Saturday, May 28, 2016


by Steve Dunn

Scot McKnight recently published a post on his blog JESUS CREED entitled "The  Line Has Been Crossed."  In it he reported and then chronicled the demise of Christianity in Great Britain whose PM still refers to his country as "a Christian nation."  He observes:
A landmark in national life has just been passed. For the first time in recorded history, those declaring themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians in Britain. Some 44 per cent of us regard ourselves as Christian, 8 per cent follow another religion and 48 per cent follow none. The decline of Christianity is perhaps the biggest single change in Britain over the past century. For some time, it has been a stretch to describe Britain as a Christian country. We can more accurately be described now as a secular nation with fading Christian institutions.

There is nothing new in the decline of the church, but until recently it had been a slow decline. For many decades it was possible to argue that while Christians were eschewing organised religion, they at least still regarded themselves as having some sort of spirit-ual life which related to the teachings of Jesus. Children were asked for their Christian name; conversations ended with ‘God bless’. Such phrases are now slipping out of our vocabulary — to wear a cross as jewellery is seen as making a semi-political statement. Christians are finding out what it’s like to live as a minority.

Election year in the US often prompts powerful appeals to the concept of America as a Christian nation.  But the shifting of our own culture has resulted in the reality that Christians, particularly biblical Christians, no longer are a part of the prevailing culture.

Years of a civil religion wearing the disguise of Christianity may have sent the hardcore atheists to flight but it has resulted in a syncrenisitc faith that honors the concept of being spiritual over biblical, subjective rather objective, feeling good over the mind of Christ.

Before we blame it all on the choices of the young, studies such as that of Christian Smith reveal  that this is the religion of our young people's parents.  To quote Walt Kelly's famous character Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Yet studies of emerging generations reveal their desire for religion that is rooted in that which is genuine.  Not shallow.  Not ritualistic.  Not legalistic. Not authoritarian.

The Gospels report the "authority" with which Jesus taught.  There was something compelling true in his words.  - GENUINE,  Perhaps we need to return to teaching and living what Jesus taught and lived- to true Christianity.

For America the "line" is nearing and the spiritual destiny of these emerging generations depend on our reversing the trend.

© 2016 by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to For all other uses, contact Steve at 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


I find the work of Ron Edmonson extremely help.  He has a great post on this shared concern of mine-Steve

The statistics are staggering. The older a child gets today, the greater his or her chances are of disappearing from the church. The church must intentionally plan to reverse this trend.
I was part of a church plant built around a desire to reach people who may not have previously been interested in church. We were amazed at the number of young people we reached. Defying statistics.
I’ve now updated this post because we are currently in a growing, revitalized established church and—amazingly—our fastest growing group is the Millennial generation. Again, defying statistics.
It must be more than structure or age of church—or even style of worship.
Along the way, we’ve learned a few things—and these are the things that regardless of type of church have remained true.

Here are seven thoughts for the church to reach Millennials:

Love them—Young people today seem to crave genuine, no strings attached, healthy love from other adults—and they want it to be unconditional love—through the good times of their life and the times they mess up. And they want us to love first, without qualifications added.

Be biblically true—Millennials don’t want fluff or sugar-coating. They want an authentic, honest approach to the Bible. Whether they believe all of it yet or not, they want the people who teach to teach what they believe—and then be willing to discuss it with them as they explore.

Be culturally aware and relevant—This generation has been exposed to the problems, challenges and changes in the world. And changes are coming fast. They are more socially conscious than in years past. They want the church to be addressing the needs they see in the world around them.

Give them a place to plug in—They want to make a difference. They want to be a part of change. They want you to support them in their pursuits. They want to serve somewhere they believe is doing good work and makes a positive impact on the world—and they may even want to help lead the effort.

Read more ...

Saturday, August 15, 2015


by Steve Dunn

I have now become an "old guy" - 64 years old to be exact.  I have been in ministry for 44 of those 64.  A lot has changed in the church since I first began.  A lot has changed in the world.  Ironically, too little has been changed in the church in my estimation to keep the church effective in its mission from Jesus to be disciple-making.

Long ago David uttered this prayer, "O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds. 18And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come." - Psalm 71:17-18.

Thursday, March 19, 2015



Go into any restaurant, waiting room, or public arena.  You will see a common sight.  Young people (actually people of all ages) holding a shiny rectangle of plastic in their hands, a thumb or finger poised above a tiny keyboard.  It's their phone and they are using it for a variety of things, from sending text messages, viewing their Facebook or email accounts, taking and sharing photos--maybe even making a phone call.  And now they may be reading files that are on a PC somewhere but is synced with their telephone.

This is but one example of a truth that has emerged -- in fact, emerged long ago but is only now being noticed by much of the church.  This generation is wired.

This has powerful implications:

1. They can be communicated with in real time (and you might even speak "face to face.").

2. They get their information, particularly the daily news on-line.

3. They carry their Bibles on their phones and through Twitter  can communicate with their preacher while he preaches.

4. People can enter their lives without ever entering their physical space.

5. They can be exposed to a world ideas via Google search.

6. They can watch a live streaming worship service and never go through the door of the church.

7. They can participate in an online Bibles study that occurs whenever they are available.

8. They can text prayers in real time.

9. They are increasingly isolated from significant human contact.

10. This is a kairos time to communicate the Gospel world wide.

How will the church that is uncomfortable with this electronic reality going to continue to connect with the culture around them?

Thursday, March 5, 2015



Churches are notoriously resist to change.  Whether they are watered from the liturgical stream or the pentecostal tributary, churches quickly develop traditions that they embed in stone.  Even a fresh wind of the Spirit can at best bend them for a time, but they anchored by roots of culture and personal preference that make them inward focused.

The inward focus soon leads to irrelevance even in communities where they are known as "First Church."  Except for the most isolated of locations, they are living in a world of constant change; and without an awareness of those changes and an attempt to engage their unchurched neighbors,  they find themselves on a mission field for which they are ill-equipped to connect new generations with a meaningful faith in Jesus Christ. 

This is true of both temperament and technique.  By temperament our churches tend to cultural-despisers instead of counter-cultural lights.  Their message is one of judgment, condemnation,and lament.

Or their techniques are tied a Sunday morning worship service, with worship that looks more like a family reunion than an assembly that clearly worshiping Christ or with sermons that talk about the minutia of doctrinal distinctives instead of the challenge and hope of the Kingdom of God.

We do not live on Walton's Mountain any more.  In fact, few of us who aging church leaders ever lived their either.

The time is come to take a cue from Paul on Mars Hill, whose cultural awareness and discernment gave him a bridge to reach a culture with the eternal gospel of God.

© 2015 by Stephen L Dunn
Permission is given to reprint this post as long as it is not included in material that is for sale, that it is reproduced in its entirety including the copyright notice, and that a link is provided to this blog.