Highlight: Understanding the decline of church attendance

It’s no secret that church attendance is in decline in America. Pastor Rick Rusaw reflects on the state of the Nones,

“The fastest growing category in the census are the none’s those being people who aren’t going to church, who click the box, no faith orientation at all.”

There are more people than ever not attending church, but, Rick also says that there is no longer any social benefit to claiming any religious affiliation.

“There was a time when checking that you were Christian, Jewish, or Catholic, that you had some kind of faith experience was socially beneficial to you.”

Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. In fact, today nearly half the population see being a Christian as a negative thing.

There is also a new religious category that has materialized known as the Dones.

“Thirty-two million people have left the church in the last five years, another seven and a half have their foot out the door right now.”

The Dones are those who used to go to church but have stopped recently.

“The average committed follower is now attending 1.4 times a month as opposed to 3 time a month. We’re giving less, we’re serving less, we’re attending sometimes four of more churches if we live in a metro area. People are looking for their faith to matter, to count, and in some ways they’re not necessarily looking at the church to help them with it anymore.”

What can the church do to reverse the trend?

Rick says that the only way we can turn things around is by living like Jesus. This sounds simplistic, but in reality, it’s all Jesus has ever called us to do in the first place.

“When you look at the first few centuries of Christianity, when there was a crisis or a disaster or something striking there, the Christians were the first ones going in, not going with the crowd heading out the door. Something happened, something radical changed.”

In order to make a difference, we have to stand out amongst the crowd of unbelievers in our culture. We have to be different.

Rick Rusaw is the Senior Pastor at LifeBridge Christian Church. He is co-author of several books including The Externally Focused Church, The Externally Focused Quest, The Externally Focused Life, and the Life on Loan series. Rick and his wife, Diane, have three children and five grandchildren and reside in Longmont, CO.

Featured Songs: No Turning Back – Chris Tomlin; Fix My Eyes – For King & Country; God is on the Move – 7th Time Down

The neighboring church