Pray about the 80%

When I was a youth pastor some 13 years ago, the statistics told us that 85% of all believers in Christ became Christians before the age of 21, and more than 70% before the age of 18.  That gave us youth pastors a real visionary call to get the message out to as many unbelieving students as possible.  It was such an encouragement for the job that we were doing.

Through the years, I have heard (without reading the actual studies myself) that those numbers remained basically the same.  I never looked up those studies because in my frame of reference the reports seemed fully plausible.

Last week I read a report from the Barna Group (a Christian agency for sociological studies related to Christianity and the effectiveness of the Christian church).  New studies show that as many as 80% of those who identified themselves as Christians before the age of 18 has left their Christian faith between the ages of 18 and 34.

What a flip for us!  What a challenge.  While one study gave me a positive environment for vision in what I do, this new study gives me a dreadful feeling about the vision I have.  But I am not persuaded to abandon the vision.  In fact it is a good reminder of the things that keep all of us on course in our service to Christ.

God is the vision giver.  It is not my vision!
God is the vision fulfiller.  Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord! (Zech. 4:6 - referring to the  bringing about of God's vision in Zechariah's time.)

While the culture around us changes, the power of the gospel does not.  It is the power leading to salvation! (Romans 1:16)

Let's pray that God will expand His kingdom through each of us and that the powerful forces of culture and society will not stifle the influence of Spirit-filled and Spirit-led believers.  Let's pray that a new 80% statistic will SOON surface.  That it will be 80% of Americans who are practicing, Biblical Christ-followers.


Diana April 26, 2010 at 7:14 PM  

I've heard that statistic before. I believe (and I could be remembering this next one completely wrong) that of those who leave the church, only around 30% come back by their mid-thirties. Praise God that He is the one in control, and we do not need to be discouraged by statistics like these, we just need to trust God and further His kingdom.

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