On the first Tuesday of every month we bring in Staff members from our NOLA congregations for a time of encouragement and equipping, and last week we identified some of the top truths that Christians and Churches must believe. I started off the meeting by quoting Sociology Professor Phil Zuckerman, who has recently said that “Religious belief, behavior and belonging are lower than they have ever been in American history” 3 big numbers that tell the story of secularization in America.). Zuckerman stated that:
A 2022 Gallup survey reported that the percentage of people who believe in God has dropped from 98 percent in the 1950s to 81 percent today (for Americans under 30 the percentage is 68%).
Only about 50% of Americans believe in “God as described in the Bible” (only 33% of Generation Zers)
A 2021 Gallup poll found that, for the first time ever, fewer than 50% (47%) of Americans were members of a church, synagogue, or mosque.
1 in 5 adults in the U.S. say they have no religious affiliation, up from 1 in 50 in 1960.
Those statistics are not good news for Churches and for Christianity. Sociologists and Christian leaders know that beliefs determine people’s behavior. Josh McDowell and Bob Hostettler said in their book, Beyond Belief To Convictions, that when young people lack a basic Biblical or Christian belief system they are: 225% more likely to be angry with life, 216% more likely to be resentful, 210% more likely to lack purpose in life, 200% more likely to be disappointed in life, 200% more likely to steal, 200% more likely to hurt someone, 300% more likely to use drugs, and 600% more likely to attempt suicide.” So we have to help people improve their “belief systems” – especially in regards to God and God’s principles – if we’re to see people’s behaviors change, and if we are to see them want to belong to a Christian Church. But we can see that happen as we lead people to experience the presence and power of the Lord in their lives, and we lead them to believe what the Word says rather than what the World says.
In last week’s meeting, I identified 7 primary beliefs that people need to have in order to really embrace Christianity and the Christ of Christianity – and I said that the first belief we must have is that God Is All Powerful And He Really Cares About Us. Unlike other parts of our country and many regions throughout our world, most people in our region have no trouble believing that there is indeed a God; but they don’t necessarily believe that He’s particularly relevant to their lives today. The Bible clearly teaches us about God’s existence.
But the real question for many people is, “Does God really care about us?” And the Scriptures declare that He does.
Oftentimes at funerals people will say to me, “Thank goodness that I have the comfort of my Heavenly Father” And the Bible tells us that God is the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), that He is our “refuge and strengthen and very present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1), and that He walks with us through the darkest valleys in our lives (Psalm 23:4). We also find the Lord saying these words to His people:.
God says that His love toward His people is an everlasting love, and that He never stops loving us. But even if God loves us, many people wonder, “Does God have the power and ability to help us?” And the Bible tells us that He does have the power and ability to help people.
So we can enthusiastically tell people, based on God’s Word and our experiences, that our God exists and cares about people; and we can tell them He has the power to change their lives, circumstances and relationships. And those who believe us when we share this truth with them through our counseling, teaching and witnessing will begin to experience transformation in their lives, attitudes, ambitions, actions and relationships. I will be sharing more about the “Crucial Convictions of Christianity” in upcoming CONNECTING POINT Blogs.