August 7, 2007
Sixty percent of believers around the world find life too hectic to schedule time with God
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA -- Almost six out of every 10 Christians around the world feel their hectic schedule prevents them from spending more time with God. And when it comes to pastors, the statistics are just as sobering, a new survey reveals.
That's what a Charleston Southern professor found after polling more than 20,000 Christians from 139 countries about the busyness of their lives and how it affects their relationship with God, according to a new survey whose findings were posted to www.ministrytodaymag.com.
Michael Zigarelli, an associate professor at Charleston Southern's School of Business, polled more than 20,000 Christians of all ages from 139 countries about the busyness of their lives and how it affects their relationship with God.
His report, which concludes almost six years of collecting data, echoes the obvious: yes, we're busy people; and yes, our hectic lives prevent us from spending more time with God. Turns out almost six out of every 10 Christians around the world agree to the latter. A few elements to Zigarelli's study are particularly fascinating.
- American Christians aren't necessarily the busiest. Japan, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Indonesia all had a higher percentage of believers who stated they often or always rushed "from task to task."
- African Christians are most likely to claim their busyness gets in the way of developing their relationship with God. (Two out of three South African and Nigerian believers stated this.)
- The United States is the only country where women topped men in saying they were 1) almost always busy and 2) that busyness affected their spiritual walk.
Based on profession alone, pastors are the most likely to say they often or always rush from task to task, beating out business owners, lawyers, teachers, and salespeople.
While a whopping 72 percent of Christian lawyers said their overloaded pace of life interfered with growing in the Lord, almost two out of every three pastors made the same claim, writes Marcus Yoars on the www.ministrytodaymag.com website.
Yoars concludes: "We are busy. Too busy. And we don't need statistics to tell us that."
Writing as a pastor, he says: "But maybe a study like this will wake some of us up to this reality: We, of all people, must find a way to place the Lord above every urgent need, every pressing appointment, every desperate cry."
He adds: "The Bible is explicit in stating that as pastors and spiritual leaders, our standards are higher. Yes, the truth is, virtually everything we do stems from a God-given desire to minister. That's good. But the greater truth is, how can we truly minister without first being ministered to by God and receiving His empowerment? We must place Him above all."
© 2007 ASSIST News Service, used with permission