Falling numbers, growing hope
It’s a sign of the times. Only to be expected, but the statistics lay it bare. Christianity is seen as less and less relevant. That’s what I learn from GideonsUK’s latest magazine (Gideons News Spring/Summer 2019):
"One area of particular challenge at the present time is Gideon work in schools. Ten years ago, over 570,000 Testaments [GideonsUK specially produced New Testament with psalms and easy references] were presented to school pupils, five years ago this had fallen to under 440,000, and last year the number was just over 350,000. There are many factors to consider, and of course as we well know our work is not necessarily about numbers of Scriptures and we shouldn’t be overly preoccupied with numbers, but it is a concern when, according to some statistical information, pupil numbers have risen over the past few years, Scriptures presented to school pupils are falling.”
If society presses an argument that the church is irrelevant, that the Bible is old fashioned for today’s modern ideas, and the church is known only for it failings, then perhaps school pupils feel disinclined to read about our Lord.
Yet, elsewhere in the world, Bibles and Testaments are warmly received, even eagerly wanted. The Bible still tops the best seller lists – it’s just excluded by the compilers! We live in curious times, and we live when our Lord remains sovereign.
Despair is not needed. As our Lord is sovereign, there’s always hope, and when times seem most bleak, our Lord intervenes in ways we could not imagine.
Our part, as ever, is to pray, and to live our faith with love, grace and truth.
Not easy, but it’s still used by our Lord to draw people to seek Him.