A recent report issued by the Barna Group in November of 2011 has turned up some interesting findings related to church size and the nature of an individual’s theological beliefs and actions. This study, which was based upon interviews of more then 3000 church-going Protestants, has revealed that individuals who attend large churches are more likely to adhere to orthodox Christian beliefs than those that attend churches with 100 or fewer adult attendees.
More interesting still were the findings related to behaviors and church size. According to the report, “on seven of the eight behavioral measures, attenders of large churches were substantially more likely than those of small churches to be active. (These included behaviors such as attending church in the past week, reading the Bible in the past week, volunteering at their church in the past week, etc.) The average difference related to these seven behaviors was 17 percentage points.”
So what do you think? Do these findings surprise you, or is this what you already expected to be true?
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* “Born again Christians” were defined as people who said they had made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that was still important in their life today and who also indicated they believed that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as “born again.”
** “Evangelicals” meet the born again criteria (described above) plus seven other conditions. Those include saying their faith is very important in their life today; believing they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; believing that Satan exists; believing that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; asserting that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. Being classified as an evangelical is not dependent upon church attendance or the denominational affiliation of the church attended. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as “evangelical.”