The chart below, results from a national survey of more than 100,000 people, shows clearly the enormous communications problem facing the church.
The trends are alarming. Growth of our churches depends upon our ability to communicate effectively with the Unaffiliated of the young generations.
Good communication always starts with understanding, a willingness to listen and learn.
To communicate effectively with the Unaffiliated of the young generations, we have to engage with them at the visceral level to understand how they think and how they react.
Since the founding of our country, churches have operated in a Christian culture ... where the church is regarded as good ... where the Bible is regarded as the Word of God ... where there is consciousness of sin and need for repentance and forgiveness ... where Jesus is divine and Savior ... where people believe in life after death.
But, as the above chart shows, all that is quickly changing as older generations die off and new generations dominate.
For most Unaffiliated, their spiritual understanding is like a blank slate. Or maybe worse, because of misinformation or bad experiences with Christians. Many have made up their minds that they would never become a Christian and won't even listen to a gospel presentation.
There is growing bias against religion in the United States, particularly against Evangelicals.
We can no longer assume that people generally understand the basics of Christian faith or our vocabulary.
Spiritual conversation must be made interesting or relevant to their way of thinking or they won't engage in spiritual talk with Christians.
Street interviews started out as audio only, but we have since learned engagement and recording techniques that make respondents feel comfortable even in front of a camera, without loss of candid intimacy. In the future, all interviews will be video.
THIS SHEET explains how random Street Interviews in the Twin Cities fit into the whole scheme of Christian research
Street Interviews is a joint project between ChurchFacts and Steiger International. Steiger is a global ministry that focuses on the young urban population. In Steiger's words:
'The current urban generation, connected by consumerism, social media, and the entertainment industry forms the largest global culture ever to exist. It spans the globe, sharing the same values, listening to the same music, watching the same movies, and sharing the same posts.
'This global culture is largely influenced by one predominant worldview: Secular Humanism - God is irrelevant, and man is at the center. In this relativistic culture, we are god and consumerism is our religion. This is a generation that does not look to the church for answers but believes it to be a dead and empty tradition of the past. Either there is no God or, if he is there, he doesn’t interfere with our lives.'
Steiger is immersed in this culture and knows it well, world-wide.
Street Interviews in the Twin Cities are conducted by Steiger staff who are well-training for interaction with this population segment. Steiger interviewers have the age, dress, speech and manner of the people being interviewed.