The way of the VCR?

March 22, 2010

In a previous post, I noted some global trends. Worldwide, Christianity is growing. Fast. Faster than any other religion. But how do we apply this fact on the local level. There are areas, such as my home town of Ann Arbor, where Christianity seems to have gone the way of the VCR. Only 33% of the Ann Arbor consider themselves religious and it is safe to suppose that only a small subset of those are devout and orthodox Christians. For whatever encouragement might come to those praying for the ‘kingdom to come’ on the global scale, there is a temptation toward despair on the local level.

But there are a couple items that should be considered before one loses all hope.

1) Things often change quickly. Conversions on broad scales are not unheard of in world history (consider Acts 4:4 for starters). Even in more recent history, you see communities shift directions in dramatic ways. There is a reason that Christians pray for the kingdom to come…..because God can actually bring it.

One way that God is bringing evangelism to places that are hard to reach is through church plants. A pastor named Tim Keller went to Manhattan in 1989 and was told that he was wasting his time trying to plant a church in such difficult ground. His church has been blessed with numbers and conversions and the nature of New York is changing. If you want to advance the kingdom, pray and then join a church plant (preferably in an influential city).

2) Birthrate. There is no greater force in changing a culture than evangelizing your children and having a lot of them. Small percentages become big percentages very quick by birthrate. The key is that you need to make sure you are teaching your children to love God as you do otherwise they may end up playing for the wrong team. But bottom line is this, evangelicals have more children than secularists by big percentages.

3) Immigration. In the case of Ann Arbor (largely due to the University), there is a huge population of people that grew up in other countries that do not have such an aversion to religion. These individuals are converting at much higher rates than the general population and will make an impact on the community as they convert.

These three elements have transformed societies in short periods of time and there is no reason to believe with current trends they won’t happen again.

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