36 and 95: The Numbers That Help Explain What’s Happening in Our Country

I live in Michigan. It’s a beautiful state with many nice people. In 2008, 26 percent of my fellow Michiganders said they were either atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” as it relates to religion. In 2020 that number was 36%. (see the chart for the statistics of your state). That is a huge increase and should rattle us to our core. A 10% jump in 12 years? Social scientists say that number is on the rise. It hasn’t flat lined. In fact, thank you, Covid, no doubt that number is higher than ever in 2023.

This means, when I go to the grocery store, more than one in three people have no context, no understanding, no feelings one way or the other for the Good News of Jesus. They literally have no clue of the peace Jesus offers or the freedom that could be had. It’s sad. Terribly sad. More than sad, we believe in a heaven and hell. At least we say we do. Shouldn’t that make us consumed with a fire deep in our bones to do whatever it takes to reach these people?

If we were on a boat and it was sinking, we’d turn on the pumps or grab buckets, while trying our best to repair the hole. We’d do whatever it takes to make that boat float or to get folks into life rafts or to toss them a life preserver. We’d want to save as many as we possibly could. Shouldn’t we take the same approach to our society? Shouldn’t I care for my fellow Wolverine-or-Spartan-shirt-wearing neighbors in the grocery store?  Of course, we should. 

Want another number? Maybe it’s worse than the fact that 36% or more of my neighbors are atheists, agnostics and “nothing in particulars.” 95% of Nazarenes (so says USA/Canada regional director, Dr. Stan Reeder) have never led a person to Christ. Maybe that’s why the number of atheists, agnostics and “nothing in particulars” is on the rise. Only 5% of us are tossing out life preservers. Here are the steps to leading people to Jesus. It’s easy. 

1. Pray that the Lord would lead a non-believer to you (He probably already has).
2. Be that person’s friend. Love them. Care for them. Earn the right to share Jesus.
3. Be open to the Lord’s prompting. (The Lord will open that door, of course, Jesus will).
4. When the door is open, share your story. What has Jesus done for you?
5. Tell them having Jesus in their life is as simple as A-B-C
 A.  Admit you need Jesus.
B.  Believe Jesus is who he says He is: The Savior of the World.
C.  Confess your sins and commit your life to him. 
6. Pray with them. Simple is good. “Dear Jesus. Help my friend. Forgive all their sins and set them on the road of following You all the days of their life. Give them a fresh start, a new life, a hope and a future.” 
7. Don’t stop. Keep praying for this new believer. Help them. Disciple them. Keep on loving them. Answer their questions. Bring them to church with you. Set them up in a small group. 

The numbers are staggering. Wake Up my fellow believer. Get to work. Our world needs Jesus. Let’s share Jesus with our friends and neighbors!