August 15, 2012
Are Women Happy At Church? Nearly 75% Say Yes, Yet Feel Guilty
New Barna research shows "enormous range of experiences" for women in churches.
Christian women today are just as likely as Christian men to self-identify as "leaders" (1 out of 3). And of those who do, more than half say their primary outlet for leadership is in their church, according to a new research series from the Barna Group.
Of the 600 Christian women surveyed by Barna, only 24 percent say their church does not allow women on its pastoral team, whereas 62 percent say all pastoral roles are open to women.
Four out of five women surveyed agree that their church "values the leadership of women as much as men" in its actions. More than 70 percent said they are "doing meaningful ministry" at their church, and 55 percent "expect [their] influence to increase."
However, more than 30 percent of women feel "resigned to low expectations" at their church, and 20 percent feel "under-utilized."
Most intriguingly, nearly 75 percent of the 600 women surveyed feel they "can and should be doing more to serve God."
Barna Group president David Kinnaman says this study helps shed light on the debate over women’s roles within Christian communities. While many women are satisfied with their churches, an increasing number have been avoiding church, he said.
"The research shows there is an enormous range of experiences for women in today’s churches, from those who are very satisfied to those who feel as if the church is one of the least welcoming places for them to be," Kinnaman said.
CT's Her.meneutics blog offers daily coverage of women's issues, including recent analysis of gender differences, the rise of biblical masculinity, and the lack of women in public life and as city leaders.