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’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.