'We've Reached a Time of Christian Invisibility in Our Culture', George Barna Says

'We've Reached a Time of Christian Invisibility in Our Culture', George Barna Says

George Barna, Founder of the Barna Group and Director of Research at the Cultural Research Center, Arizona Christian University, recently said that we’ve reached "Christian invisibility in our culture” amid a decline in biblical worldview and diminishing interest in spiritual formation.

“People have become more selfish, churches have become less influential, pastors have become less Bible-centric,” Barna, a professor at Arizona Christian University and the director of research at its Cultural Research Center, told The Christian Post in a recent interview. “Families have invested less of their time and energy in spiritual growth, particularly of their children. The media now influences the Church more than the Church influences the media, or the culture for that matter. The Christian Body tends to get off track arguing about a lot of things that really don't matter.”

Barna noted a troubling trend, such as a decline in discipleship and the lack of solid, biblical training in seminaries. He also contended that churches use measures for success, such as attendance, fundraising, and infrastructure have little to do with Jesus’ mission.

“There is poor leadership in seminaries that mislead local churches into thinking that they're actually training individuals whom God has called to be leaders and are qualified to be leaders and certifying them to lead local churches, not knowing any better bringing them on,” he said. Despite seminaries having “good intentions,” Barna said they are setting up young leaders for failures.

"You get what you measure," he argued. "So if you measure the wrong things, you'll get the wrong outcomes … [pastors] measure how many people show up, how much money they raise, how many programs they offer, how many staff persons they hire, how much square footage they built out. Jesus didn't die for any of that. So we're measuring the wrong stuff and, consequently, we get the wrong outcomes."

In response to these issues, Barna called for a return to biblical roots, adding that it would entail rethinking the modern church structure.

“If we were to go back to the Bible, I think we'd recognize the local church, the institutional church, as we've created it, is man-made. It's not in the Scriptures,” he said. “The programs, the titles, the buildings, all the stuff that has become sacrosanct in American culture and around the world is not necessarily biblical." 

"Jesus didn't come to build institutions, He came to build people. And we see that model in His life. He devoted the ministry portion of His life to investing in individuals. And that's what each of us who are followers of Christ need to be doing.”

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Milton QuintanillaMilton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for CrosswalkHeadlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.