Do you know any “nones”? When the Barna group surveyed this country’s religious landscape, 19.3% of the population indicated their religious affiliation as “none.” Only 3% of the 19.3% represents atheists, so what do the remaining 16% believe? Imagine that you love coffee, you desire to have coffee, but every time you see a Starbucks, you drive by thinking “that’s the last place I’m going to stop.” In other words, about one out of 6 people say they are spiritual, desire a relationship with God, but want nothing to do with the church. They view the church as an institution, and with a negative view. Why is that?
Hypocrisy, money scandals, immorality, and political deception have all been associated with “churches”. Churches with the inability to minister to college students perpetuate the generations of students who have become spiritual nomads. This is coupled with the churches inability to adjust and minister to a younger population of single adults without children. The technological age has further advanced a breakdown between generations. The Y generation (younger than 30 yrs.) and veterans (greater than 70) have a tremendous gulf between them. All generations live with haunting stories of someone they know who was exiled from the church leaving a hole of hurt in the lives of many.
Summing all of the above up into this phrase; “a breakdown in relationships.” Relationships are everything. On that final day when the Lord calls us up into the air, it’s who you know, not what you know. If you know the Lord and the Lord knows you, you’re in! Relationships are what provide us job opportunities. On the other hand, relationships may also cause us pain. Our culture is made up of mostly shallow and disconnected relationships, fueling this disconnected group of “nones” as they continue to grow faster than any religious affiliation. One fact remains the same. Over 82% of all “nones” who come to church come because a friend or someone they care about invited them.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every payer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now (Philippians 1:3-5).
Let’s build partnerships (relationships) this year. Let’s build ours with God, our family, our church family and the “nones” who desire to have a trusting relationship. The battle for great relationships starts with you, one on one with someone else. Show the world what you are made of, after all; Jesus did.
~ Chad Garrett