Three-quarters of U.S. adults say they want to grow spiritually, and more than 4 in 10 say they are “more open” to God than they were before the pandemic, according to a new Barna survey.
The poll of 2,000 adults found that 74 percent of Americans say they “would like to grow spiritually,” while 44 percent say they are “more open to God today” than they were pre-pandemic. Additionally, 77 percent say they believe in God “or a higher power.”
David Kinnaman, CEO of Barna, said the research reveals a “tremendous opportunity for faith leaders.”
“Though religious affiliation and church attendance continue to decline, spiritual openness and curiosity are on the rise,” Kinnaman wrote in an analysis. “Across every generation, in fact, we see an unprecedented desire to grow spiritually, a belief in a spiritual/supernatural dimension and a belief in God or a higher power.”
Most Americans, he added, have “signaled that they’re willing to consider exploring spirituality.”
“They are open to more that truly satisfies,” Kinnaman wrote. “The challenge facing the Church and parachurch ministries is whether they are ready and able to meet the spiritually open – where they are, as they are. Our data show the Church has real work to do to bridge the trust gap for people who are spiritual but not religious.”
Only 9 percent of Americans say they do not believe “there is a spiritual or supernatural dimension to the world.” Half of Americans (50 percent) say they are “certain” such a dimension exists, while 30 percent say they “think it exists” but are not certain.
“Overall, 80 percent of Americans say they think there is a spiritual or supernatural dimension to the world,” Kinnaman wrote.
Kinnaman noted that this openness also exists among teens, with 76 percent of them agreeing with the statement that “Jesus speaks to me in a way that is relevant to my life.”
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to share Jesus with a world in need,” Kinnaman wrote. “But how will we do anything unless we are desperate for Jesus ourselves? As we embark on this journey to meet, know and love people who may be on the cusp of integrating spirituality into their life and discovering the transforming power of Jesus, may we be found ready and able to guide them.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Simon Lehmann
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.