In an article addressing recent statistics showing the number with no religious affiliation on the rise, LifeChurch.tv’s pastor Craig Groeschel insisted that faith in this country isn’t waning — it’s faith in the church that’s declining.
In the Fox News article, Groeschel wrote, “Interestingly enough, though the number of those religiously unaffiliated is increasing, there is little to no trend in the number of those who express atheist or agnostic beliefs. People aren’t saying they don’t believe in God. They’re saying they don’t believe in religion. They are not rejecting Christ. They are rejecting the church.”
Groeschel explains that people in America today are increasingly put off by labels that might carry with them emotional baggage from past hurts by the church or organized religion. “I’ve struggled with what people think of my label: pastor,” he writes. But when one man boldly told Groeschel he didn’t like religious people, Groeschel responded in agreement. “I explained that religion is about rules, but being a Christian is about relationship.”
Groeschel was quick to say that he’s not against the church — “obviously, I’m part of one” — but rather believes that “to reach people no one is reaching, we have to do things no one is doing.” In other words, we don’t change the message but rather how the message is presented.
“We have to discover our ‘altar ego’ — and become who God says we are instead of who others say we are,” writes Groeschel.
Groeschel’s new book, Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are (Zondervan), released in February 2013.