Skip to site content

Barna’s ‘Christian Leader Profile’ Reveals Little Love, Servanthood, Wisdom

Christian leaders were not seen to exhibit a willingness to go out of their way to help the disadvantaged, generously share their resources, or undergo personal suffering or disadvantage to help others. Hence the low marks for a loving heart.

Barna Research Group’s Christian Leader Profile evaluated 13 “character clusters” associated with a leader’s character.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /> 
The strongest character traits were having a conscience that is sensitive to sin, morality, godly demeanor, humility, values, faith maturity and trustworthiness, according to the study.  
Christian leaders did not rate as highly when it came to using appropriate speech, controlling their temper, and ability to teach. Surprisingly, Christian leaders rated lowest in modeling servanthood, possessing a loving heart and having godly wisdom. 
Profile data showed that problems associated with servanthood “center around not feeling a sense of responsibility to those who are needy and an unwillingness to sacrifice what they have for the good of others.”
Christian leaders were not seen to exhibit a willingness to go out of their way to help the disadvantaged, generously share their resources, or undergo personal suffering or disadvantage to help others. Hence the low marks for a loving heart.
“Wisdom ranked lowest of all 13 character traits evaluated,” according to the profile. “Among the key difficulties related to that attribute were reliance on personal ability and insight rather than godly guidance, struggles balancing spiritual and worldly forms of wisdom, and inconsistently listening to God.”
George Barna said in a release that he hoped the profile data would encourage church leaders to work on specific areas of their character to improve their ability to lead.
“Character is not like competencies, for which it is acceptable to ignore your weaknesses and run with your strengths,” Barna said. “Weakness of character will eventually undermine your strengths, no matter how strong they are. Identifying character vulnerabilities is helpful because it provides an early warning signal of pending disasters.”
Gender did not drastically affect the result. However, men appeared to have less of a struggle with temper and more of a struggle with wisdom than did women.
GenXers scored much lower than older church leaders in relation to faith maturity, trustworthiness, wisdom and appropriate speech, the profile reported. Baby Boomers had “relative difficulty with exhibiting a loving heart.” Older church leaders had higher scores on every attribute tested, but struggled mostly with wisdom and servanthood.
Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.
Click here to learn more about the profile!