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Americans Strongly Desire Spiritual Growth: An ‘Unprecedented Opportunity’

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Americans Strongly Desire Spiritual Growth: An ‘Unprecedented Opportunity’

By Movieguide® Contributor

According to a recent Barna poll, the majority of adults in the U.S. want to grow spiritually, and are open to this in a way they were not in the past. 

The poll of 2,000 adults found that 74 percent of Americans say they “would like to grow spiritually,” while 44 percent say they are “more open to God today” than they were pre-pandemic. Additionally, 77 percent say they believe in God “or a higher power.” 

David Kinnaman, CEO of Barna, said the research reveals a “tremendous opportunity for faith leaders.” 

Kinnaman went on to say however, that this opportunity is only opportune if the Christian Church today is equal to the task of seizing it. 

“[Americans] are open to more that truly satisfies,” Kinnaman wrote. “The challenge facing the Church and parachurch ministries is whether they are ready and able to meet the spiritually open – where they are, as they are. Our data show the Church has real work to do to bridge the trust gap for people who are spiritual but not religious.” 

This is certainly a stern warning attached to a cause for great optimism. In a world where so many are seeking meaning amidst the wreckage of postmodern western culture, it is difficult to predict which way those in a holding position of being “not religious, but spiritual” (Peter Jones, One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference, p. 130) will turn. 

As Pastor Mike Signorelli has said about the entrance of occultism into the mainstream: “New Age practices are becoming a normal phenomenon,”….“Even secular companies are provoking people to step into the spiritual realm or to believe in the supernatural in a way that, it’s like we’re moving past atheism.” 

In this battle between light and darkness, the Spirit of God and the spirit of the time, Kinniman and Barna are right to pair optimism with a cautious caveat. 

Let us pray that the Christian Church today is up to the challenge of meeting postmodern man where he is – desperately seeking a metanarrative to make sense of the world while he paradoxically and assiduously protests against the existence of any metanarrative. For it is only the Story of Christ, the Creator and King, which offers a truly satisfying and glorious metanarrative.