Feb

24

2013

Joe Carter|11:59 AM CT

Survey: Spiritual Maturity Comes Through Intentionality

The Story: According to a survey released by LifeWay Research, Christians on the path to spiritual maturity have a habit of seeking God through prayer and worship—not just in church but also as a part of their daily life as a way to please and honor God

The Background: LifeWay surveyed 2,930 American adults who attend a Protestant church once a month or more on the discipleship attribute they identify as "Seeking God." This attribute was one of eight attributes of discipleship that LifeWay says consistently shows up in the lives of maturing Christians. Seeking God invokes the intentional steps a Christian takes to follow Christ for the purpose of becoming like Him.

"Assessing a Christian's spiritual growth without measures of seeking God would be like picking a flight with the right distance without confirming the destination," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. "Spiritual maturity is not an accident; seeking God speaks of intentionality - the believer who desires to know God in a deeper way and strives toward that goal."

A demographically balanced online panel was used for the interviewing. Respondents could respond in English, Spanish or French. The sample provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed ±1.81 percent, though margins of error are higher in subgroups.

The Takeaways: Some of the more interesting findings from the survey include:

• Seventy-eight percent of churchgoers indicate "one of the main reasons I live my life the way I do is to please and honor God." Six percent disagree with the statement and 16 percent neither agree nor disagree.

• Besides prayer, 54 percent of churchgoers say they set aside time daily to a few times a week for private worship, praise, or thanksgiving to God. Nearly a third (30 percent) say they do so between once a week and once a month. Seventeen percent indicate they rarely/never set aside time for private worship, praise or thanksgiving to God.

• Women are more likely than men (58 percent vs. 49 percent) to set aside time daily to a few times a week for private worship, praise, or thanksgiving to God.

• Three quarters (75 percent) agree (strongly or somewhat) with the statement: "I find myself praying at the spur of the moment throughout the day." Thirteen percent of churchgoers disagree with the statement. Eighty-four percent of female churchgoers and 66 percent of male churchgoers surveyed agree with the statement.

Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator. You can follow him on Twitter.

Categories: Articles of Interest
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  • Paula

    If we can generalize this, only half of the church is worshipping and seeking during the week. That's awful.

    The discrepancies between male and female believers is also serious, and implications are eternally greater than my marital status (single), but unfortunately, that's the first thing that comes to mind.

    • Joe Carter

      I agree with you, Paula. If only about half of the people who are attending services regularly are actively "seeking God" then it's no wonder their is a paucity of spiritual maturity in the American church.

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  • Carlos

    After the Lord God has chosen to forgive you in mercy and grace (salvation), you must then continue running the the good race (not towards salvation, which is already securely and permanenetly provided for by the Blood and Sacrifice of our Lord Adonai Yeschua Mashiach), but towards intentional dicipleship and maturation in the Lord so as to be able to give every man an account of your faith in the true and living God and to strongly defend the faith once and for all deliverd unto the saints! {that would be us}..