I just learned of a most interesting study conducted by The Barna Group. As interesting as this study seems on the surface, I am not sure what if anything can be done about the information that is being reported or for that matter what if anything should be done. In other words, the facts are what they are. However, such data could provide would be church leaders with the information they may need to assist them in their planning and outreach.
The Barna Group set out to determine how people in 96 of the largest U.S. cities view the Bible. Their study was based upon 42,855 nationwide interviews. Their criterium: those who read the Bible within an average calendar week AND those who feel that the Bible is accurate in terms of the principles contained therein would then for all intents and purposes be deemed “Bible-minded.” What struck me as being very cool was the broad view summary of this which was “ACTION + ATTITUDE” determined one’s Bible-mindedness or lack thereof (my words).
Here Saints in Training are the 6-Top Ranked Bible-Minded cities:
1. Knoxville, TN–52%; 2. Shreveport, LA–52%; 3. Chattanooga, TN–52%; 4. Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, AL–50%; 5. Jackson, MS–50%; and Springfield, MO–59%.
Now on the flip side, here are the 6-Bottom Ranked Bible-Minded cities:
91. Boston, MA/Manchester, NH–16%; 92. Hartford/New Haven, CT–16%; 93. Portland/Auburn, ME–16%; 94. Burlington, VT/Plattsburgh, NY–16%; 95. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, NY–10%; 96. Providence, RI/New Bedford, MA–9%.
Here are two interesting patterns the group delineated that I thought would provide some cause for a “hmmmmmm…”:
A. Of the largest 30 cities in this study, 10 are at the top-half of the Bible-minded rankings. However, 20 of these same 30 cities are found at the bottom half of the rankings.
B. The greater the population density of the city in question, the less likely that city was Bible-minded oriented.
It would seem that these findings are interesting but do not rate at the level of an life-changing epiphany. One thing is certain, however, true Christians will never be found in large numbers nor will they be concentrated in predictable regions of any one nation. On the contrary, Yeshua implied to His disciples that only a small few unique individuals throughout history will have found the correct path to the Father and to the Kingdom of Yehovah. Matthew 7:13,14 stated the following: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Sadly, fundamental churchianity would have everyone believe that the path to heaven is an open highway; that broad way of course is paved and funded by the hijacked doctrine of “grace.”
I admire The Barna Group and I certainly honor and respect its work. They provide much-needed statistical information that no doubt proves helpful to regional traditional church leaders. I find their information to be interesting and insightful from the perspective of trends and how the traditional church is fairing in fulfilling their version of the “Great Commission.” (Reference Matthew 28:19) Some of the current trends reported by the Barna Group are troubling and the fundamentals’ successful fulfillment of the Great Commission seems sorely uncertain. Consider one such trend that I have reported on in previous postings as well as spoke on in one of my sermons: the traditional church is losing its young people to pop-culture, social media, and technology. The Barna Group reports that young people see their neighborhood churches as not being geared towards providing them with Christ-centered life tools but more towards weekly entertainment (my interpretation of their findings). Entertainment they can find at the tip of their fingers via their mobile phone devices. One interviewed young person passionately summed up the reason for the fundamental church’s failure in this arena: “…the traditional church of today is failing to “task” its young people to “do something.”” Furthermore, the traditional church is miserably failing to intellectually answer its young people’s’ life questions. How tragic.
For the Torah-loving, obedient, Spirit-filled follower of Yeshua: …The harvest truly [is] plenteous, but the labourers [are] few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. (reference Matthew 9:37,38)