Twenty-five percent of professing, practicing Christians live in households that regularly pray and practice Bible reading together and conduct outreach together to others, while 28 percent live in a home that does none of the items on that list, according to new research by Barna.
The survey of 2,347 adults and teens who were identified as practicing Christians found that only a minority lived in what Barna termed “spiritually vibrant” households. The poll was conducted in partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministries as part of Barna’s new Households of Faith report.
The goal of the poll was to examine how Christian homes practiced their faith together, and not as individuals. Christians who lived alone were not included in the survey.
Practicing Christians, according to Barna, are identified as self-identified Christians who “say their faith is very important in their lives and have attended a worship service within the past month.”
Most practicing Christians, though, don’t live in spiritually vibrant homes.
Barna asked Christians about three elements of their house’s faith practice:
– Spiritual practices – defined here as praying every day or two together and reading the Bible weekly, together.
– Spiritual conversations – defined as talking about God together at least weekly.
– Hospitality – defined as welcoming non-family guests regularly, or at least several times a month.
Only 25 percent of practicing Christians live in households where these three elements are practiced, as defined. Thirty-three percent live in homes that regularly follow “spiritual practices” and “spiritual conversations,” while 14 percent live in households that practice only hospitality. A total of 28 percent of practicing Christians live in homes that never follow these practices.
“Vibrant households stand out in that they have meaningful, fun, quality time with both their housemates and extended household members,” the research said. “… Vibrant households come together for games (32%). They share meals (63% eat breakfast together and 75% eat dinner together) as well as their feelings (59%) on almost a daily basis. Vibrancy also correlates with group discipline, like working on the house or yard together (34% every day or two) or hosting household or family meetings (68%).”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.