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"I believe for Southern Baptists-being the independent-minded people we tend
to be-to have strategized back in the 1920s to voluntarily work together to
provide security and consistency for our missionary effort was one of the most
visionary and spiritually blessed things we as a convention have ever
Wright Eavenson, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Bourbonnais,
Illinois, speaking about the Cooperative Program.
"God will grow the church. I'm just going to be obedient to what He's told
me to do. If I do my part and you do your part, we can count on God to do His
part… The main thing we're going to do is the Great Commission."
Louis Venable, pastor of Northbridge Baptist Church in Charleston, South
Carolina, speaking about his strategy for reviving a dying church.
Southern Baptists have really out-given themselves this past year-the Annie
Armstrong Easter Offering® goal was surpassed by more than $2 million! The goal
for 2006 was $56 million and the amount given was $58.5 million. This is a real
testament to Southern Baptists' commitment to reach North America for Christ.
On behalf of the North American Mission Board staff and its missionaries, thank
you very much for your support. The goal for 2007 is $57
We asked, "How did you meet the last person with whom you shared Christ?"
?Here's how our readers responded:
Click here to answer our poll about participating in volunteer missions.
Here are some ways your dollars are used in ministry by our
$1 An easy to read New Testament for distribution in evangelism and
$2 A gift pack of coffee for door-to-door visits
$5 A Church Planting Resource CD
$10 A can of paint for a Mississippi River Ministry mission team
$30 Refreshments for children attending a Bible study as part of a new
$50 Water bottles imprinted with church information for tourists at a
$75 Building rental for one Sunday worship service in a new church
$100 Printing flyers to advertise a new church
By Ed Stetzer
They say they want a revolution
The church "revolution" has recently become big news-many committed
believers are rethinking (or leaving) the established church for alternative
forms of church and/or community. The term "revolution," popularized by George
Barna in the book by the same name, describes many trends, but the main focus
is on the move to non-traditional expressions of church (marketplace faith
communities, house churches, arts, etc.).
Barna estimates that 1 million Americans have left local congregations to
pursue Christian community in small groups worshiping together in homes or
businesses. In a typical week, 9% of all adults participate in a house church.
An even greater proportion-22%-engages in spiritual encounters that take place
in the marketplace (e.g., with groups of people while they are at their place
of work, play or in other typical daily contexts). Barna estimates that 70% of
Christians will be worshiping in alternative faith communities by 2025.
At the Center for Missional Research (CMR) we wanted to go deeper to help
inform our churches about what this trend means for them. Partnering with Zogby
International we surveyed more than 3,600 people about their involvement in
spirituality and alternative expressions of church. Twenty-six percent said
they meet weekly with a group of 20 people or less to pray and study scriptures
as their primary form of spiritual or religious gathering. Comparatively, 42%
of those who identified themselves as "born again" Christians said the same
about their primary form of spiritual gathering. Almost 1.4% of the American
population (about 4 million people) may represent the purest measure of those
who are not involved in an organized church, synagogue or mosque but still are
involved in some alternative faith community.
This trend toward home-based faith expressions may also explain the
significant number of people who identify themselves as "spiritual but not
religious." According to an earlier CMR/Zogby poll, 22% of people consider
themselves "spiritual but not religious," particularly those who rarely or
never attend church. The less frequently they attend church, the more likely
they are to consider themselves spiritual, but not in a religious way.
While we don't celebrate the revolution if it means people leaving biblical
churches, we need to recognize it is happening and ask "why?" New biblical
forms need to be welcomed and affirmed, particularly those that evidence more
of the true community many are finding in alternative faith communities. We
need to bless all forms of scripturally sound churches. Why? Because the church
is essential. The church is not the center of God's plan-Christ is. But the
church is central to the plan of Christ for His name and fame to be more widely
Ed Stetzer is Missiologist and Senior Director of NAMB's Center for
Missional Research. For more information on this and other studies and to
subscribe to the CMR Insights Newsletter, go towww.namb.net/cmr.
Source: The Barna Group and The Center for Missional Research,
80% of the U.S. population lives in a metropolitan area. Because of the
urbanization of North America, the North American Mission Board has
concentrated efforts in metropolitan areas through its Strategic Focus Cities
and urban strategies. Ending in 2006 the New Hope New York effort succeeded in
planting 37 churches. Current SFC initiatives include Cleveland, Ohio, and
Source: Time, October 30, 2006 and The North American Mission
70% Percentage of adults who believe Jesus is
the Son of God75% Percentage of women who believe Jesus is the
Son of God64% Percentage of men who believe Jesus is the Son
of God77% Percentage of those without a college degree
who believe Jesus is the Son of God48% Percentage of those with postgraduate degrees
who believe Jesus is the Son of God
While scientists and theologians continue to debate evolution and
intelligent design, the majority of adults (64%) believe God directly created
human beings, 22% believe human beings evolved from earlier species, and 10%
believe human beings are so complex ?that they required a powerful force or
intelligent being to help create them.
Source: Harris Poll, June 2005 and Baptist Press, October 2005
Left or right?
On sex, abortion, gay rights and drugs, strongly religious students lean right,
according to a study at the University of California Los Angeles, but the same
students lean left on gun control and the death penalty.
Source: Leadership, Winter 2006 and USA Today
To some "compassionate conservatism" sounds like an oxymoron, but a new book
affirms this descriptor concluding that religious conservatives actually give
30% more to charitable causes than secular liberals.
Source: Baptist Press, December 1, 2006 and Who Really Cares: The
Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism by Arthur C.
Youth workers have a wonderful opportunity to help students create a strong
connection to Christ. 37% of teens say they aren't sure how to connect to their
religion, but 83% of those would like to make a more meaningful connection.
Source: Christianity Today, March 2006 and Pew Forum on Religion and
Public Life, University of Chicago National Opinion Research Center, B'nai
B'rith Youth Organization
Religion in the public square
29% of the public thinks religion is playing too big a role in American
politics and cultural life, but 37% thinks its role is too small.
Source: Newsweek, November 13, 2006
Effective evangelism involves cultivating a message relevant to the specific
group or individual you're sharing with. When building relationships and
sharing Christ with people in your community consider these generational
Mosaics (ages 18 to 22) lead the pack in looking forward to movies and
music. They're also more interested than others in spending time with friends,
shopping for clothing, eating at restaurants, engaging in sports or exercise
and discussing religion with friends.
Baby Busters (ages 23 through 41) are far more drawn to visiting far away
places and also are highly motivated to cook meals. They're the least likely to
want to discuss religious matters with others.
Baby Boomers (ages 42 through 60) are among those who most cherish time
working on their yard.
People older than 60 are by far the most attracted to church services (60%
compared to the national average of 40% who looked forward to attending) and
reading the Bible (45% versus the national norm of 31%).
Source: The Barna Update, October 16, 2006
Belief in the existence of God varies depending on which region of the
country you live in, according to a recent Gallup Poll. Residents of the South
are most likely to express certainty about the existence of God (88%); least
likely are Easterners (70%) and Westerners (71%) and those who live in the
Midwest fall somewhere in between at 77%.
While the U.S. population is growing by
one person every 11 seconds, churches in North America struggle to keep up with
the growth. The director of the American Church Research Project, Dave Olson,
who has been working for years to record actual attendance of churches across
the country, says that overall church attendance is virtually unchanged from 15
years ago despite a U.S. population growth of 52 million people. According to
Olson's research, the northeastern part of the country is the only region where
the church is growing faster than the population while no state has seen a net
increase in the percentage of church attendance in the last five years. "The
evangelical church is becoming suburban, affluent and educated," Olson says.
"The Christian community needs a restoration of its understanding of the
message and mission of Jesus. It needs to be less self-righteous,
individualistic and materialistic. It needs to be more biblical,
Christo-centric and holistic."
Source: Crosswalk.com, October 18, 2006
In today's wired world, many consumers have traded in their checkbooks in
favor of paying bills and taking care of business electronically. This trend
has led many churches to embrace new ways of tithing. One option is e-giving, a
program that can be integrated into a church's website allowing donations to be
accepted via credit card or bank draft. Another alternative is giving kiosks.
These machines are installed in the church and work like an ATM. After entering
a phone number and PIN, users swipe a debit or credit card and then designate
the amount they would like to give. The benefits of these systems are
convenience, ease of use and more consistent giving. The Kintera/Luth Nonprofit
Trend Report shows that online contributors give as much as 50% more than those
who give through traditional means. Marty Baker, pastor of Stevens Creek
Community Church in Martinez, Georgia, and developer of the giving kiosks, says
that his church has seen an 18% bump in donations. And it doesn't only work for
big churches. According to Matt Whitaker of Smart Payment Solutions, churches
with only five to 10 people using electronic giving still benefit from it.
Source: Your Church, November/December 2006 and nytimes.com
A third of Americans don't take all the vacation days coming to them,
according to a survey by Harris Interactive and the travel site Expedia. The
average worker earned 14 days last year and forfeited four of them. Another 43%
of American office workers take their work with them on vacation. Instead of
forfeiting any vacation days, why not use them for a short-term mission trip.
Visit www.thebridge.namb.net or
www.namb.net/fom today and make plans for
a short-term mission trip.
Sources: CNNMoney.com and World Magazine, August 12,
"Our age is the only one in the world's history when God's people have
attempted to spread the Truth over the whole face of the earth. This is because
ours is the only age in which have existed the providential conditions to
render such an undertaking possible. These conditions are: access to all
peoples, means sufficient for enterprise, and people free, numerous, and
powerful whose shibboleth is, 'Thus saith the Lord.'"
Dr. Henry A. Tupper, President, Foreign Mission Board (now IMB) in his
report to the SBC Annual Meeting, Birmingham, Alabama, 1891
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC