As stated, there seems to be no end to so-called studies, reports, and Barna Group statistics about churches, attendance, defection factors, youth/millennial church attendance, causes of failure and success, et al.
“Statistics don’t lie; people do.”
In the Christian community where “truth” is rightfully valued, what passes for truth too often becomes a reason for the loss of credibility in society. Some of the causes are . . . .
- wanting something to be true
- a willing disregard of information
- a lack of critical thinking
- sales promotion (books & conferences)
- the same sinful / worldly motivations of society in general
“The Barna Group” is one other most prolific spreaders of such disinformation. If “The Barna Group” reports that this-or-that trend is taking place, then that is part of the repeated mantra across various platforms.
“The Barna poll last week reported that those who identify as Christians . . . .
Recent data indicates that . . . “
Again, that does not mean that those who cite statistical studies aim to lie; it just means that statistics and such scientific studies and polling are fraught with erroneous statements! My minor for my Ph.D. was “Statistics,” as is the case for many other Ph.D. candidates because many Ph. D. dissertations are empirical studies. Let me assure you that statistical studies and polling are rampant with abuse and misuse, even in the best of circumstances.
The results of any study or poll all depend on . . . .
- who you poll or use for the subjects of the study
- the way questions are phrased
- the bias of those conducting the study
- how the variables were controlled
- what variable could not be controlled
- if there was a control group
- whether there was any peer review
- and/or how the study was conducted.
We all know that, and we know it all too well after the national elections and the “science” that continues to support the Covid crisis! After 2020 — it is shocking that anyone believes in the kind of studies, reports, polls, and so-called “research” that groups like Barna produce! But far too many do.
Many “statistical truths” are counter-intuitive! They fly in the face of reason and/or common sense. They ought to be questioned from the get-go! However, when one attempts to do that, too often, there is no supporting data or study one can examine to determine how such a conclusion was reached.
“When Christians were asked whether or not they . . . . ”
What do you mean by the word ‘Christians’?”
√ I don’t believe for a moment that the rate of divorce among Christians is as high or higher than those who make no profession of faith in Christ. . And no surprise, there are no studies that support that assertion!
√ I don’t believe for a moment that people decided whether they are going to revisit a church after the first 10 minutes of walking into the church. . And no surprise, there are no studies that support that assertion!
√ I don’t believe for a moment that young people have been attracted to the church by contemporary Christain music.
♦ Would someone please show me the increased attendance of “millennials” (or this-or-that “generation __”)!
Where is the support that the contemporary music used by the church has made any difference in who or how many now worship the Lord. If that were true, at least you could find some solace and consolation for such a dramatic change in church music!
You can’t report that attendance among “millennials” is down, while at the same time claim that contemporary music attracts the same demographic. Which is it?
If there is any argument being made, it is that millennials and the younger generation are moving toward more liturgical forms of worship! 
♦ It is counter-intuitive that those who are 55 and older prefer contemporary music to the hymns of the faith — that they would rather watch the performance of singers & lights on stage than engage in “all-church-‘cliff barrows leading’-congregational singing” of great hymns.
You sure can’t claim that the change to contemporary music in the church is what this age group wants, and/or that it encourages congregational participation — not by experience! Just look around!
. . . . .
Let’s do the study!
It is time for some solid support for what has been so life-changing in the local church — and so divisive! Where is the proof that this seismic change in church life has made a difference in outreach, attendance, evangelism, edification, spiritual fulfillment, and worship?
Where is the proof!
. . . . . .
I say . . .
“The emperor has no clothes!”
It is another urban legend waiting to be unmasked as untrue!
1. I am sure that there are those who profess to be a Christian and who are just as likely to end up with a failed marriage as those in the world since we are all part of the same cultural and social test group.
2. I am sure that some people make a decision in 10 minutes after entering a church, and that some people are faced with this-or-that situation upon arriving, and it turns them off from the start.
3. These links are only a FEW of the many and varied articles — they are anecdotal, and time will tell whether there will be studies catch up to the conclusions of the antedotal.
- et al……..