I have heard it asked so where is God in all of this?
It’s a question people often ask in times of disaster, buts it can also be a question on a day-to-day basis.
Naturally anybody who pastors a church will say God is here.
But even when people visit a church they don’t see or experience GOD.
New Zealand’s last census in 2018 confirmed what most churches already knew- numbers were dwindling.
Breaking down the figures from those who ticked the box from just having a belief to those who believe, and practice is far different.
While 36% of the population claim to be have a belief in a higher authority but remove from the figures those affiliated churches who have a following which were lumped into the figure and its quite a surprise the Church of the Spaghetti Eating Monster, The Jedi’s and others which made up a considerable figure.
In that 36% I have not factored in Muslim, Buddhists, and other Eastern religions.
The downturn in New Zealand is not unexpected.
A similar survey from the USA showed a similar decline but a recent survey out of the United Kingdom has seen the trend continue.
Its authors say It “answers what people think of Jesus; how non-Christians view any practicing Christian friends they might have; and the evangelism landscape in the United Kingdom today”,
Furthermore, a part of the report “also shows how practicing Christians come to faith and will help church leaders to be strategic for growth”.
The authors wanted to look at positive outcomes and look at how to reverse the trends with the first survey undertaken in 2015, enables them to look over 7 years and see trends that will help strategically with church growth.
The survey reaffirms that, post-pandemic, there has never been a better time, or more need, for us as Christians to invest in making Jesus known”,
Head of Mission at the Evangelical Alliance United Kingdom, Rachael Heffer, stressed that “the report presents good news both for the church across the UK and for us as individual Christian witnesses. It goes to reaffirm that our non-Christian friends think well of us and like us, that there is an ever-greater openness to hear our stories of faith”.
The report revealed only 6% of adults in the UK identify as practicing Christians, while 42% say they are non-practicing Christians. It also found that 4% identify as agnostics, and 12% as atheists.
It also says that 20% of the UK population believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and the majority (33%) sees him as a as a prophet or spiritual leader, but not God. Moreover, 45% of the respondents believe in his resurrection.
According to the report, while in 2015, 68% of non-Christians in the UK said they knew someone who was an active Christian, in 2022, that has fallen to 53%.
Doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you must agree that’s a significant drop and take it as a warning.
Churches need to look out and as individuals, we need to make sure that we have got some great life-giving friendships with people who don’t yet know Jesus”,
The encouraging thing about no Christians according to the survey, 33% want to know more about Jesus Christ after a conversation with a Christian.
“I wonder if the pandemic and a slightly wobblier world when people don’t know what’s happening, has actually made people more interested in faith, but it makes this an even more important moment for us to talk about our faith.
One of the key facts found in the 2015 research was that conversations with Christians are one of the most important influences in bringing people to faith.
And surprise, surprise they discovered that Christians are not always confident in putting their faith into words.
So keeping all that in mind, I was pleased to see the Churches in England prepared to do something positive about the field which is ready to be harvested, to create a course to inspire Christians to share their faith naturally and relevantly
Six percent of believers is not a great number, but hardly surprising
When you look at the decline in numbers in Christianity, its exactly as it was foretold many times in scripture especially in the last days
Jesus words recorded in Luke 8 says “Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root.
They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
For the many who may have fallen away, have they been tested? Or were their roots not planted in the word, and were they left in the full blazing sun of this world with out nurture and care from the shepherds of the church.
Were they not given solid food but just milk?
Like I said it’s encouraging to see the church in the UK doing something to encourage those who have a belief but not putting it into practice.
When I look at the decline of the church in New Zealand, I ponder what positive steps are they taking to find the spiritually lost in our communities.
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.