There was a time when denominations and religions were carefully defined and kept at a distance from others. A defense of the faith had more to do with proving that your differences were superior and correct and little to do with uniting the body of Christ across borders.
Those who do not embrace organized religion but consider themselves to be spiritual are growing in number. However, they may in fact be embracing disorganized religion. Somewhere in the mix, we need definition and containment. You cannot be haphazard about truth.
‘I am not religious, but I am spiritual’ is often a reactionary statement to the excesses and failures of church in general.
It may be that we have spent too much time studying our dysfunction instead of praying and living out the change that God calls for. It’s true that fewer Canadians attend church every week, but that is only part of the reality.
In his 2012 Project Canada Survey, Reginald Bibby made the following statements:
No less than 2 in 3 people across the country say that their religious or spiritual beliefs are important to the way they live their lives.
What’s more, 1 in 2 report that that they engage in personal religious or spiritual practices at least once a month.
Bibby concludes that it’s not just a case of Canadians opting for spirituality over organized religion. “Obviously some are. But our research has found that as many as 6 in 10 people who seldom attend services are open to greater involvement.
However, they also tell us that they need to find that groups address their central spiritual, personal, and relational needs – beginning with good ministry to their children.”[i]
Did you catch that last statistic? 60% of those who seldom attend services are open to greater involvement. They’re not attending because their needs are not being addressed, starting with good ministry to their children.
Can we do anything to strengthen the value of church gatherings and ministries? Absolutely! I think it starts with rediscovering what greatness is.