, To Know With Certainty, xx, West Bow Press, Bloomington Indiana, (2017). Visit www.toknowwithcertainty.com.

** Projected by Pew Research for 2021

*** Projected by To Know With Certainty for 2035