An article on the CT online site for Leadership Journal reports the findings after "more than 1,000 self-identified Christians 18 years of age and older were surveyed on their religious beliefs and practices."
The study reveals the wide diversity of self-identity amongst Christians brokenly down into 5 pretty evenly distributed groups which they labeled as "5 Kinds of Christians" (which seemed to me like a nice play on and slight critique of McClaren's idea of "A New Kind of Christian").
While I would like to, in future posts, offer some responses and reflections about the diversity of Christians in our culture, I will start with offering up CT's own synopsis of "three critical issues" that emerged:
- The local church is no longer considered the only outlet for spiritual growth.
- Churches must develop relational- and community-oriented outreach.
- Lay people have to be better equipped to be God's ambassadors.
There is no surprise in here for me. Indeed, I see this as an opportunity for the church. Even more, I just finished teaching a course for Fuller Theological Seminary called Contemporary Challenges and Evangelism and these issues emerged from our discussions with NON-Christians, too.
In the final segment of the class I posed this question to the future ministers seeking their Master's degrees to be better equipped to lead in churches: How should we respond to a world that says: "God is interesting, but the church is irrelevant"?
According to the study, the answer of at least 3/5ths of Christians today, is "But, of course. That is the way we Christians feel, too."
So, what do we make of that?
But before I offer up my own thoughts, I figured I would let this sit here to see what it stimulates in your own mind.