A new report shows how counterproductive it is for Christians to keep their faith "private" especially when Christian teaching requires believers to spread the Gospel.
A new report released by Barna Research showed that most Christians view their spiritual lives as private, which researchers believe is "counterproductive to their mission in society," especially when the role of Jesus' followers as disciples is to help spread the Gospel.
According to the Christian Post, a report titled "Growing Together" was recently published by the Barna Research group, in which they showed how 56% of Christians in America view their spiritual lives as something that is private. A majority of those who said they see their spiritual lives as private were less likely to say that it's very important for them to see progress in their spiritual life. The same majority were less likely to say that their faith is very important in their life today and also less likely to have weekly time with God.
"In other words, the idea that faith should be kept private is one part of a bigger swirl of negative conditions that need to be addressed for people to see spiritual growth," researchers at the Barna group said.
The new insights were the result of two online surveys conducted from December 22, 2020 to January 18, 2021 among 2,511 randomly selected adults who self-identify as Christian and live in the U.S. and another survey conducted between June 1 to July 4, 2020 among 2,930 adults.
The Barna Research report found that Christian adults yearn for friendships that would challenge them and help them grow in their faith. However, the older they get, the less likely they are to be part of a discipleship community. The research showed how boomers were be the generation that least likely to be part of a discipleship community. Most or up oto 63% of them believe that their spiritual life is entirely private.
Meanwhile, Gen Z were found to be more than twice as likely as boomers to be part of a discipleship community. Most of them do not view their spiritual life as private, but a significant minority of them believe so. Researchers added that the impact of technology on culture is one factor that causes this.
"Even before COVID-19, individuals expressed feeling distant from others, and Christians are not exempt," the report said. "Part of this can reasonably be attributed to the rhythms of our digital society. We have become accustomed to experiencing hyper-connection and disconnection all at once."
Barna Research underscored how Jesus, especially with His disciples, did not keep His faith private. Theresearchers argued, "Discipleship is a powerful way to meet a communal need for vulnerability and companionship."
They explained further that as they were discipled by Jesus, their day to day lives were "intermingled" and that life was "not private or compartmentalized." They all shared meals, feelings, trials, and celebrations together. Researchers urged, "Christians should consider what it would mean to do the same today."
Meanwhile in October 2021, Probe Ministries released a survey that showed how almost 70% of born-again Christians disagree with the biblical belief that Jesus is the only way to God. The group, which aims to support the Church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview, also found that the acceptance of pluralism was the top reason given by born-again Christians for not telling others about their faith.