I was at a seminar last year in which the topic was birth rates and how the birth rates among Christians have gone down, while the birth rates among other religions have risen substantially.
Sadly, this lower birth rates among Christians has led to fewer churches and lower membership within those churches.
Statistically, the fact of lower birth rates cannot be denied. But it got me to thinking that just looking at the physical birth rate does not show the whole picture.
Just as Jesus and Nicodemus discussed:
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:3-9
What these verses tell me is that we do not need to be too concerned about physical birth rates, but need to turn our attention to spiritual ones instead.
How many are coming to the water and the Word of baptism to be born again by the Spirit? That should be our main emphasis in the Church.
How many are living a new life, born of the Spirit?
How many are being born again, to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? (1 Peter 1:3)
How many are being born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God? (1 Peter 1:23)
Those are the birth rates we should be tabulating and celebrating above all others.
And those are the numbers that matter to God.