Originally published in the Explorer (June 2013 edition).
Little snippets of information, “factoids” if you will, regularly cross my desk, adorn my mailbox, or land in my e-mail. Many of them pertain to our church, or the Church. Let me share a few of them with you.
First, River Road Church, Baptist ranked 11th last year among Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) churches in gifts to Baptist mission causes. There are almost 1,400 BGAV churches, so 11th is no small feat. Some of you wish we did more, but I am grateful that you are being generous in contributions outside our church.
Second, the fastest growing group of students in America’s theological seminaries is people in their 50’s and 60’s, according to The Wall Street Journal. Boomers who spent most of their adult years seeking success are now searching for significance. And they are finding it in religious non-profit organizations, one of which is the Church.
Third, initial results from the 2011 census in the United Kingdom published last year shows that the total number of people in England and Wales who described themselves as Christian fell by 4.1 million – a decline of 10 percent. That means that Christianity is declining there 50 percent faster than thought previously. Less than half of British youth consider themselves to be even nominally Christian.
Finally, this Fall a new docu-series will premiere on Oxygen Network featuring the lives of six mega-church pastors in Southern California. The title of the show is “LA Pastors.” Can you think of anything less entertaining?
I offer no profound thought that connects all four of these facts, unless it is that God birthed the Church long ago to live in, challenge and love this changing world. Pray that something of this Pentecost will inhabit our times and places.