Problems in the Evangelical Mecca

January 03, 2007

The Colorado Springs Gazette has a very interesting story about how Colorado Springs became the “mecca” of the evangelical world. The article also suggests that such status may now be fading because of Ted Haggard’s scandal and James Dobson’s failure to deliver in the midterm elections. There is a lot of information in this piece, but one line especially stood out:

Statistically, the region is diverse and relatively secular: Percentage-wise, El Paso County has fewer regular church attendees than New York or California, according to the American Religion Data Archive.
There are lots of evangelical Christian organizations headquartered in Colorado Springs that have national influence—most notably Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Yet, the county that these organizations are in is somewhat secular! There seems to be a major problem here: Haggard was often talking with President George W. Bush and Dobson has been traveling around the nation stumping for Republican candidates, and yet many people right around them need to know the love of Jesus.

This data is particularly interesting since Dobson and others will often decry the “liberal” (read “godless”) people of places like New York and California. Yet, Christians in those states are apparently doing a better job at bringing their neighbors to church. Maybe it is time to stop trying to influence national politics and work on changing the lives of people in our own cities and counties. Such action will not likely garner as many headlines, but it is much more important. It is time to return to the evangelical basics.