And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly
to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest.” Luke 10:2
Last week Pew Research released a big study entitled, “In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace.”[i] Some of the key findings from their survey (performed in 2018 and 2019) show that now only 43% of U.S. adults identify with Protestantism (down from 51% in 2009). The religiously unaffiliated (those describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”) is now 26% (up from 17% in 2009). Sadly, only about one-in-three Millennials (those born between 1981-1996) say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month and about 40% say they seldom or never go. It is certainly getting more and more challenging to reach the younger generations for Christ.
Several recent surveys highlight the decline of religious attendance. Just over the last decade, the number of Americans who say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month dropped by 7 percentage points and more Americans now say they attend religious services a few times a year or less (54%) than say they attend at least monthly. Another troubling finding is that the average church attendance by self-identified Christians is now 1.6 times per month (that average was 3.2 just over a decade ago). Do you realize the significance of that number? If the average Christian’s attendance is cut in half, our churches now have to have twice the number of members to just have the same average attendance.
While these statistics are a little disheartening, we do not loose heart. The Lord was right when He said the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Jesus said we should pray for laborers to go out into the harvest. I’m going to start praying for more laborers to go out into our community with the Gospel. Our local population is going to continue to increase but that no longer means that people will be flocking to our churches. We must go to them. We must engage our community with the gospel. We must build relationships and go out of our way to live out our faith and share the gospel at every opportunity. The Gospel still saves and the Lord still calls us to go make disciples. While, recent survey results can be discouraging, I’m still excited about the opportunities that we have all around us. Let’s pray and let’s go! (I’ll go with you!) Blessings! Bro. Harold