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Trends Shaping the Church in America

Church trends

44% of Americans
are now Post-Christian

American Christians

'To measure a person's level of irreligion, Barna tracks 15 metrics related to faith that can be used to measure an individual's level of Christian identity, belief and practice. They include whether individuals identify as atheist, have never made a commitment to Jesus, have not attended church in the last year, or have not read the bible in the last two weeks.

'Compared to simply tracking the "Christian" box in a census, such questions get beyond how people loosely identify themselves (affiliation) and get to the core of what people actually believe and how they believe as a result of their belief (practice).

'To qualify as "post Christian" individuals had to meet 60 percent or more of the factors (nine or more out of 15 criteria).

'Based on Barna's aggregate metric, more than four in ten (44%) of the nation's adult population qualifies as post-Christian.'

BarnaTrends 2017, page 184

'In a non-Christian society, people may have never heard anything about Christianity; they, therefore, have few (if any) preconceived notions about it.

'In a post-Christian society,people have been exposed to Christianity for generations but are opting for a different worldview, a different narrative through which to make sense of the world.

'In post-Christian society, people know the stories; they just don't believe them anymore.

'As it turns out, more and more Americans who identify as Christians qualify as post-Christians based on their actual behavior. According to the Barna Group, 44% of Americans qualify as post-Christian. That's nearly half of us!

'Bottom line: Many – perhaps most – of the nones in American have had some connection to Christianity in their pasts, but they've rejected it. This group has been there, done that.

'This presents a unique challenge for us in terms of apologetics and evangelism. It requires a new approach.

'For post-Christians, the go-tos for forming their worldviews are common sense, science, philosophy, and reason. Post-Christian nones have a low tolerance for faith-based answers to fact-based questions.

'With each passing year, the percentage of Americans who believe that the Bible is "just another book written by men" increases. So does the perception that the Bible is actually harmful and that people who live its principles are religious extremists.

'Changing times call for changing methods in order to accomplish our unchanging mission of making disciples.'

– Andy Stanley, Going Deep and Wide, Session 1

In videos on another page in this site, a pastor tells how he explains the gospel to post-Chrstians.

Here are reasons for his approach:

'Trying to appeal to post-Christian people on the basis of the authority of Scripture will have essentially the same effect as a Muslim imam appealing to you on the basis of the Quran's authority.

'Whether you know what the Quran says doesn't matter; it carries no weight with you.

'That's exactly how close to half of our population views the Bible.'

Post-Christians are a greater challenge

for the church than Non-Christians

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