Being in my 50s, I’ve watched the space program from its infancy. I’m amazed at the evolution of the program … the unmanned launches, the first men to travel into space, the first space walk, landing on the moon, etc. I’ve also witnessed the catastrophes and near catastrophes. Who can forget the Apollo 13’s John Swigert and then James Lovell announcing, “Houston, we’ve had a problem”?
A couple of weeks ago, I read one of George Barna’s reports that announces to the church the equivalent of the announcement made by Swigert and Lovell to NASA. In the Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist survey taken among 1,871 self-described Christians we discover a major crack in our foundation. Here is an excerpt from Barna’s report:
Much like their perceptions of Satan, most Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force, either. Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” Just one-third of Christians disagreed that the Holy Spirit is not a living force (9% disagreed somewhat, 25% disagreed strongly) while 9% were not sure.
Church, we’ve had a problem! No wonder the church is weak and anemic. Almost 2/3 of the church has the Holy Spirit in the same category as Santa Clause (the symbol of Christmas) and the Easter Bunny (the symbol of Easter).
Let’s change these statistics beginning with introducing the person of the Holy Spirit to each and every children’s ministry leader. Let’s make sure that our staff and volunteers actually know Him. Then, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to demonstrate that He is alive and well in our services. Soon, after seeing undeniable proof of His existence, our children will fall in love with the precious Holy Spirit.
To read George Barna’s complete report, go to www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/260-most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exis.