Digital interactions are changing how we talk to each other about our faith. The ubiquitous use of social media and mobile devices has seemingly created more opportunities to share about Christianity—but in a complex cultural and spiritual climate, there’s some give and take. Barna sees two trends at work: Christians are either eager or reluctant about engaging in spiritual conversations.
We recently looked at the most common reasons for American adults’ hesitations about spiritual conversations. Now, in an infographic from Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age, a new report in partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministries, we’ll explore the opposite: the common traits and motivations of those who frequently discuss their faith.
In order to understand what, if anything, distinguishes Christians who talk often about faith from those who don’t, researchers created two categories: eager conversationalists (who have had 10 or more spiritual conversations in the past year) and reluctant conversationalists (nine or fewer spiritual conversations). More than one-quarter of Christians qualifies as eager (27%) while the other three out of four are reluctant (74%).27% of Christians say they have had 10 or more spiritual conversations in the past year. Click To Tweet
What makes this first group of eager conversationalists distinct from their reluctant counterparts is a set of traits that fall into five broad categories. These include “good spiritual practices” like prayer (98%), reading the Bible (64%) and attending church (62%); “belief in salvation through Jesus alone” which includes a strong belief that everyone needs to have their sins forgiven (90%); “a sense of personal responsibility” like sharing their faith with non-believers (77%); “confidence coupled with positive experiences” like feeling peace (78%) and gladness (86%) after sharing their faith; and “intentionality and readiness” which is when things like spiritual conversations usually happen unexpectedly (55%). See the infographic below for more about what drives this group.
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About the Research
The primary source of data in this report is a survey of 1,714 U.S. adults, comprised of an over-sample of 535 Millennials and 689 Practicing Christians, conducted online June 22–July 13, 2017. Respondents were recruited from a national consumer panel, and minimal weighting was applied to ensure representation of certain demographic factors, such as age, gender, ethnicity and region. The sample error for this data is plus or minus 2.2% at the 95% confidence level for the total sample. A subgroup of participants had either: “shared my views on faith or religion in the last 5 years” OR “someone has shared their views on faith or religion with me in the last 5 years.”
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About Barna Group
Barna Group is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984.
© Barna Group, 2018