International (MNN) — A recent study by the Barna Research
Group reveals few Americans are concerned about their spiritual condition.
According to the Barna report, this
study shows that while most Americans value their faith and regularly engage in
faith practices, few say they have specific challenges related to the
development of their faith.
The national survey of Christian
parents commissioned by Good News Holdings and conducted by The Barna Group
found forty-percent of Christian parents of children between the ages of 3 and
18 said they do not face any spiritual challenges in their life. Among those
who identified the presence of any spiritual challenges, the most common issues
related to the spiritual development of their children.
That in and of itself doesn't seem
menacing. However, Barna concludes that
"Americans focus on what they consider to be the most important matters;
faith maturity is not one of them. The dominant spiritual change that we have
seen — Americans becoming less engaged in matters of faith — helps to explain
the surging secularization of our culture."
Global Advance's David Shibley agrees with this assessment
to an extent, noting the trend is opposite the evangelistic spirit he's
noticing elsewhere. "There is an intensified global hunger for God.
Obviously, there's been a rise in spirituality, which I believe is a search for
God. Tragically, here in the United
States, evangelism has waned, while a
spirituality interest has grown over these last several years."
However, Shibley also said, "I'm convinced that the American Church's
redemptive gift is vision. No one casts vision better than Americans, but we
have so much to learn from our brothers and sisters in other cultures. We learn
courage, holiness, humility and obedience from their examples."
Laid against the
backdrop of nearly two decades in training church leaders, he says the growth
is remarkable. Global Advance hosts and
sponsors dozens of Frontline Shepherds Conferences around the world every year.
These events are
catalysts for church planting and indigenous missions efforts. Their aim is
to provide national pastors and church leaders with a vision in their hearts
for the advance of the Gospel. Global Advance has designed tools for the
ongoing training of frontline shepherds such as CD Virtual Institutes, 2tim2.org, and the LifeBook training manual.
Shibley says their teams are now urgently training church
leaders with their Frontline Shepherds Conferences. "We want to do all
that we can, as fast as we can, to equip as many pastoral leaders around the
world as we can, so that we can advance the Gospel as far as we can. Even in
this month, we have nine conferences altogether because we do believe that
there is always an imperative connected to evangelism and missions and that it
needs to be recovered."
Pray that these Frontline Shepherds will be bold in their