The latest research by the Barna Group has uncovered three trends that are redefining the information age. Social media (like Twitter and Facebook) along with other digital platforms (like eBooks and mobile apps) are changing the way we are processing information. We are now much more likely to scroll and skim rather than read in depth.
The first trend the Barna Group identified was the feeling most people have that modern life is accelerating and becoming more complex. A majority of adults believe life has become more complicated.
Those who feel the greatest strains fall into two groups. The first are those who lack certain social supports like quality education, a stable income, or a spouse with whom they can face life’s challenges. The second group is people of faith who are more likely to feel that life is getting more complex.
A second trend is the reality that more and more people are becoming accustomed to skimming content. More than 7 out of 10 affirm this self-description. This is understandable. In a 24-hour news cycle, “keeping up” can be hard work.
A third trend is the desire on the part of many to move beyond mere facts and information. They are looking for a holistic integration of faith and life. They want to be informed, but they want that information in a way that gives them a meaningful life. Put another way, we don’t want more data. We want meaning and want to know what all of this data means to us personally.
For Christians this means a “rich integration of faith and life.” A sizable majority of practicing Christians say they want to know how their faith speaks to the current issues they face. But even American adults in general say they are searching for ways their faith addresses current challenges and opportunities.
Put simply, we are overwhelmed with data and information. We are looking for people and organizations like churches and Christian media that can give meaning to this overload of information.