Statistics are a funny thing. Some people say you can’t believe them. Others say they are solid data and stats are a very reliable way of figuring out what is going on. As with most things, I fall somewhere in the middle with those statements. I can see both sides of the coin on this and I think somewhere in the middle, the truth lies. With that being said, everything I am about to tell you stats wise come from:
So please know I am not just spouting off without looking at some numbers here. Here we go…
A whopping 72% of Americans believe that just being a good person will get you into Heaven. Queue sad notes from the horn section. That is a little disappointing. This leads me to ask the question, “Well how many people who identify as Christian hold the same belief?” Well…than answer is elusive at the moment for me. I would guess (this is only a guess) the number to be somewhere close to that 72% mark. There is some comforting news though.
75% of Americans identify as Christians. Yay! Right?!? Well, no. Because one of the benchmarks to actually BEING Christian is believing the only way to Heaven is through a relationship with Jesus Christ and it is only HIS payment on the cross which gets you across the finish line past the Pearly Gates. And there is the tricky little stat which says only 35% of Americans attend a church service. Ever. Yes, I said “ever” and not weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly, etc. Ever.
So what seems to be the benchmark for Americans calling themselves Christians? Apparently…praying. The same number of Americans who identify as Christians (75%) also say they pray to God. Very interesting. This is not exactly an accurate benchmark of being a Christian, but if you look at this from a business and sales perspective, you have 75% of the people you are targeting already showing an interest in your product. That’s impressive by any standard. 75% of the population loaded into the top of your funnel? I’ll take those numbers.
Lastly, only 7% of the American population believe a Christian has the responsibility to share their faith with others. WHAT?!? That’s right folks. Only about 5% of Americans who identify as Christian (75% identify as Christians and 7% believe in telling other so 7% of 75% is 5% if my math is right) actually believe what Christian call “THE GREAT COMMISSION.” So here is my argument: Only 5% of Americans are ACTUALLY obedient Christians.
I believe that statement because of a line of logic. Follow me here (I am going to get into the weeds a little bit); a close-handed belief every Christian has, regardless of denomination, is the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Also, if the Bible is the inerrant word of God, it MUST be obeyed. In Matthew 28:19-20a, we receive The Great Commission which is “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Further, Romans 10:14-15 says “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
The part where we are sent is fulfilled in Matthew 28 where it says “Go”. It is pretty clear to me. It doesn’t even end there. That 5% number is just the number of Americans who THINK Christians has a responsibility to tell others. That isn’t the number of American who actually DO tell others. That number is likely (again I am just guessing here) much smaller than 5%.
So what’s the point? If only 5% of Americans think it is a good idea for Christians to share their beliefs with others we are in big trouble folks. Even if Americans don’t share their faith it should be crystal clear that EVERY Christian has the mandate to share their faith. There are a multitude of reasons why they don’t and I cannot cover them in one article. It will be something I flesh out as the year progresses so stay tuned.