Does Western Christianity Have a Discipleship Problem? Your Experiences Probably Say Yes. (#4 OF 4)


How many Nones & Dones do you know? What do you hear as a leader about friends with relatives who walked off their faith? Are you counseling people who can’t see their lives outside their own personal gratification? People who have sclerotic definitions for being “surrendered” to Christ or who have myopic views for his haunting demand to “take up their cross and follow me”? If these types of situations are familiar, you’re experiencing some of the symptoms resulting from the disciple dilemma. They aren’t the problem, per se, but they are the results.

It would be one thing to take one or two numbers in a few research studies to force a dire conclusion about discipleship. But the experiences keep coming.

  • 65 percent of the US population identify as Christian, which suggests there are around 200 million believers. Less than a quarter of those Christians—about 50 million—attend a church.
  • In Great Britain, 60 percent of the UK’s 60 million people (about 38 million) claim Christianity. (Of those 38 million Christians, 8 percent—about three and a half million—actually attend a church somewhere.)
  • 82 percent of US Christians surveyed say they have no Bible study, no faith community, no mentor.
  • 80 percent of Christians say they lack the skills or relationships to feel okay to talk about their faith.

This means that eight of every ten Christians have, at best, little or no association with a community of believers, no developmental life in Christ aside from an occasional sermon. These followers run stealthy about their life in Christ outside their churches, first because most claim not to know how to discuss their belief, or alternatively, they believe that to talk about their faith is not ethical. And in increasing numbers, a great many are walking off the Christian grid. Having been abandoned with their questions, left on their own in their spiritual life and personal challenges. It is an anemic discipleship for people.

The worldview of modernity’s disciples: the lone wolf, needin’ nothin’ from nobody.

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