The most effective means to reach an unchurched person, according to research
by the North American Mission Board, is through personal contact. When asked
how likely they would be to attend church after a "personal invitation from a
friend or neighbor" 63 percent of people said theyd be likely to attend. A
"personal invitation from the pastor" was the second most effective method,
with 51 percent agreeing theyd be likely to attend. Other effective methods
included hearing "really good things about the denomination that the church is
affiliated with from someone you know" (48 percent) and hearing "that the
church had made significant changes in order to be more relevant to people like
you" (43 percent).
It is clear that people are more interested in the high-touch elements of a
personal relationship than the passive and impersonal aspects of buildings,
institutions or the high-tech elements of media.
Source: "The Barometer of the Southern Baptist Faith in America," North
American Mission Board.
The mission field has come to Canada. Hundreds of new church plants and
disciple-making communities are needed, targeted to ethnic communities, just to
keep pace with the population growth.
Immigration to Canada has averaged about 227,000 for the
last 12 years. Most newcomers to Canada were born in Asia and the Pacific Rim,
a significant change from mid-century when Europeans were the largest immigrant
group. More than 50 percent settling in the Ontario "Golden Horseshoe" provide
great opportunity for ministries designed to share the gospel.
Without immigration, Canadas population would be decreasing because of low
birth rate. Currently the Canadian population is increasing 1.7 percent
Source: "Church Planting Needed for Unreached Immigrants," Church
Planting Canada, Volume 4, Issue 3.
TV is finding a lucrative market in Christianity. The
old news is the success of shows like "Touched by an Angel." CBS has another
hit with "Jesus, the Epic Mini-Series." The shows first partairing on Mothers
Dayoutdrew the vaunted "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" for first place in the
ratings and prompted Variety to tout in a page-one headline, "Jesus Beats
Billy Grahams first movie to reach out specifically to African-American
audiences is a hit. Something to Sing About, filmed in an urban
setting and featuring hip hop gospel star Kirk Franklin, was broadcast in 200
local markets this summer. The intermission included a Christian message from
Grahams son Franklin.
The movie was number one in the ratings in New York City, beating game six
of the Stanley Cup hockey playoffs, Tim Morgan of Grahams ministry told
Religion Today. Thousands of people called a telephone number that
flashed on the screen, and 40 percent of those callers made a first-time
decision to become a Christian, he said.
Not to be outdone, ABC aired "Peter Jennings Reporting: The Search for
Jesus," a journalistic look at the life of Christ produced and hosted by the
ABC News anchor. Jennings plugged the special on CNNs "Larry King Live."
"I hope that people who do take the New Testament literallyand many people
dowill understand that what were doing in this program is in some ways making
Jesus more accessible. One of our great witnesses in this, which scholars will
recognize, is a man named [Dr. N.T.] Tom Wright, whos a canon theologian at
Westminster Abbey in England. He said if he didnt believe in the Resurrection,
hes in the wrong business," Jennings told King. "The Search for Jesus" raised
the ire of many evangelical Christians who expressed disappointment that the
show put too much stock in the liberal
interpretation of scripture and did not give enough airtime to
Although "The Search for Jesus" did not pull the largest audience for its
time slot, it did place third in the ratings behind "Survivor" on CBS and that
other show with Regis.
Sources: tv.zap2it.com, Crosswalk.com, Religion Today, CNNs "Larry King Live,"
June 2000 and USA Today, July 7, 2000.
Were all salt inside the church. We need to get out where the people are. We
need to become friends to sinners. If we carry the light of Christ they will
eventually say, "Wow, its bright in here."
Alan Braun, president, Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists
Source: Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists annual meeting, July 5,
So you want to connect with people and share the gospel in a way thats relevant
to their needs and concerns. What do they think of the crime rate or the income
gap or ethics? Would you be surprised to learn that only 51 percent of
Americans think that the annoying during-dinner phenomenon of telemarketing is
a change for the worse?
Just what, exactly, are Americans concerns?
Source: America: Past, Present, Future by the American People, The
Pew Research Center, November 1999.
Recommending a best seller may be a way to direct a friends attention to
matters of faith. Of the top 150 selling books for the first half of 2000,
eight have a Christian worldview, including the number one best seller, John
Grishams The Testament, which presents the gospel as part of a
The others include books from two popular Christian series:
Left Behind, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins first offering in the
Left Behind saga, leads the way on the list along with four other
titles from the series. Their latest installment, The Indwelling,
debuted as the top selling book for all new releases.
Two of Jan Karons volumes in the Mitford Series are also on the list of 150
best sellers for 2000.
Another dozen books on the list deal with themes of spirituality.
Source: USA Todays Top 150 Best Sellers, June 3, 2000.
There was a time when religious Americans thought about Christian money
management only in terms of tithing. Three emerging trends purport a change in that traditional mindset. Experts
say Christians are becoming more intentional in the way their investments are
made, perhaps reflecting a more practical approach to living out their
Trend 1 Increasing shareholder activismbecoming involved in
molding corporate policy to express religious convictions.
Trend 2 Investing beyond sin screeninglooking for
opportunities to institute and promote change rather than shunning "evil."
Trend 3 Giving back to the communityto promoting job
opportunities and supporting the local economy.
And were not talking peanuts. In the decade of the 1990s religious mutual
fund investments rose 191 percent from $1.5 billion in assets to $4.5
Source: MMA Praxis, February 23, 2000.
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