A Chicago-based church builder points to the churches in the margins for valuable insights on how to save the American Church, which is slipping away from a Biblical worldview.
ChurchLeaders reported that Church Multiplication Institute Director Daniel Yang provided solutions that would help churches in their ministry in Episode 363 of "The Stetzer Church Leaders Podcast" and his co-authored book "Inalienable: How Marginalized Kingdom Voices Can Help Save the American Church."
Yang, who is presently serving as the Billy Graham Center Send Institute's Director at Wheaton College, has been a church planter for several years. He has planted churches in Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, and Dallas-Fort Worth.
The State of The American Church
Yang said in the podcast that his new book intends to present how the global church influences those in the United States and not to highlight what's wrong in America's Christianity. He said not everyone is given the focus due to them because of their race or location in the globe.
The engineer by profession cited that the Assemblies of God in America two decades earlier had 1.8 million white members. He said this number remained the same despite the significant growth of the denomination. The church grew as its non-white members grew.
Yang admitted that Christians in America live in a time when it is difficult to actually live "out a true holistic Gospel."
"We're saying that the global church, marginalized voices are helping us to better understand the Kingdom of God, image of God, Word of God and mission of God. And so that's what we're saying: These four things are inalienable to Christianity," Yang said.
"We talk about the decline of the church in the West," he added.
The United States is said to be experiencing a "worldview crisis" according to Family Research Council Center for Biblical Worldview Senior Research Fellow George Barna based on a survey released in October 2021.
Barna said the survey revealed that 94% of Americans do not possess a biblical worldview. Barna added in March that this crisis comes from the reality that American parents are experiencing a "spiritual crisis," which in turn spiritually disadvantages the youth. This is on top of only half of Evangelical pastors having a biblical worldview based on a survey released last month.
The Atlantic, in a report last May, said that Evangelical Churches have become poisoned by politics. The media outlet pointed to pastors using the pulpit to teach not only strange rituals but also reduce God into a "caricature" with "full-blown partisan advocacy."
The spiritual crisis is reportedly seen from the string of mass shootings, which Baptist News Senior Columnist Bill Leonard highlighted as a reflection of American evangelical's idolatrous obsession with guns, quoting an essay by Attorney Chris Conley.
Marginalized Voices As Mirrors To Draw Learning From
Reflecting on his ancestral experience of Christianity, Yang said he realized that the narratives he learned in America are not intrinsic to his heritage as immigrants from Laos. Yang shared that he could not understand why the number of American Christians going to church have declined when his family is "one generation into knowing Jesus." This, he said, has helped him learn how Americans think about mission and church.
Yang disclosed that reflecting on the American church has helped him see what's great about it and what things need to be changed. He cited as an example of how current leaders create the pathway forward for young people. He raised the need to understand how young people process evangelicalism and American Christianity, especially in the face of data that the young have become less affiliated with the faith.
In conclusion, Yang clarified that he and his co-authors are not stating that the global church is perfect but that there is something to be learned from it. He said the global church could serve as a mirror that American Christians can see and reflect on.
"These are some voices that we need to bring into our churches and not just into our institutions, but into Christian leadership," Yang stressed.
TGC similarly raised these concerns in a feature on Yang's book, noting how white evangelicals fall short on the plight of Christians fleeing persecution, among other issues, that prevent them from having a "more welcoming disposition toward foreigners."