A recent survey by The Barna Group reveals that while most pastors think their flocks are committed to God, those in the pew disagree. The overview of the survey is found here. The Barna Group surveys discovered that
On average, pastors contend that 70% of the adults in their church consider their personal faith in God to transcend all other priorities. Amazingly, as many as one out of every six pastors (16%) contends that 90% or more of the adults in their church hold their relationship with God as their top life priority!Surveys found to the contrary that only 15% of people describe God as a top priority and when the answers are limited to those who regularly attend church, the percentage rises to only 23%, still well below the 70% assumed by the shepherds.
Why the disconnect? Barna's results suggest that pastors assess their congregations based on Sunday attendance and participation in other church functions. But attending church might not make one a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes one a car.
Further, pastors surveyed base assumptions of how their churches are doing on how the church handles inreach than outreach, surving the people already in church rather than those who have not yet found a church home.
How should pastors determine whether or not their congregations are committed to God? What can a pastor do to help boost the numbers of people actually committed to their faith? Should we take those not in church into account when determing the health of our congregation?