Recently, the Pew Research Center did some polling to get a handle on this. Basically what we see is that Americans have not become less religious, but have become more separated from religious institutions. In the past, when doing polling, most Americans identified themselves culturally as either Protestants, Catholics or Jews. Now the fastest growing group check the box which reads “none of the above.” This group now constitutes nearly 20 % of the population.
So, what is at work? Not the decline of religion, per se. Rather, it is the decline of institutional religion.
For Christians, this is somewhat bittersweet. It is bitter because we see a decrease in those who want to be affiliated with a church and an increase in the number of those who openly pursue immoral lifestyles as defined by Christian morality. It is sweet because it becomes easier to identify those we need to reach with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But in the sweetness there is a catch. Simply identifying those who truly need Christ is not enough. We actually have to reach them. And to do that, we have to be personally authentic AND we have to equip ourselves to speak their language.
People who operate off of non-Christian worldview foundations literally perceive reality differently than we do. This means, when they hear our explanation of Christianity, they may be hearing something entirely different than what we are trying to say.
As Christians, the only way we are going to be able to penetrate this divide is to train ourselves regarding worldview. We have to learn to share the unchanging gospel message in terms that make sense to those we want to reach. Until we can begin to do that on a massive scale, we will not see the Christian faith make any kind of significant inroads in our increasingly anti-Christian culture.