Here’s something to think about. One doesn’t have to good look closely at Western Christianity to tell it is in dire jeopardy. With over 85% of our churches simultaneously declining and aging within 25 years the number Christians in the West will drop by 50%. However, that’s not the real picture. Go many parts of the world and Christianity is exploding with new converts- Korea, China, Fiji, south Africa, India, Nigeria, Indonesia, Philippines, Latin America. Just consider Latin America. In 1900, there were only 50,000 Protestants in Latin America. In the 1980s, they had grown to 50,000,000, and by the year 2000, they reached 137,000,000. The same thing is happening of other parts of the world. God is fulfilling the Great Commission throughout the world – just not here. Ever wonder why? Let me list the reasons I see:
- Western Christians do not live and breathe salvation. We are content to sit and soak and leave the salvation of our networks to the church staff and even then most church staffs are in to maintain not transformation. Just ask your congregation “When was the last time you had a conversation with a lost person about Jesus?” and see the reaction.
- Western Christians have become too sophisticated to truly believe in miracles and if you don’t believe in miracles you can’t believe in Jesus because he IS a miracle. We are too smart to truly believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and that he now sits at the right hand of God. So if that isn’t believable nothing else is in the story from that day forward.
- Western Christians have become too affluent to risk all for Jesus. When you are poor it is easy to be sold out for Jesus. But when you have 90% of the world’s riches its hard.
- Western Christians are saddled with pastors who focus more on their next promotion than on how to reach the least, last, and lost. I know. I’ve gone to meddling now, but you know its true with many of us. Pastor, which do you think about the most – an increase in salary or new converts?
- Western Christianity has misunderstand what is meant by the word “church.” Most of us think “building” when we say the word “church.” Or we think of an institution to which we belong. We talk about “going the church” when in reality we ARE the church everywhere we go. And because we confuse church with buildings and institutions we fail to see the importance of how we live our lives after we leave the building. We don’t see a disconnect in how we live and what we say we believe.
I know there are may other reasons why Western Christianity is dying while Christianity is exploding over much of the world. But these are the ones that stand out the most for me as I look into the mirror and see too much of them in my life. How about you?