The State of the American Church

From the Faith Angle Miami 2024 Forum in Miami, FL

Charlie Dates,

Josh Kwan,

This session will consider the present day state of the American church, from the vantage points of a prominent pastor of a historic Black church on the south side of Chicago and a gifted philanthropic leader in the Bay Area—each of whom represent a rising generation of evangelical leadership. Given a recent decline in church membership and engagement, what are the limits and possibilities of contemporary Christian witness in American life? From prophetic calls to justice to political activism to charitable service, are there notable differences in the ways evangelicals, Catholics, Black church members, and mainline Protestants embody public expressions of faith? How does access to power, socioeconomic difference, proximity to the poor, and commitment to the ministry of reconciliation impact a community’s fruitfulness? And how are these priorities reflected in philanthropic giving by some of the country’s wealthiest Christians? Both speakers will consider how the example of “prophetic exilic community,” modeled by the Black church for centuries in American life, is also a beacon for a new wave of Christian witness.

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