State of the American Church: 2010
How does the American Church look in 2010? Not too good according to a recently posted study by the Barna Group on the state of the church. About the only positive comment in this study was a greater desire for involvement in community issues. Yet, without a biblical understanding of why the church should be involved in community issues, Barna warns that this will likely not be sustainable.
Here are the six megathemes identified by Barna’s study:
1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.
- Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented.
- Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.
- Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.
- The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church.
- The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible.
A few of the words used to describe the church in this study:
- biblically illiterate
- lack of spiritual confidence
- in a theological free-for-all
- possessing unparalleled theological diversity and inconsistency
- more spiritually isolated from non-Christians
- reticence of Christians to engage in faith-oriented conversations
- people with little time for spiritual practices like contemplation, solitude, silence, and simplicity
- superficial approach to faith
- compartmentalized spirituality
- fear of being labeled judgmental
- tolerant of a vast array of morally and spiritually dubious behaviors and philosophies
- in desperate need of a more positive and accessible image
- possessing a need to revisit criteria for “success”
Ouch! Thanks to my wife for the heads up on this rather depressing article!
Can anyone out there help to identify the good things happening in the American church in 2010?