Are You Falling For These 3 Myths About Faith?

growing an engaged churchI have and still do.

The truth is that you and I believe things about our faith, our church, and the members of our church that may not be true. I’m not talking about doctrine, theology, or moral teaching. I’m talking about how faith is passed on and lived out by the members of my church.

Growing an Engaged Church, by Albert Winseman, is a Gallup book that researches churches and its members to determine some truths about faith and church.

For instance, the book states that, “Most churches determine their spiritual health in a similar way. They do a cursory examination (What shape is our building in? Do we like the music?) and then measure easy, basic stuff: membership, attendance, and giving” (35).

The author argues that this may not be the best way to measure how well members of a church are doing when it comes to their spiritual walk. In developing this argument, Winseman discovered 3 very critical myths that many in church leadership believe. If you are to truly measure the spiritual health of your church, then you must put to rest these 3 myths.

  • Myth #1: Believing leads to belonging. The reality, according to Gallup analysis, is that belonging is far more likely to lead to believing.
  • Myth #2: An active member is a faithful member. Gallup research has discovered that activity that is not the result of engagement leads to burnout. Engaged members often don’t realize how much service they contribute to their congregations, because they don’t think of serving as a duty or responsibility; they most frequently describe it as a joy.
  • Myth #3: Personal faith leads to public action. Individuals who are highly spiritually committed do serve more, invite more, and give more than do individuals who have a low level of spiritual commitment. But Gallup research has revealed that the factor with the greatest influence on these outcomes is engagement.

Excerpts taken from pages 43-46.

Question: Do these myths surprise you? Do you agree or disagree? Why?

Parish Pub Trivia


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  1. Christian LeBlanc

    Faith is so personal and easy for even the faithful to misconstrue, I’m not confident in any objective “measure [of] how well members of a church are doing when it comes to their spiritual walk.” It reminds me of bad catechesis- I’ve been hearing about it for decades, not seeing anything being done about it.

    • Christian

      To elaborate on the above, considering my own faith journey:

      Which came first: believing or belonging? Ummm….both at the same time, I can’t separate them.

      Which came first: active membership or faithful membership? Ummm….both at the same time, I can’t separate them.

      Which came first: personal faith or public action? Ummm….both at the same time, I can’t separate them.


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