Secularism and the Church

by | Jun 10, 2024 | Church Health, Church Planting

Hey Church Leaders,

Let’s be real—secularism is rising fast, and it’s hitting our churches hard. People are questioning everything, from church attendance to core doctrines. More folks are identifying with secular or non-religious perspectives, and it’s shaking things up. We need to navigate this new terrain thoughtfully, compassionately, and strategically if we want to keep pressing forward and making a difference.


The Big Challenge


Secularism is all about keeping faith out of public life, emphasizing science, personal freedom, and questioning traditional authority. For us, this means our foundational Christian doctrines often clash with the prevailing worldview.

One major result is declining church attendance. People are seeking spirituality outside organized religion, prioritizing personal experience over collective worship and established doctrines.


Connecting with the Secular Crowd


To reach a congregation influenced by secularism, we’ve got to understand where they’re coming from. This doesn’t mean watering down our beliefs but finding common ground and starting conversations. Here’s how:

  1. Build Real Relationships: People crave authenticity. Form genuine connections within your church community. Be present, listen actively, and show that you genuinely care about their lives.
  2. Make It Relevant: Our teachings must connect with today’s world. We must show how biblical principles apply to modern challenges. We must preach practical sermons that address real-life issues, helping folks see the value of faith in their everyday lives.
  3. Encourage Questions: Secular folks value critical thinking. Create spaces where they can ask questions and explore their doubts openly. This intellectual engagement can lead to a deeper, stronger faith.
  4. Highlight Community and Service: Many secular individuals are passionate about social justice. Emphasize the church’s role in tackling societal issues and serving others. Show them that the church is a force for good in the world.
  5. Leverage Technology: In today’s digital world, we have to use technology to our advantage. Use social media, podcasts, and live streaming to reach more people and make your content accessible and relevant to their daily lives.


Balancing Tradition and Change


Adapting to secularism is essential, but so is maintaining our core teachings. Here’s how to strike that balance:

  1. Teach with Heart: Approach traditional doctrines with empathy. Understand that some teachings are tough for modern minds. Provide context, share personal stories, and explain the principles with grace and compassion.
  2. Celebrate Differences: Embrace the diversity in your congregation. People have different backgrounds and experiences, and their faith journeys will reflect that. Create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued.
  3. Stick to Core Values: Reinforce your church’s mission and vision. In times of change, a strong foundation is crucial. Make sure your congregation understands and embraces these core values.
  4. Equip and Empower: Give your congregation the tools they need for their faith journey. Offer small group studies, mentorship programs, and leadership training. Empower individuals to take ownership of their faith and contribute to the church’s mission.


A Challenge and an Opportunity


Secularism is a big challenge, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and engagement.  As we navigate this complex landscape, let’s stay true to our mission, approach with compassion, and innovate boldly. Trust that God is guiding us every step of the way.

Keep pushing forward!


Read more blog posts by Jeff Hoglen, D.Min

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