According to Barna research, 66% of churchgoing Americans say they have “felt a real and personal connection with God” there. If we are grading on the same scale as my kids’ schools, that translates to a D-. Just barely passing. And that only accounts for those who have had such an experience without accounting for frequency, so it could have been only once for some of them. Barna reports that 44% of churchgoers feel a connection with God at church on a weekly basis. Eighteen percent say monthly.
If people don’t connect with God on a regular basis, why do they bother to attend? Or, maybe church is no longer considered the primary place for people to connect with God. With my book about the place attraction holds in the Bible almost complete, this concept fascinates me. Jesus assigned us to be the light of the world, so we’re supposed to attract people to him. I can’t see how we’re supposed to do that if the people who are already in our churches don’t have a vital experience.
But, maybe instead of measuring the quality of our experience this info addresses a new perspective on where and how we should expect to find intimacy with our Creator. Maybe not. If it isn’t church, then we need to figure out what role church supposed to play.
What aspect of church do we expect people to make that connection with? A teacher at heart, it’s my hope that a relevant exposition of the Bible will have some influence. For many, singing in praise to God with the rest of the church provides the connection. But, should people anticipate weekly worship as the most significant time to meet with God? I wouldn’t be surprised if a large percentage of people find their connection with God during small group discussions, while serving others, after making what was learned on Sunday a part of real life during the week, or even during the thought process involved with writing (or reading) a blog.
As I type this I realize I’m assuming the “weekly” in this study refers to Sunday morning, or whatever day your church worships together. My brief hunt for clarification on the Barna site was unfruitful. Nonetheless, I’m interested in knowing where you tend to experience God the most, and, if you’re willing, how often do you feel a close connection to Jesus in that setting? What role should church play in aiding this intimacy?