Study: America faces a crisis of leadership

A new study conducted by The Barna Research Group in conjunction with Brad Lomenick, key visionary and president of Catalyst, one of America’s most influential leadership movements, has discovered that 82 percent of faith leaders today agree “the nation is facing a crisis of leadership because there are not enough good leaders now.” The results of the full study are included in Lomenick’s newly released book, “The Catalyst Leader,” from Thomas Nelson, Inc.

“I have spent more than 20 years working with young, driven individuals, but I still wanted to get a fuller picture of what today’s Christian leaders look like,” said Lomenick. “Through the help of The Barna Research Group, we were able to probe the thoughts, opinions and passions of this group. Our findings were surprising but informative regarding the future of leadership among those who follow Jesus, and ultimately inspired me to write ‘The Catalyst Leader’ to help the 82 percent become the answer to our current leadership crisis.”

The collaborative study was conducted through online surveys of more than 1,000 self-inscribed Christian adults ages 18 and older in June 2012.

Through the study, Lomenick was able to support the need for individuals to develop what he believes are the eight essentials for becoming a “change maker” – someone who leverages his or her influence for the betterment of the world, the collective good of others and the greater glory of God. These key characteristics include being: called, authentic, passionate, capable, courageous, principled, hopeful and collaborative.

Specific findings include:The majority of respondents believed that “integrity” is the most important characteristic for leading today (64 percent); “authenticity” came in second (40 percent) with “courage” receiving the least importance (13 percent).

  • Among those respondents who identified themselves as leaders, 20 percent said “competence” best described them; only 11 percent said “passion for God” and only 1 percent said they are best at being “humble.”
  • “Courage” is the quality 27 percent of respondents said needs the most improvement in their own leadership.
  • Only 34 percent feel “called” to the work they are currently doing – a staggering and sobering reminder that we have not only a leadership crisis, but an identity crisis as well related to vocation.
  • Most Christians (67 percent) believe the work they are doing is helping to create a better world; however, only one-fifth strongly agree.
  • Evangelicals are a subset of the broader Christian market, comprising 8 percent of the nation’s population. They are more likely to identify the importance of the passion of God and integrity, but they are less likely than other Christians to name discipline, competence, vision or collaboration.

“At The Barna Research Group, we believe leaders shape the future by casting a compelling vision of a preferable future, yet a leader is only as good as the information he or she uses,” said David Kinnaman, president. “This survey provides valuable insight into the next generation of Christian leaders and their thoughts on the critical future of our nation.”

Written specifically for the millennial generation, “The Catalyst Leader,” weaves together Lomenick’s own authentic experiences, as well as stories of others who possess the qualities of a catalyst leader – from the creators of famous reality shows to pastors and ranch workers to Silicon Valley designers and CEOs. For additional information, visit


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