Barna: What Self-Described Christians Must Overcome

A study by the Barna Group indicates there are four major barriers that self-described Christians must overcome before they ‘are likely to persevere and maximize their connection with God.’ Among those findings:

Obstacle 1: Commitment

  • Less than 18% (1 of every 5) claimed to be totally self-invested in their own spiritual development.

Obstacle 2: Repentance

  • Relatively few self-identified Christians are serious about abandoning the lure of sin and handing total control of their life to God.

Obstacle 3: Activity

  • Mired in a culture that rewards hard work and busyness, it’s not surprising that tens of millions of self-identified Christians have confused religious activity with spiritual significance and depth.

Obstacle 4: Spiritual Community

  • Many self-identified Christians do not take their faith community seriously, whatever type it may be, as a place to which they should be open and held to biblical principles…only one-third (35%) claims to have confessed their sins verbally to another believer at some point during the past quarter.

The Big Picture:

“Barna expressed two related concerns. The first was that people often fail to realize that the end game of spiritual development is godly character, not worldly accomplishments. God does not need His followers to achieve things on His behalf in order for them to become more acceptable or valuable to Him. The research also indicated that sometimes people get so wrapped up in finishing church programs or producing specific religious results that they lose sight of the purpose of their faith, which is to have a life-changing relationship with Jesus. Barna noted that it becomes easy to substitute laudable religious activity for intentional and simple engagement with God. American Christians, in particular, have become known for doing good works and religious exercises rather than simply being friends and imitators of Christ.”

You can read more about the study here.