People’s Relationships Are Better When They Regularly Go to Church, Survey Finds


"Practicing Christians" in the United States say they have "flourishing" relationships and spiritual formation among the general adult population based on the study of Barna Group.

Barna Group, a research company focused on faith and culture, and Gloo, a technology platform provider advocating personal growth partnered to study the national "State of the Church" and related digital assessments. This study is rooted in Barna's recent poll regarding U.S. Pastor facing crisis and burnout. That paper suggested that 38% of U.S. Pastors thought of quitting the ministry.

CEO and co-founder of Gloo Scott Beck said "We've seen first-hand just how powerful the right platform and the right tools can be when it comes to getting leaders on the same page. We're here to do our part in bringing hope and resources to leaders through the State of the Church project."

Barna CEO David Kinnaman noted in an article published by Barna, "I firmly believe this moment provides an opportunity to pioneer new ways of leading God's people and new, deeper pathways to discipling people."

To help pastors and churches, they conducted a study called the "State of the Church" project which focused on understanding how churches effectively nurtured their congregations and impacted their communities. On that note, Barna said church leaders should pay attention to how well the people are doing.

Barna focused on human "flourishing." To know how people "flourish," studies look at different aspects of life such as relationships, vocation, finances, and physical and mental health.

"Fascinatingly, research such as VanderWeele's repeatedly shows that individuals whose lives are grounded in faith and who maintain a connection to an active church community are more likely to flourish in the other key dimensions of life," Barna said.

Their correspondents were categorized into three: U.S. Adults, Churched Adults, and Practicing Christians. Research showed 61% of "Practicing Christians," 52% of Churched Adults, and 28% U.S. Adults say they have "flourishing" relationships. According to Barna, the study shows the "key in supporting the whole-life flourishing of congregants" is how will the churches spread awareness regarding relationship contentment and satisfaction.

Spiritual Formation was also rated in this study. 72% of Practicing Christians say "church is an essential partner in my spiritual formation" while 59% on Churched Adults. 59% of Practicing Christians say "My next steps for spiritual growth at this church are clear to me" and 49% on Churched Adults. The empirical data will show churches if they're fulfilling their mission to nurture, send, and equip.

"The exploration of what we call "thriving churches" is rooted in several signs of a ministry's priorities and effectiveness, rather than only traditional or numerical indicators," Barna said.

69% of correspondents with recent spiritual growth reported strong spiritual formation in their church; likewise, 60% of correspondents who have an environment for spiritual formation say they have strong spiritual formation.

"The research around flourishing people and thriving churches show that now more than ever, simply counting heads in pews or views on a streaming service cannot fully reveal the impact of a church, the effectiveness of the pastorate, or the transformative power of discipleship," Barna added.