Tuesday, July 8, 2008

More on Reveal

Several months ago Willow Creek and Bill Hybels made quite a splash with the results of a study called "Reveal." This study was on the overall health of the church, and it looked at a variety of questions, considering responses broken down by the relative maturity of the respondents in their faith. The most dramatic conclusion was that many churches, including Willow Creek, were far less successful in helping build self-feeding mature disciples than they could have imagined.

The result of this study was published in a book, "Reveal", and the survey taken in hundreds of churches of a variety of sizes and denominations, wth several more results now available. There is an FAQ and a demographics report online. Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research has a lot to say in a recent post about this study as well. So why is this current and important?

Last week the Wall Street Journal ran not one but two articles on this Reveal study! Less Seeking more Thrills and Churches Work on their Message. Willow Creek is definitely changing the way they're doing several things in response to this, including kicking up the level of content. As I pointed out last week, Granger Community Church also reported their own results with the Reveal study and the ways they are looking to change in response to it. Again, they're looking to be more intentional on their discipleship training and teaching. What kind of results are prompting this? In mainline churches, a whopping 83% believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. What about evangelical churches? 57% believe this as well (has someone changed the definition of evangelical on me??!) Other answers showed similar discrepancies with biblical teaching. In other words, even in churches where leadership is strong and where the authority of the bible is a core value, a huge number of members and attenders would not agree with the essential teachings of their church. This has really caught the attention of leadership in churches who are trying to live out the great commission. I wonder what a study of our church would Reveal?

No comments: