***poll at the end of article***
I found the results of this Barna survey very, very interesting. As if we don’t have enough cojoining labels already, here’s another one to deal with. From Ministry Today:
Nearly two-thirds of all unchurched adults—people who have not attended a church activity in the last six months—identified themselves as “Christians,” according to a recent study by the Barna Group.
The survey revealed that 28 percent of the population—some 65 million adults—have not participated in any church activities or services in the past six months. As many churches try to attract this group to worship on Sunday, the study showed that the makeup of unchurched Americans may be surprising.
For example, 18 percent of unchurched Americans say they are born again, that they have “made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today” and that they will go to heaven only because they have accepted Him as their Savior. Two-thirds (68 percent) say God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe. However, slightly more than one-third (35 percent) agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all its principles, and only 15 percent say their religious faith is very important in their life.
Demographically, among the unchurched, women outnumber men, baby boomers and older generations outnumber younger generations, and conservatives outnumber liberals.
Why does such a large group of people who believe in God avoid church? The Barna Group claims that a previous study may shed some light on the question. The study showed that 37 percent of non-churchgoing Americans avoid churches because of negative past experiences in churches or with church people.
The first question I have is can a person be an “unchurched” Christian? Its not clear who defined unchurched as “no church attendance in a continuous six month period”. But maybe redefinition is part of the problem. I’d always thought unchurched meant a person didnt “grow up” in the church and/or were never confessing believers in Christ. This six month deal is a bit shallow if you ask me, but nevertheless it is the basis of the survey’s results.
We had an eye opening discussion that touched on this last year if you want to refresh, but let’s nail it down. You can hit on all or some of the questions if you like. (1)Is church attendance mandatory for the maintenance of one’s salvation? (2) Is church attendance a prerequisite for salvation? (3) Do you think most church pastors are teaching mandatory church attendance because it is biblical or because they need the revenue of church attendees or both? (4) Is church attendance (to a designated building) the same as “assembling” indentified in Hebrews 10:25?
Other Barna survey stories at GCM Watch:
54% of “Christian” blacks in Barna survey believed Jesus sinned