Research shows that people leave the church in droves. According to a Pew Research Centre report,
- ‘The Christian share of the US population is declining, while the number of US adults who do not identify with any organised religion is growing….
- While the drop in Christian affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults, it is occurring among Americans of all ages….
- Fully 36% of young Millennials (those between the ages of 18 and 24) are religiously unaffiliated, as are 34% of older Millennials (ages 25-33).
- And fewer than six-in-ten Millennials identify with any branch of Christianity, compared with seven-in-ten or more among older generations, including Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers.
- Just 16% of Millennials are Catholic, and only 11% identify with mainline Protestantism.’
Why is this? There could be various reasons, but we want to suggest that many congregations produce Christians whose ‘faith is a mile wide and an inch deep.’ It is only Bible knowledge and insight that supplies:
1. Perseverance. Hebrews 12:1 says, ‘Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’ This verse follows a long list of men and women of faith in the Old Testament. They witness (prove) that our Lord God Almighty was real and present in their lives. He interacted with those Old Testament people and taught them about His plan for man, so they could persevere in their faith.
2. Endurance, encouragement and hope. The Holy Spirit teaches us in Romans 15:4, ‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.‘ When people are on a very light diet of Scripture they lack endurance. Compare it to a poor diet of food in everyday life. A bad diet decreases one’s endurance and makes one prematurely tired, discouraged and hopeless. The same thing happens when Christians do not get enough spiritual food (only one or two ‘meals’ a week).
We suggest that without sufficient Bible study (nutritious food) people’s spirits are famished and they lose interest in God and hope for eternal life.
The recipe for enduring Christian faith is to be:
- Saved by Jesus who is the Way.
- Filled by the Holy Spirit who teaches the Way.
- Grounded in Scripture which shows the Way.
1. Ken Ham, Yes, We Are Losing the Millennials, May 13, 2015, Answersingenesis.