Down 3 and Counting

By G. Lee Southard, PhD

In Tennis, when your opponent is at love-40, you are three points down in a game, and statistics say you will lose the game, there is a 95% chance.

There is a new, more alarming statistic. Maybe this is why people do not like statistics—the truth.

The following narrative taken from a well-respected research source document read as follows:
“….. 85% of American adults raised Christian, nearly a quarter of them no longer identify with Christianity. Former Christians now represent 19.2% of the US adult population overall. To put this into perspective, Alan Cooperman, Pew Research Director of Religious Research, says there are more than four former Christians for every convert to Christianity.”
Source: James Emery White. Meet Generation Z page 23. Baker Publishing group.

Do the math. According to White, we are going down a net 3 (love 30) in terms of new disciples every year. Game, set match.

This is more discouraging than the findings expressed in my book “The Battle We Must Not Lose.” The book shows that in America, the Religiously Unaffiliated will surpass Christians by 2039. Christians are decreasing at about 1 million per year, while the religiously unaffiliated increase at 3.3 million per year. Of these, 2.5 million/year were once raised in a religion (Christianity). They are fed by the 1.6 million/year who left the church before age 18.

These trends indicate that we need to focus on making disciples in the church. The number one reason people leave is unbelief. Therefore, we need to have more effort in addressing doubts before they become unbelief. The focus needs to be on middle and high schoolers and their parents.

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