Evangelism – Nominals vs. Nones

As nominalism shrinks, and secularism rises, our approaches become less effective amidst a reality where almost every church is targeting nominals…

Evangelism – Nominals vs. Nones

Most people in America are nominal Christians. About half the people in America call themselves Christians, but they don’t have any statistically discernable life change…only 25% of Americans call themselves Christians and have demonstrable engagement in that commitment. This reality, and its changing numbers, are essential to understand the future of outreach and evangelism. The challenge is that most of our church-planting efforts target the fastest shrinking segment. We are focusing on those who are nominal Christians because we think this will yield us the greatest result or provide us the easiest path to seeing people attend our church…However, the category of nominal Christians is the fastest shrinking category today. Perhaps 20 years ago, nearly 60% of the population was nominal Christian. Yet now, nominalism is declining about 1% per year…Today, most unchurched people we reach are either dechurched, formerly churched, or are a kind of nominal Christian who is not antagonistic towards church people…when we look at younger adults (specifically college students) only 30-35% would fit the same description as nominal Christians— and many more are secular…As nominalism shrinks, and secularism rises, our approaches become less effective amidst a reality where almost every church is targeting nominals…there is really no marketing-based approach that is going to significantly relate to an increasingly secular culture. We cannot plant churches among secular people in the same manner that we plant among nominals and expect the same return…As we reach nominal Christians, we need to also train people to start reaching the growing secular context…

– Ed Stetzer