Barna Group Releases State of the Church Report

United Presbyterian Church of Shedd, Oregon. (image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Barna Group has released research for their State of the Church report, finding decreased church attendance among American adults since 1993.

In the third century, Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, said, “No one can have God for his Father, who does not have the Church for his mother.” His words are applicable today as Barna Group reports church attendance is dropping in the United States while Bible reading and prayer hold mostly steady.

Greg Yoder of Keys for Kids Ministries pinpoints a problem in Christian families in America: a lack of Christ-centered training for kids by parents in the home. Christians schools, he says, are no substitute.

Declining church attendance

Barna Group states one-third fewer Americans are attending church than in 1993, with many finding churches irrelevant. Yoder says, “My challenge to parents is not just to teach kids it’s a priority to go to church. Because I think most kids know that it’s a priority to go to church. But teaching our kids to see the church not just as a place of worship, but a place of love. A place to express love to other Christians.”

And that is what draws people to Christian churches. Not tradition, or structure, or even “love” in a general sense, but the love of Christ as reflected by His people.

Yoder talks about one church in the New Testament that had this kind of love. “You know, Paul talked about this in Second Thessalonians and he talked about it as brotherly love. Now, the Thessalonian church was great. It’s showing brotherly love. Paul, in fact, encouraged them to keep doing what they were doing, because they were really good at it. I mean, these new Christians were amazing, showing love overflowing.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray that the Holy Spirit would flood American churches with the love of Christ.
  • Dig into your local church, and love your brothers and sisters as Christ loves them.