Today we finish the series I’ve entitled “Church Mega-themes from 2010,” which looked at observations based on Barna Group research throughout last year involving those in our country who professed some form of Christian faith. Here are the Barna Group’s observations.
1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.
2. Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented.
3. Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning
pragmatic solutions for life.
4. Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.
5. The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church.
6. The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible.
One of their comments on these conclusions involved accountability, or rather the lack thereof. They said, “Although there were a few subgroups that were more likely than average to experience church-based accountability, there was not a single segment for which even one out of every five people said their church does anything to hold them accountable.” Whereas living without being accountable seems to be very much the American way, it is not the way of God’s people, and it certainly is not the way of the church taught about in the Bible.
Perhaps an even more poignant message from the research is this important statement regarding the absolute crucial aspect of the life of the believer. “The primary obstacle is not the substance of the principles on which Christianity is based, and therefore the solution is not solely providing an increase in preaching or public relations. The most influential aspect of Christianity in America is how believers do–or do not–implement their faith in public and private…It is people’s observations of the integration of a believer’s faith into how he/she responds to life’s opportunities and challenges that most substantially shape people’s impressions of and interest in Christianity.”
What they’re saying is, it’s not that people just need to learn more about the Bible or the church. The solution is not just more teaching, more preaching, better marketing. It’s that people today need to see those values lived out in our lives, each of us individually and in our homes, as well as in the way we interact with our culture, our community, our world. So how are you doing influencing people in your life for Christ?