Thursday, November 15, 2007

Five Kinds of Christians

The United States is described in mainstream media as largely Christian (between 70 and 80 percent, depending on the study, identify themselves as "Christian"), and compared to the rest of the world, this is certainly the case. However, not all within this vast group of Christians are alike.

To understand the range and differences among American Christians, Christianity Today International (publisher of Leadership) recently partnered with Zondervan Publishers to commission Knowledge Networks to conduct attitudinal and behavioral research of U.S. Christians. In September 2006, more than 1,000 self-identified Christians 18 years of age and older were surveyed on their religious beliefs and practices. The results reveal a number of significant differences, illustrated by the examples of Hua and Smith. In fact, portraits of five distinct segments emerged from the study. We have named them Active, Professing, Liturgical, Private, and Cultural Christians.

read complete article here

Active Christians 19%
-Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ
-Committed churchgoers
-Bible readers
-Accept leadership positions
-Invest in personal faith development through the church
-Feel obligated to share faith; 79% do so.

Professing Christians 20%
-Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ
-Focus on personal relationship with God and Jesus
-Similar beliefs to Active Christians, different actions
-Less involved in church, both attending and serving
-Less commitment to Bible reading or sharing faith

Liturgical Christians 16%
-Predominantly Catholic and Lutheran
-Regular churchgoers
-High level of spiritual activity, mostly expressed by serving in church and/or community
-Recognize authority of the church

Private Christians 24%
-Largest and youngest segment
-Believe in God and doing good things
-Own a Bible, but don't read it
-Spiritual interest, but not within church context
-Only about a third attend church at all
-Almost none are church leaders

Cultural Christians 21%
-Little outward religious behavior or attitudes
-God aware, but little personal involvement with God
-Do not view Jesus as essential to salvation
-Affirm many ways to God
-Favor universality theology

read summary of survey here
I wonder if we can categorise Christians in Malaysia and Singapore as Active, Professing, Liturgical, Private and Cultural. It will be interesting to do a similar study in Malaysia and Singapore.

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Blogger pearlie said...

Thanks for the post - a good one.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi pearlie,

It is an interesting survey, isn't it. 60% of churches in USA has less than 300 members. I hope they will publish or make available the raw data.

12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is almost the same as in Malaysia. May be in the U.S. there is the 6th type of Christians who call themselves Christians but who do not get married and they just stay with one another and the 7th type of sexually disorientated Christians; the gays, the lesbians and all that. If any country calls itself a Christian country, the the leaders and all the people should spend time in prayer, worshipping, fasting and meditating on God's words. Doing things God's ways. Not human ways. Not letting soldiers die meaninglessly. Malaysia calls herself an Islamic country and the leaders pray the Islamic way. Does this ever occur in anybody's mind ? We do not have to be spiritual to see that.

11:01 PM  

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