Technology Is Not as Big an Influence on US Christians as Assumed, says Barna

“Overall, we see that the influence of recent digital trends on churchgoers is undeniable, though perhaps not as extreme as you’d expect,” says the Barna Group in a recent research survey of 1,600 U.S. adults that included 794 Christians. As part of their project entitled “State of the Church 2020,” the evangelical research group set out to measure the impact of technology on the spiritual growth of Christians.

Barna took a look at subjects pertaining to Christians, such as the use of video sermons, electronic devices in church, whether such devices can be a distraction, and what types of technology they subscribe to that may influence their Christian walk. The study led them to conclude that “Christian Millennials are more likely than older generations of Christians to report using digital tools to grow spiritually–such as listening to a sermon via podcast–even describing these kinds of things as a substitute for church attendance.”

Of the nearly 50% of Christians who say they occasionally use Christian resources in place of attending church, only 13% of them said they “often” consult technological Christian resources, only 9% do “half the time,” and only 27% do so “occasionally.” The more traditional forms of resources for Christian growth still have a greater influence on most practicing Christians.  They also discovered these interesting statistics:

  • 75% say they listen closely to whoever is speaking in church.
  • 36% use print Bibles.
  • 15% use e-Bibles.
  • 25% take notes during a sermon or other teaching time.
  • 17% admit getting distracted during times of teaching.
  • 10% fact check the person teaching in real time.
  • 7% say they browse texts, emails, or social media on smartphones during sermons.
  • 46% use the radio weekly for Christian music.
  • 33% use Christian radio weekly for Christian teaching.
  • 39% read Christian books every week.
  • 38% consult social media to help in their Christian walk every week.
  • 26% download sermons in podcast form every week.
  • 34% of Millennials claim they often use other Christian resources to replace church attendance.

For more details about the Barna Group’s findings and the ramifications they have for the church, you can read their article, “Do Americans Replace Traditional Church with Digital Faith Expressions?” from March 12, 2020.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17

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