Today I would like to review several studies that have done so.
1) The Reveal Study identifies six segments of growing in Christ, and these segments are discussed as types of people.
Exploring Christianity - "I believe in God but I'm not sure about Christ"
Growing in Christ - "I am working on getting to know Jesus"
Close to Christ - "I feel really close to Christ and depend on him daily"
Christ-Centered - "Everything that I do is a reflect of Christ"
Stalled - "I believe in Christ but I haven't grown much lately"
Dissatisfied - "My faith is central to me, but my church is letting me down"
2) Christianity Today, via Leadership Journal, produced a study creating a five-part typology Christians.
Active Christians 19%. Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ, Committed churchgoers, Bible reader, Accept leadership positions, Invest in personal faith development through the church, Feel obligated to share faith; 79% do so.
Professing Christians 20%. Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ,Focus on personal relationship with God and Jesus, Similar beliefs to Active Christians, different actions, Less involved in church, both attending and serving, Less commitment to Bible reading or sharing faith
Liturgical Christians 16%. Predominantly Catholic and Lutheran,Regular churchgoers, High level of spiritual activity, mostly expressed by serving in church and/or community, Recognize authority of the church
Private Christians 24%. Largest and youngest segment,Believe in God and doing good things, Own a Bible, but don't read it, Spiritual interest, but not within church context, Only about a third attend church at all, Almost none are church leaders
Cultural Christians 21%. Little outward religious behavior or attitudes,God aware, but little personal involvement with God, Do not view Jesus as essential to salvation, Affirm many ways to God, Favor universality theology
Each one of these typologies has its own implications for the church, usually implying that the church needs to deal differently with each group.
In my next post, I'll lay out the general, methodological logic of using typologies as well as identifying some alternatives.
P.S., Thanks Stacey for suggesting this as a topic.