Alarm Bells for Faith: Is Christian Apathy the Biggest Threat to Spiritual Vitality?

As worries mount, it’s becoming clear that Christianity could be facing an existential threat from an unexpected source.

In Western societies, there is a noticeable shift away from the foundational Christian principles, leading to a scenario where proclaiming God’s teachings and salvation through Jesus Christ is increasingly sidelined.

Amidst this backdrop, the question arises: Is the fear of persecution the most significant challenge to spreading Christianity today? George Barna, the founder of The Barna Group, shares insights in a recent interview with The Christian Post, suggesting that the real issues might be subtler yet more profound.

Barna describes a series of concerning trends: a rise in selfish attitudes, diminishing church influence, pastors moving away from Bible-centric teachings, and families neglecting the spiritual development of their children. He remarks on the troubling influence of media over church influence, noting, “The media now influence the church more than the church influences the media, or the culture for that matter.”

Such shifts have led to debates over matters that, according to Barna, “really don’t matter,” detracting from the core mission of the faith.

The roots of these issues seem to trace back to a generational disconnect in discipleship, with poor leadership in seminaries being a significant factor. Seminary leaders may think they are preparing the next generation of spiritual leaders, but often, they might be missing the mark.

A recent study by The Barna Group highlighted this disconnect: as of January 2022, only 28% of Christians participated actively in the “Discipleship Community,” and a startling 39% were not engaged in discipleship.

This lack of spiritual engagement is seen as a deviation from biblical standards, with modern Christians perhaps too eager to adapt the Bible to fit modern societal norms rather than shaping their worldview by the scriptures.

Barna criticizes the contemporary church’s focus on superficial metrics such as attendance, financial contributions, and infrastructure, stressing that these are not the markers Jesus valued. “You get what you measure,” he notes, pointing out that the current metrics lead to misguided outcomes.

To navigate out of this spiritual crisis, Barna advocates a return to biblical fundamentals. He argues that many aspects of the modern institutional church, such as its programs and structures, are more human inventions than scriptural imperatives. “Jesus didn’t come to build institutions; He came to build people,” he explains.

He calls for a renewed focus on individual discipleship and relationship-building, crucial for the church’s reclaiming its role as a guiding light in society.

Leave a Comment