A recent survey in Australia identified common barriers that made it more difficult for people to believe in Jesus or attend church. I think it is important that we christians consider these barriers, and do what we can to remove them. I have addressed one, Church abuse, and now I want to look at exclusivity.
Leadership is an important matter for christians. A fundamental aspect of being a christian is meeting with other believers in churches and other groupings. How these groups are led – that is, make decisions, form attitudes, gain knowledge and encourage each other – will have an enormous impact on our success in carrying out the mission entrusted to us.
What if we have got it badly wrong?
Unlike America, christianity has never been very strong in Australia. Something like 70% believe in a god, and about 50% identify with a religion (40% christian, 10% other), but only around 10% attend church regularly. Most Aussies are not very interested in church. (This is perhaps understandable, with many good options available on Sundays: sport, the beach, barbecues, picnics or just relaxing, or even mowing the lawn.)
But an interesting new survey has studied the barriers to belief.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Sydney today. I went for a drive in the country and visited the Berry markets. (For those unfamiliar, these aren’t fruit markets. Berry is a former dairy farming town 2 hours south of Sydney, which has reinvented itself as an art and craft town. Once a month, they hold markets where you can buy fresh vegetables, plants, arts and crafts, food and miscellanea.) We brought back some herbs to grow.
Last post I raised concerns about world poverty in the light of the world’s population reaching 7 billion people. But how big is the need, and how much would it take to bring some relief for those who most desperately need it?