Six years after beginning what he assumed would be a relatively typical research process that sought to better understand how God transforms people’s lives, researcher George Barna discovered that he had tackled a deeply challenging and amazingly revealing journey. The product of his effort was the ability to identify some of the developmental processes, experiences, and obstacles that are common across the lives of Americans of all backgrounds. He contends that while the details of people’s developmental story differ, everyone is on a spiritual journey and there is sufficient similarity in those journeys that we can describe a normative life path – a map that can help people make greater progress if their goal is to become more Christ-like.
According to The Barna Groups research, spiritual transformation can be measured in a series of ten stops: (1) ignorance of the concept or existence of sin, (2) aware of and indifferent to sin, (3) concerned about the implications of personal sin, (4) confession of and forgiveness for sin, (5) commitment to faith activities, (6) experiencing a prolonged period of spiritual discontent, (7) experiencing personal brokenness, (8) choosing to surrender and submit fully to God, (9) enjoying a profound intimacy with and love for God, and (10) experiencing a profound compassion and love for humanity.
Most Americans, according to the research, never get beyond stop three, awareness and concern about sin and its effects, but not cooperating with Christ to alleviate that problem. Among those who become born-again Christians, most never move past stop five. That’s a sad finding and one that each committed Christ-follower should be challenged to do something about.
At EBM we bring the healing message of Jesus Christ that encourages each of us to embrace our brokenness and move far beyond “stop 7”. Toward complete surrender, intimacy with God, and love for Him and all of mankind. What might that look like for you?
Here’s an overview of the findings that should challenge each of us to go deeper into our own transformational journey.
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Research on How God Transforms Lives Reveals a 10-Stop Journey – Barna Group