The great disconnect.

24 May

I was reading some Barna research (I’m a research geek) this afternoon and came across this quote from the 12 Most Significant Religious Findings from 2006 Surveys:

Although large majorities of the public claim to be “deeply spiritual” and say that their religious faith is “very important” in their life, only 15% of those who regularly attend a Christian church ranked their relationship with God as the top priority in their life. As alarming as that finding was, its significance was magnified by research showing that on average pastors believe that 70% of the adults in their congregation consider their relationship with God to be their highest priority in life.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about how us “paid clergy-folk” need to understand the culture that surrounds us, and I have this sinking suspision that we just have no clue a lot of the time. We’d rather sound authoritative when we speak based on what we feel is the case, with no concrete evidence to back it up. How often do we think the needs and such of our communities are so far from what they actually are.

I’m calling on you and I to do some research. To spend some time doing some cultural research, to pull demographics, to do surveys, to talk and actually listen to people in your community. To see what their needs are, to see where they stand on certain issues. To stop the great disconnect between what we think might be going on and what we think other people are thinking and actually find out.

Paul did this, why shouldn’t we? He knew the culture inside and out, and was able to speak to it. Perhaps we need to put our pride away and engage the culture on their terms instead of running away and complaining about how they don’t conform to our terms.

I’m just wrestling with this and throw it out for discussion. Thoughts?

My friend Scott spoke a few weeks ago about what people think of Christians (including what he thinks!). You can get to it from his blog here.


One response to “The great disconnect.

  1. d-mc

    May 26, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    as a former full-timer in ministry for 15 yrs and now a volunteer, i can tell you something form the other side.

    we dont really want MORE stuff to do. we’ve got PLENTY to do. but when we do show up at church, we want it done with purpose and power. Nothing is more irritating than to show up and feel like things were just thrown together.

    the other thing we want-which is almost in direct contradiction to the first one is deeper relationships. which takes time.


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