One of the most important developments in our culture is the dramatic rise in the percentage of people who claim no religion at all. A 2012 Pew Forum study titled “Nones on the Rise” indicates that one in five Americans (19.3%) claim no religious identity at all (up from 15% in 2008 and 8% in 1990).
One in five Americans claim no religious identity at all (19.3%)
Catch that? One in five Americans claim no religious identity at all (19.3%) and that percentage has doubled in just over 20 years.
In The Rise of the Nones James Emery White refers to the 2012 Pew Forum study titled “Nones on the Rise” and notes that
“Only 28 percent say that belonging to a community of people with shared values and beliefs is important to them. Yet they do believe that churches and other religious institutions benefit society by strengthening community and aiding the poor. Three quarters say religious organizations bring people together and help strengthen community bonds (78%), and a similar number say religious organizations play an important role in helping the poor and needy (77%). In other words, we may have lost the opportunity to talk to them and do life with them, but we haven’t lost the opportunity to good to them, before them, and with them–good that will open their ears and hearts to the message of the gospel.” (p. 100, The Rise of the Nones)
How will they be reached? How will they be connected? White believes we have entered a new era when the easiest way to reach the fastest growing demographic in our culture is with a cause they will embrace (i.e., water, orphan care, human trafficking, etc.).
Can you see how a small group might embrace a cause as a way to reach unchurched people?
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