Fewer people consider church as key to social change

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COLUMBIA- According to new research, Americans do not believe churches are a key part of social change. In 2001, 75% of people believed that churches contributed a great deal or some to solving social problems, but in 2016, that number has shrunken to only 58%.

The number of people that believe churches contribute not much or nothing to solving social problems has simultaneously grown. In 2001, only 21% of people had this belief, but in 2016, 39% of people said they believe the church does little or nothing to solve social problems.

One explanation for this fall in confidence in churches is the growing population of religious "nones," people who do not identify themselves as a particular religion.

Kendall Waller, the Lead Paster at Missouri United Methodist Church, said that he attributes the change in opinion to a reduction in institutional religion.

"Our inability to keep up with and remain in conversation with our culture has hampered the institutional church," he said.

Karita Moss, the Operation Director at Youth Empowerment Zone, believes that the church still plays a very strong roll  in promoting social change.

"A lot of our partnerships and a lot of the support that we've had at Youth Empowerment Zone has been from ministries and churches here in Columbia," she said.

She also stress that communication is the real key to creating change.

"It depends on the relationships that you make with those around you, connected to you in your community, in your church, or where ever it is. I think the relationship is the main factor."