This transcript is taken from a Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on 9/22/23. To listen to the program, please click HERE.
Isaac Crockett: Hello and welcome to the program. I’m Pastor Isaac Crockett and joining me as a co-host for this Friday edition of Stand in the Gap Today is Dr. Jamie Mitchell, the director of church culture and pastoral engagement at the American Pastors Network. Jamie, thank you so much. You’ve been filling in for Sam Rohrer as he’s out of the office for a little while, but thank you so much for being on with us today, Jamie, as a co-host.
Jamie Mitchell: My joy, Isaac. And especially today with Dr. Barna on the program, I am thoroughly looking forward to our topics today.
Isaac Crockett: So am I. We are excited about our guest, Dr. George Barna, a regular guest and somebody who wears and has worn many different hats. He’s a professor at the Arizona Christian University. He’s the director there of the Cultural Research Center, a researcher, he’s been a speaker, preacher, pastor, father, husband, all kinds of things. Baseball card collector, all sorts of things. George, thank you so much for taking time to be on the program today to talk about the subject we’re about to get into.
George Barna: I always look forward to my conversations with you. Thanks for having me.
Isaac Crockett: Today we want to talk about walking the talk and really getting some insights from you. You’ve recently done a survey for the Family Research Council about cultural beliefs, and that sounds right up your alley. But we want to dissect this, dive into it and get these insights on what Christians really believe about social issues. I think one of the things that was eye-opening to me when I was growing up as a teenager and a college student, I was in ministries that we did a lot of door to door or going into downtown areas and surveying people about their religious and spiritual beliefs. I thought if I interviewed a Muslim that he would say all these different things that the Quran talks about. And I found out that many Muslims that I was interviewing, they believe differently than the other ones I interviewed.
I realize they’re not all monolithic. A former Muslim told me, “Well, Isaac, they don’t all know their religion as well as they should. It’s just like many Christians don’t know the Bible as well as they should.” That was very eye-opening for me. And I see this in the survey today that you’ve done, George, that those who claim to be Bible believing, those who claim to be evangelical, those who claim to go to church regularly and they really do when it comes to what they actually believe, their walking of the talk, so to speak, I was very discouraged. I just want to get into that but George, why is it concerning that so many American Christians, even those who would be tagged as born-again believers, why is it so concerning that they do not have a biblical worldview?
George Barna: Let me say Isaac, that your experience with surveys is mine every day of the week, every week of the year. People in America, even if they call themselves Christians, frequently don’t know what they believe, why they believe it, or most importantly, how to translate what they believe into action. When we talk about born again Christians not having a biblical worldview, a lot of people don’t understand that. It’s like, how can they not have a biblical worldview? They’ve asked Christ to be their savior. And we find a big, big gap between that eternal fire insurance mentality and a discipleship mentality where you really want to be Christlike. You want everything you do to honor and to imitate Christ. In order to do that, because we know that you do what you believe, your worldview is critical in that process.
So, having a biblical worldview is very, very important. Every decision that every person makes, every moment of their life flows through their worldview, but not everybody has a biblical worldview. So, what we want to do is everything we can basically to ensure that people who have decided that they want to be Christian, that they want to be Christlike, they want to be a genuine follower of Jesus Christ, that they start out by knowing what the Bible teaches so that they can think like him because Jesus’s thinking reflect in the scriptures. Most Christians in America, whether they’re born again or just Christian in name only, do not reflect the thoughts of Christ. Keep in mind that it’s important because everybody has a worldview. If you don’t have a biblical worldview, you’ve got a worldview. It just happens to be a different one. All of those other worldviews tend to be quite self-centered.
So, your worldview is going to cause you to make decisions that make you selfish, narcissistic, that are going to create social distance from other people. It’s going to be a worldview that primarily pushes you towards self-love rather than loving God and other people. Why? Because that’s what’s going to give you more comfort than doing the hard stuff of loving people, of loving God. Yeah, worldview makes a huge difference. The fact that the people that we typically consider to be the backbone of our local churches, the fact that most of them don’t have a biblical worldview, and the fact that a huge majority of them don’t have a biblical worldview, five out of six of them don’t. That’s indeed troubling.
Jamie Mitchell: George, I’m someone who still believes, and I’m finding out that this is less and less, I believe what Jesus said that we are to be light and salt in the world. We’re to make a difference, we’re to make an impact. And I understand how we do that has changed, but if we don’t even believe or see that the culture and what’s happening in society needs a change, we’re never going to try to influence. I’m really interested to find out what you’ve learned in this survey on social issues and worldview. What were some of the key findings in that survey on that research work that you did concerning the social ideas? The social opinions of believers?
George Barna: Yeah. Let me just challenge one of your thoughts there, Jamie, about if we don’t know what the Bible says, we’re never going to try to influence the culture. Actually, that’s not quite true because what we find is that people are trying to influence the culture all the time. The problem is they’re not influencing it from a biblical point of view. They’re taking their worldview and they want other people to embrace their own worldview. And since it’s not biblical, when they get that kind of influence and they have that influence, they’re moving people away from scripture, rather towards scripture, even if they think they’re doing it in the name of Christ or they’re doing it as a quote, unquote “Christian.” So, in the survey that we did, it was a survey just of churchgoing adults around the country represented in the sample. We looked at their perspectives on abortion and we took a look at what they believe about involvement related to abortion, their position on abortion, what influences their ideas about abortion and many other things.
We looked at what they believe about elections and how they vote, how often they vote, how they choose who to vote for. And we looked at things like their worldview and their key beliefs and what they believe about worldview. Do they think they have a biblical worldview? Why do they think that? What’s their church doing or not doing to help them have a biblical worldview, what they think their church should be doing to help them develop a biblical worldview? And then diving into some of the actual questions of what they do believe. So, it was a pretty deep survey, pretty extensive survey, taking a deeper look at the church. And it wasn’t always a pretty picture in terms of what we found.
Isaac Crockett: What an important survey it was though. As you said, it was not always a pretty picture. We’ll talk about this when we come back from this break, but after I read through it, I read through it again. I almost couldn’t believe some of those numbers. But what a wake-up call. We really want to dive into some of this, ask you some more questions about these findings, but we’re going to take our first break. We’ll be right back after this.
Isaac Crockett: Welcome back to the program. Our guest today is Dr. George Barna. And George, we’re talking about a survey that you recently did for the FRC. And it’s about social issues. I read your surveys, I read your books and things, and they’re very impactful. But this one was maybe the most shocking that I remember reading. I went down to my study after reading through this a couple of times because I just found some of these statistics just so shocking. I got on my knees and I just asked the Lord for forgiveness for us pastors, for us church members and churchgoers.
I do believe we’re starting to experience the wrath of God, but I’m afraid that we are due for much more out of discipline for the way we have gone astray, for how we have turned our backs on the obvious truths of the Bible. I think one of the ones that you highlighted first in this was for how we treat life, human life made in the image, created in the image of God, and looking at that these are people who go to church on a regular basis. These are supposedly Bible believing Christians. George, all these statistics, this one really catches I think anybody’s attention that sees this. Can you just explain to us what those results showed us, what they reflected not just about churchgoers, but about the pastors and the pulpits, what they’re communicating or maybe not communicating?
George Barna: Sure. What we found is that about half of all churchgoers, a little bit less actually, say that human life is sacred. We’re starting from a deficit point when you’ve got a minority of people who are regularly attending Christian churches who say that human life is sacred simply because it’s a life that God made. And so, you’ve got a lot of other different perspectives that people buy into. But we go from there to the fact that then when we talk about whether or not regular churchgoers consider themselves to be pro-life or not, we’ve got about six out of 10 who would characterize themselves as pro-life. Again, not nearly the numbers that you would expect for regular churchgoers. We also find that about one out of six, 16% of the individuals who were part of the survey admitted to having participated in an abortion in the past, paying for one, encouraging one, actually going through the procedures. That’s also a very significant number.
And I’m not trying to be judgmental here. I’m just putting the numbers on the table for us to consider. Now, when we asked all of these people, “What is it that most directly and deeply influences your ideas about life and abortion?” What we found is that 71% of the churchgoers said it’s my moral perceptions and convictions. It’s my religious beliefs. Those are the things that are most influential. We also talked with them a little bit more deeply about all those religious beliefs, talked with them about their church experience. And we found that, again, a minority of regular churchgoers said that they’d been taught anything at their church during the past year about the importance or the value or the protection of life. We found that that was much more common among Catholics than it was among people who attend Protestant churches.
A majority of Catholics said they’d heard about it in their churches. It was a smaller minority among Protestants who’d heard about it in their church. And then we found that by better than a two to one margin, churchgoers said that they want to hear teaching about life issues more often than they’re hearing them now. They said that twice as often as those who said that they want to hear about it less often from the pulpit. But again, there was even a difference there where it was Catholics who were saying they wanted to hear more of these kinds of biblical and religious arguments in favor of life.
Then you heard that from Protestants. Protestants, to some extent, appear to be indicating that they’re burned out on all of this, or at least they’re indifferent to it. They don’t want to hear very much about it. So, it was an eye-opener, hearing all of that. We also found that there was even a lack of consensus among all these churchgoers about what the Bible teaches about life and abortion. When we asked them whether they thought certain things were taught in the scriptures related to these issues, we found that there was a big difference of opinion across the board on those things.
Jamie Mitchell: Wow, George, you are hitting it exactly where we have seen it and sensed it working with so many pastors. The problem is that pastors are silent or they’re fearful to talk on these issues or somewhere along the line they’ve been told that you stay away from that, like you stay away from the third rail of a train. But on this coming Monday, I’m hosting a program on helping Christians sort out the ballot and try to get a decision-making matrix to go to wisdom when it comes to election. I’m interested, what did you find out about elections? Who people vote for, how people even feel about elections and politics and those kinds of things, and does the Bible inform any of their ideas about that?
George Barna: Yeah. Over the years, Jamie, we’ve learned a lot about these things. This current survey indicated to us that people who regularly attend church are likely to vote on a fairly consistent basis. They may not be as consistent in voting for the off-year elections, the local elections, but in most national, primary and general elections, they do tend to show up at higher numbers than other people. We also found that interestingly, about half of them say that they choose the candidates that they vote for based on what the Bible teaches, what the Bible teaches about issues, what the Bible teaches about the character of candidates. Now, on the one hand, we can say, oh, well that’s good. We got half of them doing that. On the other hand, we’ve got to say, wait a minute. If they’re not turning to the Bible to understand how should I be thinking about elections and about governance and about candidates, about the current issues, then they must be getting their input from other non-biblical sources.
That’s troublesome to me to know that half of all churchgoers readily admit that they’re not even going to the Bible to get that kind of insight. We can look at some examples of this, and for instance, if we look at some of the specific issues, going back to the value of life and abortion, things of that nature, what we found is that a huge proportion of people who regularly attend church don’t believe that the Bible speaks to that. We look at something like transgenderism and we found that only half of regular churchgoers believe that the Bible is clear and decisive in its teaching about whether or not transgenderism is morally acceptable. I think as spiritual leaders, those of us who are pastors and teachers might want to take another look at the agenda that we’ve put together of what we’re going to be teaching about because number one, we found that most Christians want their pastors to help them think about these things.
They want their pastors to show them what the Bible says about these things so that they can think more biblically and more consistently about how to honor God through their voting choices. We found that, not in this survey but in another survey that we did, that there are dozens of issues where a large majority of church people are saying, “I’m dying for my pastor to teach me about these things.” But as you rightly pointed out earlier, because that kind of teaching can be controversial, and one of the outcomes of that controversy is that some people might stop attending the churches, often we find that pastors are not willing to engage and those kinds of topics when they’re teaching. But I think it’s important to remind them, hey, Jesus didn’t shy from any of the current issues of the day. He went right after it. He wanted people to know these things, and we have to have that same mindset.
Isaac Crockett: That is so important. I think you’re exactly right that our human nature is afraid of getting into the controversial, but Jamie and I were talking on Monday about how confusing some of these lifestyles that… The transgenderism and things. The people that are involved with it, I’ve worked with them as a social worker, as a public school teacher, as a pastor, working with different people, and they’re very confused and they’re very chaotic many times, and the Bible brings truth to this and sheds light on it and tells us what we need to know. Real quickly, we’re running out of time here, but in about a minute or so, can you tell us any of the problems that you saw in regards from this survey you took for Family Research Council with people’s thinking with transgenderism?
George Barna: Yeah, we looked at a number of different issues, and so there’s clearly confusion about that issue within people in the church, where again, this is one of those things they’re not hearing about from the pulpit, and it’s one of those things that they believe the Bible probably doesn’t even speak to it. They don’t know, but they don’t believe necessarily that the Bible is clear and decisive and it’s teaching about it. Gender identification or sexual identification, very similar, a huge proportion of church people saying, “Yeah, I don’t think the Bible actually speaks to that.” What’s going to happen as a result of that? Naturally, they’re going to turn to the culture and they’re going to get their views from CNN and MSNB C and the Biden administration and so forth. The moral acceptability of homosexuality. Another thing we looked at in the survey where people say, “Yeah, the Bible is not clear on this.” So, as pastors, we’ve got to help our people know what does the Bible teach about this?
Isaac Crockett: Amen. We need to be teaching what the Bible teaches, but we’re going to take another quick time out. We’re going to come back and ask Dr. Barna about what we should do with all this data. There’s a lot of information there. What should we do about it? Don’t go away. We’ll be right back on Stand in the Gap today.
Welcome back to the program, and if you’re just tuning into the program right now, I’m Pastor Isaac Crockett, and joining me today as my co-host is Dr. Jamie Mitchell, and we are talking with our good friend Dr. George Barna. We’ve been looking at insights into what Christians really believe about social issues, that really walking the talk. So many times, people claim to have a biblical worldview, but in this survey that we’ve been looking at, many who claim to have that biblical worldview, their actions and what they say they believe really don’t fit within a biblical worldview.
Jamie, 10 years ago, the American Pastors Network got started and one of the things was to help bolster pastors, to encourage them to give the truth from the pulpit. And then the Lord also answered prayer in allowing us to get into media, Stand in the Gap media, by being able to be an object lesson, truth in the public square. Could you talk to us, Jamie, one of the special speakers is on our program today that we’re going to have our 10th anniversary, but could you talk to us a little bit about this very soon upcoming 10th anniversary celebration for the Pastors Network?
Jamie Mitchell: We want all listeners, especially those in the Pennsylvania area, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware. If you can make your way to Geiger Town, which is right outside of Redding in the Morgantown area of Pennsylvania to High Point Baptist Chapel on Tuesday night, November the 14th, Tuesday, November the 14th for APN’s 10th anniversary celebration, forging ahead. It’s going to be a great night, music, testimonies. A lot of us who are on the radio and television, we’re going to be there that night. Our special guests that evening will be the Honorable Michele Bachmann, and somebody by the name of Dr. George Barna will be there as well. I think it’s going to be a great evening. The bonus of the night though, Isaac, is for pastors. We’ll have a special dinner before our evening celebration at 6:30, I think it’s at four o’clock for pastors and their wives to come.
I believe George is going to be addressing them, but we really need to gather around and celebrate, but to do what we love to do, and that is to challenge pastors to speak boldly, clearly provide clarity. Clarity is never our enemy. As George is unveiling for us here today, there’s confusion out there. Partly, the problem is I don’t think we are speaking regularly and clearly on these issues from the scriptures and tying our beliefs and our practices to what God’s word says. So, November 14th, Tuesday night, come and join us for our 10th anniversary celebration.
Isaac Crockett: All right. Very good. Okay. George, we’re looking at this survey that you did, which by the way, we talk a lot of times about you with your research with the Cultural Research Center where you’re a professor at Arizona Christian University and what you do there. But you’re also a senior research fellow for the Center for Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council, and what a great ministry they are, the Family Research Council really standing up for truth. And this survey that you’ve done about social issues, it’s eye-opening as you get to those numbers. You’re showing what people who claim to be regular Christians attending church Bible believing what they really believe.
In fact, yesterday’s program on Thursday of the Stand in the Gap Today, we interviewed Rob West, who was a former rocket scientist at NASA now working at Answers in Genesis. And he was talking about how unbelief, atheism and all those things have crept into all forms of education. And 90% of people in the church send their children to schools that teach these secular teachings. So, I guess it shouldn’t surprise us maybe what we have found, but many times people think of America as a Christian nation because the majority of Christians claim that label. Many times, as we look at them, we say, “Oh, well a lot of people claim to have a biblical worldview.” But based on your survey work, what does this latest research tell you about the actual health of American Christianity?
George Barna: I think we’re to a large extent Isaac, self-deceived. Let me just throw some numbers at you here, and I don’t want people’s eyes to glaze over. This will be simple. We’ve got two out of three Americans, 68% who call themselves Christians. We’re talking about adults. Half that number, about 34%, are what we might consider to be theologically defined, born again Christians. Meaning that these are people who don’t necessarily call themselves by that label, but there are people who say that when I die, I know I’ll go to heaven, but only because I’ve confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. That’s down to 34%. But then when we look at the number of that 34% who have a biblical worldview, we’re down to 13%. And then if we were to look at the criteria that Jesus gives us for what a disciple is, and he does that six times in the New Testament.
He talks about how you can be a disciple three times in the book of John. John eight, He says, “They’ll know you’re my disciple, if you obey my teaching.” John 13, “They’ll know you’re my disciple. If you love other disciples.” John 15, “They’ll know that you’re my disciple if you’re producing a lot of spiritual fruit.” In Luke 14, he was teaching them, he said, “You know what? You cannot be my disciple unless you love God so deeply and profoundly that it seems like you hate everybody and everything else in comparison.” That’s how extensive and intensive your love for God is.
Later in that same passage, Luke 14, he said, “You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross.” Which in Roman society meant unless you submit to the prevailing authority, and that of course is God. Finishing up in Luke 14, he said, “And you’ve got to surrender everything in your life to follow me, to serve me, to know me, to love me.” That’s what a disciple is. And part of that of course, is having a biblical worldview because you do what you believe, so your worldview is critical. You got to have a worldview that comports with what the scriptures teach if you want to be a disciple. And sort of, when we measure all of that, we get down to just three to 5% of adults in America, I think can accurately be thought of as being genuine disciples of Jesus.
That raises issues about the health of the church as you’re asking about. The church of Jesus is supposed to be a movement of people who are here to be used by God to transform individual lives. And through those transformed individual lives, we transform our culture. In order to do that, we got to have a clear vision, but it can’t be our vision. It’s got to be God’s vision. We got to have the leaders that God has raised up bringing that vision forward for the people. And they’ve got to be doing it, getting a commitment from the people to that vision and unifying us as a community through that vision. That’s not happening.
What we’re so busy doing is in politics, they would call it nation building. In religious circles, we could think of it as church building. We want more members, more programs, more staff, more square footage, more money, more reputation, all of that as opposed to looking at, but what did Jesus die on the cross for? He didn’t die to put seats in auditoriums. He died that those lives would be so completely transformed. You don’t even recognize them once they’ve caught a hold of Jesus. Why? Because when you put those people together, that starts to build momentum. It builds that movement. And when we look at our two younger generations, gen Z and the millennials, what we find is that yeah, there’s momentum. It’s momentum away from the cause of Christ. They’re doing everything they can in some ways to distance themselves from what Christianity is all about. They want independence rather than dependence on God. They’re buying into political ideology rather than religious truth. And their worldview is syncretism, not a biblical worldview.
So, we’ve got some very, very significant issues. And for everybody who’s listening right now, I would challenge you to ask yourself, are you a disciple of Jesus? I know you’ve been led to believe you are. You might like to think you are, but what’s the proof of that? When you go back to those six things that Jesus taught about, can you show me or anybody, but most importantly, can you show God that yes, you’re obeying, you’re loving, you’re producing fruit, you’re submitting, you’re surrendering. That’s what your life is all about. It’s not about the trophies that the world wants you to be collecting.
Jamie Mitchell: George, as I’m listening to you, because of my orientation of looking at the church and looking at pastors, I’m just thinking to myself that the biggest obstacle may be, will the pastors be willing to challenge their churches? Will the pastors be willing to move the bar up for folks and not make it real easy or vanilla or water down things? It seems like you’re advocating that one of the things desperately needed is pastors bolstering up not only what they’re saying but what they’re expecting of their attenders and members. What does a pastor need to do to move the needle in the right direction?
George Barna: First of all, recognize whether or not God called you into ministry. Secondly, think about the nature of that calling. Has He called you to lead? Now, there’s a big difference between being a leader and a teacher or a preacher. We need them both. But the reason why the church does not grow, the reason why the Christian Church in America has so little influence in our culture is because we’re not being led by leaders. We’re being led by teachers. One of the things that great leaders do is they not only convey to us God’s vision, and that’s the heartbeat of their life and the ministry that they’ve been called to lead, but as they convey that vision through it, they create conflict in the minds, hearts and souls of congregants. That’s important, that conflict is a tool, but then the pastor’s got to resolve that conflict, again, through the vision and God’s truth in his scriptures.
Isaac Crockett: That is so important, such good information there. We’re going to take our final break. And we’re going to come back and wrap things up in our solution segment with Dr. George Barna. Please stay tuned to this program. We’ll be right back on Stand in the Gap Today.
Isaac Crockett: There are so many questions, George, that I would still like to try to ask you and get into in this program. We’re running out of time, so as we wrap things up, the people that you surveyed, they’re churchgoing, adults by and large, according to your survey, they seem to be satisfied with the worldview development that they were receiving and that their children were receiving from their churches. And yet, their answers seem to show that many of them did not have a true biblical worldview. How do you respond to their perspective that they felt very comfortable with what they were being given from their churches?
George Barna: It’s an issue, Isaac, of most people don’t know what they don’t know. And so, the belief is because they consider themselves to be Christian, because they go to church… Remember, this was the study of churchgoing adults. So, these people go to church on a regular basis. They have the perception that they’re good people, that they have good intentions, and that’s what, in their minds, a biblical worldview is you’re trying to be a good person. You’re doing the best you can as opposed to really getting into and tearing apart and studying and integrating biblical truth into your mind, heart, and soul. So, it’s a little bit discouraging looking at the data because we know that only 4% of adults in America have a biblical worldview. Only 13% are born again adults. Less than 1% of teenagers and adolescents have a biblical worldview. That doesn’t portend well for the future.
How could that happen? Well, only 2% of the parents, of kids under the age of 13 have a biblical worldview. Why don’t they have a better worldview? Keep in mind that seven out of every eight children’s pastors in Christian churches across the country do not have a biblical worldview. Seven out of every eight do not. So, yeah, as a church, we’re pretty much self-deceived. We’re complacent, we’re distracted, we’re indifferent. We are losing the spiritual war partly because we don’t even know that we’re engaged in a spiritual war, and you’re not going to win something by default when you don’t even know that you’re fighting that war. We’ve been lulled into indifference. Again, I think what the survey’s telling us is it’s terribly important that each of us stop just for a few minutes every day and reassess what are our life priorities? What’s my agenda for the day?
How am I going to use all the resources I’m going to utilize today? Have I put God first in everything that I’m doing? Are the actions that I’m taking designed to advance his kingdom based on biblical principles, not based on my feelings? Your feelings don’t really matter. We’ve got to remember that it’s got to be God first. Go back to that Luke 14 verse 26 passage and remember that you’ve got to love God so profoundly that it seems like you hate everything else in comparison. Don’t hate everything else, but I mean that’s how deep and intense and extensive your love for him has to be. So, I think that’s a gut check for all of us. The survey is telling us, yeah, recheck your priorities because we’re missing the mark to a large extent.
Isaac Crockett: That is so important. I want to leave some time here to go to Jamie to have him close the program in prayer and things, but in just the few moments we have left, as I’m hearing you talk today, and I’m looking at this information from your survey, and I’m remembering the book that you just wrote, Raising Spiritual Champions. You were just on, I think just a few weeks ago on this program. That’s what you were talking about. Is there a connection there? I think there is, I guess as I saw it. But in light of all of that, how do we focus on not missing the mark anymore? How do we focus on getting to the children to the next generation so that they can be raised to focus on truth and focus on the word of God and really grow them up as true disciples?
George Barna: Yeah, I’d love to have a whole program just talk about that. But one of the things we’ve got to do as adults is recognize, God never called us to go to church. He called us to be the church. What does it mean to be the church? You’ve got to be a disciple, a genuine, committed follower of Jesus Christ, where every thought, word and deed is geared toward advancing His agenda, not your agenda, not my agenda. None of that matters. His agenda is the only one that matters. If you are in fact a disciple, we talked about that a few minutes ago, well then what’s your job? The scriptures tell us that the job of a disciple is to make more disciples. And the best and most efficient and effective way to do that is to work with children because their worldview is developed by the age of 13. And for the huge majority of Americans, it won’t change much if at all after the age of 13.
How do you become a disciple maker? In that book, Raising Spiritual Champions, I talk about four commitments and practices of disciple makers. The first one is that commitment. It’s about your identity. Don’t think of yourself as a great employee, as an American citizen. I mean, you can be all that. That’s great. But your primary identity is you’re here to make disciples. You are a disciple maker. That means secondly, you got to know what you believe and why you believe it, how to communicate that to other people. Thirdly, you’ve got to show how to translate those beliefs into a lifestyle that is in harmony with the way that Jesus lived and with the things that he taught. And then fourthly, you’ve got to constantly be assessing how you’re doing with all of that in your own life as a disciple and in your efforts to disciple young people or any other people be measuring how it’s going based on the criteria that would indicate whether or not you’re a disciple.
Also in the book, I talk about the most effective disciple-making practices and habits that are working in America today. It’s important that you know what those are. Don’t waste your time going down paths that aren’t going to produce fruit for the kingdom. Remember, one of the hallmarks of a disciple is that you are consistently, strategically and abundantly producing fruit for God’s kingdom. You’ve got to be efficient with the limited resources you have. Know what those practices are and go for it.
Isaac Crockett: Amen. This is so important. I hope that those of you listening will go back, listen to this again, share this program with your friends. Jamie, I’ll go to you. We’re running out of time here. Any final thoughts? And I’d love to have you close this program in prayer.
Jamie Mitchell: Isaac. There’s one word that I hear woven through everything that George has shared, and it’s the word urgency. I think as Christians and as pastors, we have a tendency to wait and see what happens or not to, quote, unquote, “react too fast.” But I think what George has brought to us today is that we are not in good shape. There needs to be urgency. There’s urgency in parenting, urgency in the church, urgency in our own personal study, urgency in looking at social issues and properly applying a biblical worldview. I think that’s what we have to do. We can’t be depressed. Our hope is in the Lord, but we have to be urgent, and that’s what I think I’ll pray for as we close.
Father, thank you for George. Thank you for his insights, his wisdom. He’s a gift to the kingdom and to us, and we just are thankful. And God, today could be sobering for us, and it should be, but it should stir in us a heart of urgency, to stand up and to take issue with these things and say how can I apply a biblical worldview to my life and the things around me? We pray it in Jesus’ name, amen.
Isaac Crockett: Amen. Amen and amen. Jamie Mitchell, thank you for that. Dr. George Barna, thank you again for being on this program, for the work that you are doing, for the stand that you are taking, the way you are standing in the gap. And thank you for sharing this survey information with us and explaining it. If you’ve heard all of this program today or only part of it, I would encourage you to go back to listen to it again, to think about it, to ask yourself those questions about you and your relationship with God and what you’re doing to disciple others. And then share this. Share this or parts of this with other people. And until next time, please pray and stand in the gap for the Lord wherever you are today. Thanks so much for tuning in.