We have heard references to North America being post-Christian for years. We are just now beginning to feel what that really means.

The vague term, post-Christian, comes into clearer focus when the bronze Bible is removed from our Courthouse, prayer disappears from public events, and “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance is declared unconstitutional. But, the true nature of the cultural shift hits home forcefully when the principal of our child’s school requires us to change the name of the annual Christmas Party to the “Winter Festival.”

In the ever-intensifying fallout of this cultural upheaval the Church continues to worship her God. The question that demands an immediate and courageous response is, “As the Church in this radically different world, is it prudent to continue to define ourselves in the same old way?” I firmly believe that to do so means nothing short of total extinction. The Institutional Church cannot survive the collapse of Christendom.

From the inception of our nation the Christian Church has been able to depend upon the North American culture to be its ally. Our values have been supported by the majority, our rights have been ingrained in our legal system, and our beliefs have been corroborated in our educational institutions. No wonder so many of us are in shock (and perhaps denial) that our own culture has now become our greatest enemy. Our values are ridiculed, our rights are being eroded, and our beliefs have been relegated to the privacy of our church buildings. In the meantime, the Church is scrambling to find its mission in this horrifying new world.

Worshiping God Almighty is no longer an American Tradition. Like it or not, we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of—not a Christian Nation—but a pagan mission field. To continue to be an Institutional Church insures our demise; on the other hand, becoming a Missional Church may require vision, courage, and leadership but it is our only hope for survival. It is also our assignment from our Lord. I say let’s make being and planting Missional Churches the new American Tradition.