I hope you’re actively aware of and already beginning to address the realities of what many are calling “the post-Christian era.” If you’re not, there is a very good chance that some of your connecting and discipling strategies are actually outdated and no longer suitable for a growing part of your potential customer base.
According to yesterday’s Barna update America is moving steadily in a post-Christian direction. What does that mean? How does Barna know this? What does it mean to you and me?
Barna’s research is based on a set of identifiers designed to “get beyond how people loosely identify themselves (affiliation*) and to the core of what people actually believe and how they behave as a result of their belief (practice).”
*Affiliation is essentially how Americans casually identify themselves (i.e., by “checking the Christian box on the census”).
To qualify as “post-Christian” in Barna’s research, individuals must meet nine or more of our 16 criteria, which identify a lack of Christian identity, belief and practice. These factors include whether individuals identify as atheist, have never made a commitment to Jesus, have not attended church in the last year or have not read the Bible in the last week (you can find the rest of the 16 on the Barna update right here).
Essentially, the greater the percentage of people within a given city who meet nine or more of the 16 criteria, the more post-Christian the city is.
With the results of Barna’s study, American cities can be ranked according to the degree of post-Christian belief and behavior. A list of the 100 American cities they’ve ranked is on the report. For example, Las Vegas is #28 on the Barna list of post-Christian cities with 44% of respondents meeting at least 9 of the 16 criteria. Dallas-Ft. Worth is #66 with 30% of respondents meeting at least 9 of the 16 criteria (see the list of 100 right here).
Why does this matter to us? Be sure you’re thinking about this critically. If 30% of respondents in Dallas-Ft. Worth qualify as post-Christian, it means things like:
- they don’t agree the Bible is accurate (if your connecting and discipling strategies include a Bible study…)
- they have not attended a church in the last 6 months (if your connecting and discipling strategies depend on infrequent attenders being on your campus and in your auditorium…)
- they don’t believe in God (if your connecting and discipling strategies depend on participants having a common set of beliefs…)
My takeaway? Don’t wait any longer to begin adjusting your strategies to connect and disciple the growing post-Christian population.
Image by Mike Tewkesbury