While churches, pastors, and Christians everywhere bemoan the state of spirituality in today’s culture, Americans can point to few notable Christian leaders in the nation. The findings of a November 21 study led the Barna Group to conclude that there are gaps to be filled — if not for national leaders, at least for “more local and regional Christian leaders to emerge — whether in churches, ministries, or a variety of other capacities.”
Barna’s latest study —based on telephone interviews of a random sample of 1,007 adults in the continental United States, aged 18 and older — reveals that no single Christian leader has emerged to a level of influence that captures the attention of the nation. Indeed, when asked to identify the single most influential Christian leader today, 41 percent of respondents were unable to think of anyone meeting that description.
The researchers relied heavily on what they called “top-of-mind” awareness measures, according to Lynn Hanacek, Barna Group vice president of research and project director:
It is a type of unaided awareness measurement — meaning that respondents answer on their own with no response options presented to them. It reflects the very first name that comes to mind — and is typically given even greater importance since it suggests that the person, brand or organization has made a lasting impression.
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