The impact of this “crisis of supremacy” can be seen everywhere. In fact, in David Bryant’s book, CHRIST IS ALL!, he includes in-depth analyses and illustrations of this crisis. Here is a sampling of his findings:
♦ It is statistically verifiable that the number of people in pastoral leadership in America living in quiet desperation is epidemic. Every month 1400 leave the ministry. In addition, each week 53,000 parishioners forsake the Church, never to return. Over 80% of U.S. congregations are either stagnant or dying.
♦ Biblical illiteracy in many churches (consistently confirmed by Gallup polls), often coupled with parochial, self-serving agendas, has not helped the situation. Millions of Americans declaring themselves to be Christ-followers concede, when surveyed, that Jesus was just like the rest of us when it comes to sin-guilty, impure, struggling with defeat. A recent finding about youth from evangelical families says it all: Only 35% claim to be “absolutely committed” to Christ as their supreme Lord and Savior.
♦ Thousands of churches are experiencing a drop in financial giving, a shortfall of laborers, and a general atmosphere of apathy toward the things of Christ’s Kingdom. All of this, despite the fact that U. S. Christians have spent over $500 billion on themselves the past ten years to shore up commitment to Christ.
♦ Evangelical “urbanologist” Dr. Ray Bakke talks about the “spirit of hopelessness” inside urban churches as the single greatest barrier to outreach for Christ in our cities. Dr. Os Guinness documents the exhaustion that many pastors experience due to nearly 15 major roles they are expected to play for their congregations, as many of their parishioners look to their shepherds to be for them what Christ alone should be for them.
These are just a few characteristics of the crisis that is increasingly manifested throughout the Church, especially in America. As we suggest at PROCLAIM HOPE!, in many ways the general diminishment of vision for Christ’s supremacy and His power among His people makes Him seem to be more of a “mascot” for self-absorbed churchly activities, rather than the Monarch of a Body focused on His Kingdom’s advance.