The “changing role of Christianity”?
By Michael Galloway
Barna Research recently studied the top religious trends of 2011. One of the top trends according to them was the “changing role of Christianity”. Barna said, “This year, Barna Group delved into many subjects of faith and culture, including the changing role of faith and Christianity. One of those shifts is the relative unknown nature of Christian leaders. Only Billy Graham, the Pope, Barack Obama and Joel Osteen were mentioned by more than 1 out of 50 adults as the most significant Christian leaders. What’s more, 41% of Americans are unable to identify any individual who they consider to be an influential Christian.”
As I read this study by Barna in some ways I was stunned. First I was stunned that only Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, the Pope, and Barack Obama were mentioned by more than 1 out of 50 adults as the most significant Christian leaders. Secondly I was surprised that 41% of Americans are unable to identify ANY individual whom they consider to be an influential Christian. Based on this study I believe there are several things that we must do.
1) It would be prudent for us to realize that there is no reason to look for Christianity to change. Jesus is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22). Jesus hasn’t given us a new guidebook, or way to look at Christianity. In fact, the Bible that was written 2000 years ago still relates to us today, and gives us all direction that we need.
2) We must promote Jesus to our society. The greatest and most significant leader the world will ever have is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only leader who is the son of God. He is the only leader who came and died for us. Joel Osteen, Billy Graham, the Pope, and Barack Obama never came and died for us, and made eternal life possible.
3) We must influence the world around us by using the teachings and actions of Jesus. When 41% of the world fails to name a single person whom they consider to be an influential Christian, the Church overall is not doing its job of being that light to the world (Matthew 5:14-16). We must stop being afraid of what the world might think, and start being instead afraid of what Jesus might think if we fail to influence the world. Our world is not opposed to the influence of the church, they are just not being influenced. Barna said that 19/20 adults believes the church is a positive influence, and 75% of Americans believe that churches are a positive factor in their communities. Let your light shine, don’t let Satan poof it out.
In 2012 let’s influence the world through the teachings of Jesus.