By Russ Rankin
Almost three out of every four churchgoers say they have significant relationships with people at church, but less than half are intentionally helping other believers grow in their faith, according to a study by LifeWay Research.
The survey of Protestant churchgoers identifies "Building Relationships" as one of eight attributes of discipleship that consistently show up in the lives of maturing Christians. The survey is part of a larger study identifying traits of transformational discipleship.
Results of the "building relationships" questions reveal a seeming disconnect between churchgoers actually pressing into new relationships or participating in discipling other Christians.
While 74 percent agree they have developed significant relationships with people at their church, response to the statement "I intentionally try to get to know new people I meet at church" garnered 53 percent agreement, including only 1 in 6 churchgoers who strongly agree. Additionally, only 42 percent say they intentionally spend time with other believers in order to help them grow in their faith. Twenty-eight percent say they do not help others grow.
Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, pointed out that, "Advertisers know it takes multiple introductions to get someone's attention. Unfortunately, a visitor to church may have to meet six people before someone cares enough to get to know them."
The research reveals the characteristic that best predicts better building of relationships at church is attendance of small classes or groups of adults.