What is the state of the Church today?
Before you assume that this is a doom and gloom article about how the Church is dying, let me be clear, it is not.
In fact, in many ways, the Church is doing well.
For example, I’ve heard some leaders indicate that church attendance in North America has sharply declined of late. That is simply not the case.
According to Ed Stetzer, former head of Lifeway Research, “In 1940, 37% of Americans said, “yes,” when asked by Gallup if they had been to church within the last week. In 2015, almost the same number—36%—said they’d been to church.
While it would be nice to see an increase in attendance numbers, the slight decline is hardly a collapse.
However, seven statistics should have us all very concerned.
No. 1 The majority of Protestant churches in America had less than ten people commit to Jesus Christ as Saviour in the past 12 months.
This stat means that the majority of churches have fewer than one salvation per month.
The numbers in Canada are far more alarming. The average in Canada is closer to one salvation per church per year. That’s not good. That’s not good at all.
No. 2 51% of churchgoers are unfamiliar with the term “The Great Commission.”
Barna Research went on to say, “When asked if they had previously “heard of the Great Commission,” half of U.S. churchgoers (51%) say they do not know this term. It would be reassuring to assume that the other half who know the term are also actually familiar with the passage known by this name, but that proportion is low (17%).”
The Great Commission refers to Matthew 28:18-20 where Jesus instructs his disciples to “Go into all of the world and preach the Gospel…” It is the mission given to the Church by our leader. If we do not know our mission, we won’t know our purpose. If we don’t know our purpose, we will abuse it.
No. 3 29% of Christians today believe that evangelism is the local church’s responsibility.
Barna Research discovered in the same study that 64% of Christians today believe evangelizing is optional.
These stats may have a direct correlation to the Christians being unfamiliar with the Great Commission. Jesus’ statement to his disciples was not the Great Suggestion; it was the Great Commission. And He made that statement to the founders of the early Church. It is why the Church exists.
No. 4 95% of all Christians have never won a soul to Christ.
The bible.org article continued this thought by saying, “Eighty percent of all Christians do not consistently witness for Christ. Less than two percent are involved in the ministry of evangelism. Seventy-one percent do not give toward the financing of the Great Commission.”
No. 5 47% of practicing Christian Millennials say evangelism is at least somewhat wrong.
The Barna research continued, “This is compared to a little over one-quarter of Gen X (27%), and one in five Boomers (19%) and Elders (20%). (Though Gen Z teens were not included in this study, their thoroughly post-Christian posture will likely amplify this stance toward evangelism.)”
No. 6 6-7.5% of churches in America are effective evangelistic churches.
Thom Rainer says the average conversion ratio of the churches they surveyed in this research was 19:1, which means they are reaching one person a year with the gospel for every 19 persons in attendance. He defined an effective evangelistic church as one whose conversion rate is at least 50% better than the average. So, there are only 6-7.5% of churches in America averaging a conversion ratio of at least 10:1.
To put that in perspective, the vast majority of the churches we interviewed for GoCast are averaging closer to 2:1 or better.
No. 7 94% of all churches are losing ground against the growth of the communities they serve.
Rich Birch said, “There are churches that are growing, but they’re not growing as quickly as the communities they serve…We need your church to grow faster than the community you serve. If it isn’t growing faster than that, the message of Christ is losing ground in our culture. The stakes are very high.”
Imagine if each local church became a soul-winning machine. We could change the world!
That’s the idea behind GoCast.
Our mission is to inspire and equip pastors and leaders to lead soul-winning churches.
We will seek to accomplish this mission by interviewing pastors and leaders of churches who are smashing the statistics.
They are pastors of large churches, small churches, new churches, and established churches. They are churches from small towns, large cities and everything in between.
The one common factor they have is that they are all winning souls, and because of that, their churches are growing.
Hit subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode. Join the conversation and together, let’s change the stats!
Season One Ep.007 // Rich Birch on 8 Practical Ways to Inspire Your Church to Invite and the Church Growth Flywheel
Rich Birch8 Practical Ways to Inspire Your Church to Invite and the Church Growth FlywheelIn this episode, Pastor Kelly interviews Rich Birch, a leading expert in multisite. He has been instrumental in the growth of The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading...
I grew up in conservative evangelical churches. While I am very thankful for my heritage, I always felt like something was missing.I desired more. I wanted to experience the power of God I read about in the Gospels and throughout the book of Acts. Late in my teens, I...
In Charles Duhigg's book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, he introduces us to the idea of keystone habits.What are keystone habits?In his book, Duhigg defines a keystone habit as one that will have a ripple effect on your outcomes. You...