The most recent Barna research on post-Christian American cities includes several cities where Faith Radio broadcasts. Notably:
- Hartford, CT at #7
- Madison, WI at #11
- Sioux Falls, SC at #33
- Cedar Rapids/Waterloo at #40
- Minneapolis/St. Paul at #48
- Kansas City at #92
So, what does that mean and how are we called to live as Christians in the context of post-Christendom America?
First, let’s acknowledge that the only authentically Christian city any of us is ever going to inhabit is the New Jerusalem described in the book of Revelation. Until then and outside of that reality, we live as resident aliens and ambassadors of the Kingdom of God in the midst of the kingdoms of a world that loves Him not.
So what did Barna’s research look at, what can we learn from it, and how can we use it in the conversations of our day? To qualify as post-Christian, individuals had to meet nine or more of the following factors. Highly post-Christian individuals meet 13 or more of the 16 factors.
So, a post-Christian person says they:
- Do not believe in God
- Identify as atheist or agnostic
- Disagree that faith is important in their lives
- Have not prayed to God (in the last week)
- Have never made a commitment to Jesus
- Disagree that the Bible is accurate
- Have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
- Have not attended a Christian church (in the last 6 months)
- Agree that Jesus committed sins
- Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
- Have not read the Bible (in the last week)
- Have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
- Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
- Have not attended a religious small group (in the last week)
- Bible engagement scale: low (have not read the Bible in the past week and disagree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate)
- Not born again
Consider the worldview of a person who would say “yes, that describes me” to 9 or 13 or more of these statements.
Now, let’s turn it around. Ask these questions positively to yourself, your kids, your friends, and neighbors. Use the Barna list to start a conversation in your own community. These kinds of questions—compared to ticking the “Christian” box in a census—get beyond how people loosely identify themselves and to the core of what people actually believe and how they behave as a result of their belief. These indicators give a much more accurate picture of belief and unbelief in America.Living in a post-Christian city