Todd Hunter is an Anglican bishop in Newport, Southern California and a former national Director for the Vineyard Church. Recently he noted that 6000 North Americans leave the church every day; 1000 of them are evangelicals. Do the math. That’s over 2 million people leaving the church each year, just in the United States. And those numbers may be conservative. The back door is swinging off its hinges.
It’s very sobering.
To put it in some kind of context: If your church manages to eventually reach 250 new people, it has simply plugged a hole created every hour of every day—24/7/365—in the United States.
It’s not that all of those folk have necessarily abandoned their faith or forsaken Jesus. For the most part, they seem to have just lost confidence in the church. They have grown disillusioned with the institution, disheartened by politics, legalism, pettiness, shallowness, irrelevance, or spiritual emptiness. In some instances (perhaps just a few), they’ve simply burned out from over-involvement.
You probably know some such wayfarers.
These numbers should disturb us. While billions of people around the world remain beyond earshot of the gospel, millions of others have grown disconnected and disengaged.
I don’t have a simple solution—no silver bullet. But do we need a broad and serious conversation about the 6,000 American souls who will walk away from the Church today? Can we partially close the backdoor, or will we simply concede defeat? How has spiritual vitality ebbed to such a low point? What might it take to get the bilge-pumps running?
Most importantly, what positive difference can we make in the life of a fellow-believer today?