California-based evangelical research organization Barna Group named the changing role of Christianity as one of its “Top Trends of 2011.”
The category of “Changing Role of Christianity” focused on what the Barna Group described as the American struggle “to determine how faith, Christianity and church fit into contemporary life.”
A November survey found over 40 percent of Americans could not name an American leader they considered an “influential Christian.” And an April survey on religious pluralism found that 50 percent of Americans believe that “all people are eventually saved or accepted by God, no matter what they do.”
Another “Top Trend” for the year was “Millennials Rethink Christianity,” which was based on a compilation of major research done on the Millennial generation. George Barna, founder of Barna Group, called the Millennials “Mosaics,” and noted that keeping this generation in the church was shown to be a “struggle” for American congregations.
Research reported by the Barna Group found that nearly two-thirds of Christians leave the church either permanently or for an extended period of time after age 15. Reasons for this were numerous and included youths sensing that the church is “overprotective,” “antagonistic to science,” and “unfriendly to those who doubt.”
Barna Group research also noted that over four-fifths of Christians aged 18 to 29 “admit that they have no idea how the Bible applies to their field or professional interests.”
“For example, young adults who are interested in creative or science-oriented careers often disconnect from their faith or from the church,” said the Barna Group website.
“The Barna study showed that faith communities can become more effective in working with the next generation by linking vocation and faith.”
Barna Group’s list of top trends for 2011 had six items that were not placed in any specific order of importance.
The full list of Barna Group 2011 Top Trends:
• Changing Role of Christianity
• Downsized American Dreams
• Millennials Rethink Christianity
• The Digital Family
• Maximizing Spiritual Change
• Women Making it Alone