In January, Lighthouse Trails Research ran its first survey. We thought you might like to see the results. However, we would like to make a couple comments about this survey and surveys in general.
While we recognize that surveys can be helpful in gaining insight through gathered information, we have seen what we consider an abuse and misuse of surveys by many groups, both secular and religious. Within the church-growth, seeker-friendly movement, and the emerging church movement as well, surveys have been used to convince Christians that Christianity must be completely restructured because the Christianity of the past has failed. Unfortunately, within these movements this restructuring has resulted in a de-emphasis of the Word of God, and in some cases, such as the emerging church, an actual destruction of the Word of God.
Discernment Ministries has written about the use of surveys to change and manipulate society. We hope you will get the chance to read what they have said. We are posting a couple of their articles on this topic below.
With that said, we want to clarify that the reason for the Lighthouse Trails survey was to help us better understand our own readers and how we can best serve them. We are not using these survey results to make proclamations about trends in the church or the world. We are also not using them to manipulate people into some particular action.
If you are one of the ones who took the survey, we want to once again thank you. And whether you took it or not, we hope you find the results interesting and helpful in some way.
On another note, our latest article we posted is titled: “Trevecca Nazarene University Promoting Contemplative Spirituality in No Small Way.” For some, it will come as a shock to see how far a Nazarene school has gone into contemplative spirituality. But this is the direction many many Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries are going, and it is indeed very troubling.
When one realizes the true nature of contemplative and that in its essence it is a rejection of the Creator and of the Savior (i.e., New Age), then one realizes how serious the embracing of contemplative/emerging spirituality by so many proclaiming Christians really is. Could there be a more effective way for Satan to bring such deception than through the schools where future pastors, missionaries, and lay leaders are trained.
Lighthouse Trails sent out the survey to 9935 people, and approximately 2500 responded. Currently, our readers are from 98 different countries. Of those who responded, about 48% said they had been reading Lighthouse Trails for 1-3 years. Almost 100% of the responders said they read our material at least once a month, with 70% who read LT once a week and nearly 10% once a day. Out of 11 topics listed, the topics that readers were most interested in were as follows: 1) the emergent church movement; 2) contemplative spirituality; 3) signs of the times/eschatology; 4) the Purpose Driven movement.
Survey responses showed a high satisfaction for our customer service, but we learned that ease of navigation on the sites is still difficult for some. This is important for us to know, and we want to continue improving that. We are currently working on the search engine to make it more user-friendly.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the survey for you will be the question which asked readers about their current church situation. Thirty-nine percent (988 people) of the responders said they were currently in Bible-based churches that understood the present day spiritual deception taking place. This number is encouraging in the fact that it shows there are still churches that are standing for truth. Twenty-one percent (547) of those who responded said they attended Bible-based churches, but they had some concerns that deception was entering in. Nearly 15% said their former church had become contemplative, emerging, and/or Purpose Driven, and they had not yet been able to find a Bible-based church. This suggests that there may be a lot of communities where Bible believing Christians have no church to attend. Phone calls and emails to Lighthouse Trails over the past several years would confirm this. Seven percent (almost 200) of our responders said, for one reason or another, they were attending some kind of Bible-based home fellowship.
In the survey, over 700 people gave comments or suggestions, and we are very grateful for all of them. We are still reading them and hope to implement many of these ideas. For the most part, the comments were gracious and encouraging to us. We are very humbled and moved to receive such kind comments from so many.
Some of the most common suggestions included: 1) improving our search engine; 2) adding research about alternative health and medicine; 3) making our material more printer-friendly; 4) linking to other ministries and resources.
On this fourth point of linking to others, we actually do have a links page and thought perhaps many people are not aware of it. You can get to it by clicking here. On that page, there are several ministries, people, and groups whom we list. We have broken them up into the following categories: Research sites, blogs, print newsletters, the persecuted church, Bible prophecy/world events, radio programs, book reviews, pastors’ teachings, free online books, and more. We add to this list from time to time once we have become familiar with a particular group. While we believe the ministries listed offer biblically sound research and information, please use discernment whenever you research. As Christians, we must “Test all things” and “Try the spirits” through the screen of the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1).
In the survey suggestion area, we were exhorted by some to be more loving and to not name names. A few people suggested we shut down altogether. While we have no plans of shutting down, and we believe we must name names in order to effectively identify spiritual deception in the church, we do strive to speak the truth in love, and we will put forth even greater effort to do this in the future. While our articles and books are hard-hitting and strongly worded, it has always been our intention to refrain from vitriolic or mean-spirited reporting and writing. In addition, we do not call names, say who or who is not saved, and we do not attack the personal being of any individual. We think the authors we represent have maintained this standard in their books and articles. And we hope the editors at Lighthouse Trails have done this as well. ——————————————————————————–
Also see: “Re-Inventing the Church” by Berit Kjos