Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Erosion of Loyalty

When I was young our family shopped at Lazarus, drove a Buick and bought gasoline at Sohio (BP). Today I shop at Target, drive a Toyota and get gas wherever. Also, when I was young we belonged to a denominational church. My mom still belongs to the same church today, but I’m part of a non-denominational church.

I guess I fit the profile of a recent Pew Survey that found that 44% of American’s have switched religious affliations. The report titled “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey,” depicts a highly fluid and diverse national religious life. For at least a generation, scholars have noted that more Americans are moving among faiths, as denominational loyalty erodes. (Shifting Religions by Neela Banerjee, New York Times, February 25, 2008)

The report also noted groups that have gained the most people, in net terms, are non-denominational Protestant churches, which are largely evangelical and, in many cases, megachurches; Pentecostals; and the Holiness Church, also an evangelical denomination.

Prof. Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, said “The trend is towards more personal religion, and evangelicals offer that. Those losing out are offering impersonal religion,” he said, “and those winning are offering a smaller scale: mega-churches succeed not because they are mega but because they have smaller ministries inside.”

The point for me is that the church is to be so much more than a building, an organization and one hour on Sunday. It is you and I (1 Corinthians 12:27). We are his temple, all of us from the smallest to the biggest (1 Corinthians 3:16;6:19) Our hope of glory is not in the building we use but in the Master who is building His life in us.

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