American pastors are concerned that the impact of “watered down Gospel teachings” will negatively affect the Christian church in the country.

Christian polling group, Barna, released a survey identifying the issues that worry pastors in America. While many people may think that religious liberty is their primary concern, 72% of U.S. pastors ranked “watered down gospel teachings” as the largest issue, reports Australian-based Christian website, Sight Magazine.

This is a new decade and a time of significant cultural, digital and spiritual disruption. —David Kinnaman, Barna Group President

This study is the first of a series of the State of the Church 2020 which Barna Group will publish monthly. President David Kinnaman said the project aims to see how Christianity has changed over the years and where the Church is headed in the future.

“This is a new decade and a time of significant cultural, digital and spiritual disruption,” said Kinnaman. “We’re committed to help serve the Church by preparing pastors and leaders to lead faithfully through it all.”

According to the State of the Church 2020 survey, a majority of pastors (66%) said “culture’s shift to a secular age” is a major concern of the Church, followed by 63% who said “poor discipleship models” as another concern to look into.

The findings also showed that other challenges facing the Church in the US include: “addressing complex social issues with biblical integrity” (58%), “prosperity gospel teachings” (56%), “reaching a younger audience” (56%), and “political polarization in the country” (51%).

For this survey, Barna also asked pastors about the challenges facing their church today. With a list of possible concerns, half of the pastors (51%) claimed that “reaching a younger audience” and “declining or inconsistent outreach and evangelism” are the top major issues in their ministry.

The pastors also revealed that they worry about “declining or inconsistent volunteering” (36%), “stagnating spiritual growth” (34%), and “declining attendance” (33%).

Findings for this study were based on online interviews with 547 Protestant senior pastors.

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