Every week, millions of Americans attend local Christian churches for numerous reasons. But how effective are Christian churches in impacting the lives of those who attend?
Well, one of the best ways to know what happens to people who go to church is to ask them. That’s what the Barna Group, a California-based research group, did through a survey several years ago.
In this column, I want to zero in on two findings of the survey. The first has to do with the extent to which churchgoers said their lives had been changed through church attendance.
According to the study, only one-fourth of all Americans who had been to church before said their lives had been changed or greatly affected thereby. Nearly half of all churchgoers said their life had not been changed at all as a result of church attendance.
The second area has to do with the insights churchgoers gained through church attendance. According to the survey results, 61 percent of churchgoers said they could not recall a significant or important new insight or understanding gained as a result of their last visit to church.
Even among those who had attended church in the past week, relative to the time of the survey, half admitted they could not recall a significant insight they had gained.
Reflecting on the results of the study, I believe it is vitally important that we more effectively proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. So many people today are searching for answers to the tough questions in life, and I know the gospel provides those answers.
Also, many people desire a new lease on life, and I am persuaded the gospel provides that as well. These should be among the benefits realized by those who go to church.
According to statistics, the current spiritual health of America’s churches is on a downward trend. Perhaps the findings of the Barna Group’s study shed some light on the problem. Why go to church if over time you don’t sense your life is being positively impacted, or if you don’t feel as though you are gaining any new insights for living?
King is pastor of the English-speaking congregation at the Hinesville Korean Full Gospel Church on Tupelo Trail.