Churchgoers are far more likely than the general population to say they are content and satisfied in their family and personal relationships, according to a new survey from Barna and Gloo that is part of their "State of Your Church" project.
The poll, released this month, found that 58 percent of churched adults rate the "contentment" in their friendships and relationships as strong, compared to 34 percent of the general population who answer that way. Practicing Christians score even higher on the question at 67 percent.
"Overall, churched adults fare better than the general population in their relationships," Barna said in an analysis of the survey. Similarly, "practicing Christians fare better across the dimensions."
This gap also was seen in other questions about relationships.
When asked if their relationships are "as satisfying" as they would want them to be, 54 percent of churched adults and 60 percent of practicing Christians scored their relational satisfaction highly, compared to 29 percent of the general population.
About half (52 percent) of churched adults and 61 percent of practicing Christians scored their "relational flourishing" highly as well. The study defines relational flourishing as a combination of the two previous relationship questions. For the general population, 28 percent scored their relational flourishing highly.
"A church that not only welcomes and connects people but also operates out of an awareness (if not a proficiency in) in the realities of what it takes to be content and satisfied in relationships today is key in supporting the whole-life flourishing of congregants," Barna said.
The State of Your Church project outlines five markers of flourishing people and 15 markers of thriving churches.
Meanwhile, 72 percent of practicing Christians in the survey gave a high score on a question about whether their church is an essential partner in their spiritual growth.
The research around flourishing people and thriving churches, Barna said, shows 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."
"I firmly believe this moment provides an opportunity to pioneer new ways of leading God’s people and new, deeper pathways to discipling people," said Barna CEO David Kinnaman.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.