Barna Study – More Ingrown and Less Outreaching

Part 2 of 6:

The Barna Group has done a new study and published what it says are the six biggest trends in American churches today:

  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.

At first glance these results might seem pessimistic. Barna’s polls are often thought of casting a long shadow over the contemporary church culture. To dismiss it as negative or simply to cry in our soup are wrong responses. This information, like so many seemingly dire Old Testament prophecies, is only bad if we choose to ignore it. Like any medicine, it may be the best thing for us if we can just get past the taste of it. Due to the importance of this subject I’ll be addressing each item in its own post. Today we address Item 2:

Item 2: Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented. Just before leaving the disciples, Jesus gave them some pretty simple instructions. Go. Tell. Make disciples. The role of the one who follows Christ is chiefly to be missional. The church body is the bride of Christ. To join with a local congregation is important. Each of us who is regenerated is also gifted in some way. The Holy Spirit gifts us in ways designed to enable us to work together as the corporate bride to serve our groom-Lord, Jesus. Jesus is always interested in serving and bringing truth to others. The church, as body, bride and servant, exists to bring the truth of Christ to others and to be a source of hope to hurting world around it. This study shows that much of the contemporary church is becoming less mission oriented and more self-interested. The opportunity we have is to see this for what it is, to repent, and to become the hands and feet of the one who came to save us from our own destruction.


About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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5 Responses to Barna Study – More Ingrown and Less Outreaching

  1. Bernie says:

    The local church is a place for building up and encouraging other believers IN Christ Jesus that also should be a launching pad for sending believers out into the world with the gospel message. I think some of the ‘dumbing down’ spoken of in the previous post is a direct result of the fact that from a local church perspective, the typical evangelistic approach rather than go into the world is to bring the world into the church. While oftentimes events, activities and programs are offered with an objective of drawing the world around it into the church, oftentimes the result is simply that these things simply serve those who are apart of the local church. As I once heard a teacher say, ‘At that point the church has become little more than a country club with a steeple on top.’ All that said, I am guilty of this survey point in so many regards … prayers appreciated!!! Bernie

    • Lance Ponder says:

      //All that said, I am guilty of this survey point in so many regards … prayers appreciated!!!//

      Me too. I include myself as a target of criticism in all of these posts. Amen and prayers here, too.

  2. Pingback: Barna Study – Community Action | divinelogos

  3. Pingback: Barna Study – Tolerance | divinelogos

  4. Pingback: Barna Study – Invisible Influence | divinelogos

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