Grey Matter Research Finds Contributing Factors include Lack of Church Attendance, Prayer and Bible Reading
MIAMI, June 27, 2022 — A new study from Grey Matter Research & Consulting shows that the average American Christian has the spiritual maturity equivalent to no more than that of a toddler (using physical growth stages for comparison), due to lack of participation in key faith practices.
The study, which was commissioned by Dr. Bill White, senior pastor of Christ Journey Church in Miami, Fla., used the characteristics and behaviors of each stage presented in his new book Mature-ish: Your mission from God, should you choose to accept it… to parallel that of physical growth (ranging from Newborn to Godparent) and discern the current level of participants’ spiritual maturity. Additionally, the study reveals which key missing elements are holding Christians back from experiencing growth.
Among other key findings, the study revealed that:
- 88% of believers have not advanced past the Toddler stage, which is two steps up from the Newborn stage.
- While 85% of believers do pray at least once per day, more than one-third are not purposefully setting aside time for prayer and are too often praying selfishly — i.e. when they have a need or when something is wrong in their lives.
- Only 2% of believers have reached the most mature stage — that of Godparent — yet 67% in this group still don’t live as if disciple-making is their highest priority.
- The main reasons Christians aren’t progressing from Newborn to Infant — the very next stage — is that they are not attending church or reading their Bibles.
“It is my desire, prayer and hope that participants don’t see these results as a negative, legalistic measure of their spiritual journey, but an opportunity to identify where they are and see what is in store for them as they move forward to deepen and strengthen their relationship with Christ,” said Pastor White. “The book and study are not designed to show Christians where they’ve gone wrong, but to highlight key areas where a few positive steps can propel them forward in their spiritual walk.”
An important component to the study was determining which key factors or behaviors are prohibiting spiritual growth, so that individuals can understand practically what changes they may need to make in their lives in order to see the spiritual breakthrough they may feel is missing. By asking these questions, it becomes clear for believers what daily or weekly habits they can incorporate into their lives to start seeing positive changes.
“Although the study revealed that American Christians are relatively young in their spiritual journey, I am hopeful that everyone will be encouraged toward forward growth when they see the difference it can make to implement a few easy, practical steps,” Pastor White said. “That’s why I thought it was so important the study included the various activities which aid in bringing spiritual maturity and the degree to which they were or were not being practiced by the participants at each stage of their journey.”
The online survey polled 1,022 American adults, ages 18-94. A demographically representative national sample was screened for four key Evangelical beliefs prior to admission to the study, ensuring that all participants had at least reached the Newborn stage, professing faith in Christ.
“We appreciated Pastor Bill’s insight in having us identify the barriers to growth in our survey,” stated Ron Sellers, president of Grey Matter. “If I know two to three things are a barrier for me and other people, that helps to clear the fog and is a great first step to get to the next level. As a research scientist, it’s exciting for me to get to use research to enable people to lift some of the fog.”
The survey is being adapted into an online assessment that will allow believers to understand where they are in their own journey and how they can benefit from Pastor White’s guidance in “Mature-ish.” The online assessment will be available to the public in late summer 2022. Be the first to know its launch date by signing up at http://pastorbillwhite.com/assessment/.
About Grey Matter Research & Consulting
Grey Matter has broad experience providing research and consulting services for a variety of organizations including many Fortune 500 companies as well as faith-based non-profits. It is a trusted source among media for research findings, with its work quoted regularly by major national outlets.
About Bill White
Bill White is the Senior Pastor of Christ Journey Church in Miami, Fla. He is carried by the driving hope of Christ’s powerful love to transform brokenness into new life and opportunity. He holds a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, alongside additional studies at Baylor University and the University of Virginia. He has taught spiritual life and leadership classes around the world in countries such as Rwanda, Brazil, Lebanon, India and Cuba. He and his wife Lisa are the graced parents of two daughters and proud grandparents of two brilliant grandsons. To learn more, visit pastorbillwhite.com.