Decision Survey

How Do Christians Make Decisions?

Teleios Research surveyed young evangelical Christians to evaluate how they make decisions and how this influences their wellbeing.

858 professed Christians completed a survey advertised on the Instagram account Instapray. The average age was 23 years and the majority of respondents were:

  • Female – 67%
  • Had at least some college education – 51%
  • Evangelical – 77%

DECISION MAKING TECHNIQUES

How do I make spiritual/secular decisions?

Respondents most often make spiritual and secular based decisions by ‘taking a step of faith based on the Bible’ or ‘waiting for guidance from the Holy Spirit.’

Answer Choices Spiritual Secular
I look to scripture for guidance, pray and then take a step of faith 63% 51%
I wait for leading from the Holy Spirit 58% 45%
I ask other Christians for advice 52% 31%
I ask someone with experience on the topic 37% 40%
I wait for peace about the decision 24% 27%
I let my feelings guide me as this may be leading from the Spirit 23% 22%
I employ wisdom that comes from biblically based experience 20% 17%

Once I make a decision, I typically …

After a decision has been determined, 87% of participants ‘pray for reassurance from God’, while 59% ‘take an action based on faith.’ However, 30% participants ‘questioned if the decision was correct.’

Answer Choices Percent
Pray for assurance from God 87%
Take action based on faith, my knowledge of God’s Word and my experience 59%
Keep thinking about the decision as I am not sure if it is correct 31%
Seek reassurance from other Christians 28%
Seek reassurance from a mentor 22%

I believe God helps my decision making by …

Participants thought God helped them make decisions by ‘having a plan for their life’ (63%), while almost as many believed ‘He led them based on the Bible’ (53%).

Answer Choices Percent
Having a specific plan for me and leads me 63%
Leading me by His Spirit who uses His Word 53%
Having a plan for my life that I must discover 40%
Expects me to step out in faith 36%
Giving me signs 35%
Using the Bible 34%
Help from other believers 27%
Perceived answered prayer 23%
My feelings 16%

DECISION MAKING TECHNIQUES AFFECT WELLBEING

How do I make secular decisions?

Those who used wisdom from prior biblically-based experience to make secular decisions reported higher wellbeing (P=0.011).

Answer Choices Wellbeing Scores
I employ wisdom that comes from biblically-based experience 4.90
I look to scripture for guidance, pray and then take a step of faith 4.73
I wait for leading from the Holy Spirit 4.72
I wait for peace about the decision 4.71
I ask other Christians for advice 4.64
I make a list of pros and cons 4.62
I ask someone with experience on the topic 4.61
I let my feelings guide me as this may be leading from the Spirit 4.58
I use non-spiritual information and experience 4.55
I make decisions to fit with my professional or social group 4.38

Once I make a decision, I typically?

After a decision had been made those who generally took action based on their faith and knowledge of God’s Word noted higher wellbeing (P>0.001).

Answer options Wellbeing score
Take action based on faith, my knowledge of God’s Word and my experience 4.73
Pray for assurance from God 4.67
Seek reassurance from other Christians 4.62
Seek reassurance from a mentor 4.61
Keep thinking about the decision as I am not sure if it is correct 4.42
Feel unsure of my decision and repeat decision-making process 4.37
Hesitate to act on my decision due to guilt 4.00

I believe God helps my decision making by…

Those who believed God uses prayer to guide their decisions indicated higher wellbeing (P=0.01).

Answer Choices Wellbeing Scores
Perceived answered prayer 4.75
Leading me by His Spirit who uses His Word 4.74
Having a specific plan for me 4.69
Using the Bible 4.69
Help from other believers 4.65
Expects me to step out in faith 4.61
Giving me signs 4.61
Having a plan for my life I must discover 4.51
My feelings 4.39

THOSE ADHERENT DEPEND ON BIBLE FOR DECISION MAKING

How do I make decisions?

Those most adherent to a Christian lifestyle (through prayer, praise, fellowship, outreach and Bible study) relied on biblically-based wisdom and experience in determining decisions (P>0.001).

Answer Options Adherence score
I employ the wisdom that comes from biblically-based experience 4.18
I wait for leading from the Holy Spirit 4.11
I look to scripture for guidance, pray and then take a step of faith 4.07
I ask other Christians for advice   3.88
I try to imitate my Christian friends 3.86
I wait for peace about the decision 3.84
I ask someone with experience on the topic 3.77
I make a list of pros and cons 3.68
I let my feelings guide me as this may be leading from the Spirit 3.55
I view guilt as a mechanism used by the Spirit to guide me 3.37

Once I make a decision, I typically?

After they made a decision they most often sought reassurance from a mentor, or believed their decision was biblically based (P>0.001).

Answer Options Adherence score
Seek reassurance from a mentor 4.12
Take action based on faith, knowledge of God’s Word & my experience 4.06
Seek reassurance from other Christians 4.02
Pray for assurance from God 3.90
Feel unsure of my decision and repeat decision-making process 3.51
Keep thinking about the decision as I am not sure if it is correct 3.49
Hesitate to act on my decision due to guilt 3.38

I believe God helps my decision making by?

They typically believed God uses the Bible to lead them (P>0.001).

Answer Options Adherence score
Using the Bible 4.22
Leading me by His Spirit who uses His Word 4.13
Help from other believers 4.08
Expects me to step out in faith 3.95
Perceived answered prayer 3.93
Having a specific plan for me and so leads me in everything I do 3.91
Having a plan for my life that I must discover for him to lead me 3.75
Giving me signs 3.72
My feelings 3.46

WHAT IT MEANS

Young evangelicals not only use the Bible for making decisions, but importantly, those whom most often based their decisions on the Bible enjoy better wellbeing!
Following the Bible is a good decision!

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