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"I know there are other ways of doing missions, but there is no better way
than the Cooperative Program. I'm talking to you as a former missionary. The
Cooperative Program is the most effective way to reach the world with the
gospel of Jesus Christ. That's why we're involved with it. We're a
Calvin Wittman, pastor of Applewood Baptist Church in
Wheat Ridge, Colorado, and former IMB missionary to Spain
"Another reason I'm a Southern Baptist and I want to be a Southern Baptist
is for missions based on the Cooperative Program. Individual churches should do
their own missions, but I think what one church can do is so limited. But
together with all Southern Baptist churches and IMB [International Mission
Board] and NAMB [North American Mission Board], that's really working better
and working continually. It doesn't stop."
David Gill, pastor of Concord Korean Baptist Church in
"To have 250 souls saved in one weekend is no small thing. That was a very
good weekend for San Diego."
Dwight Simpson, director of missions for the San Diego
Southern Baptist Association commenting on the success of the I.C.E strategy in
a city known for it's spiritual climate of indifference
"We believe our primary purpose is to reach people for Jesus. We want to do
that on a local level, individual level, national level and international
level, and the best tool to do that is the Cooperative Program."
Ray Sikes, pastor of First Baptist Church, Choctaw,
Source: Baptist Press
Church members in the U.S. are giving a smaller percentage of income to the
local church than in previous years, according to a report released by Empty
Tomb, Inc. The Illinois-based Christian research organization found that total
contributions decreased from 3.11% of income in 1968 to 2.59% in 2003, which is
a decline of 17% in the portion of income donated to the church, the report
said. Only 9% of born again Christians tithed to churches in 2004, according to
a recent study by Barna research.
Americans gave $91 billion in cash donations to charity in 2003, but if
church members had given 10% of their incomes, the total would include an
additional $156 billion to be used through churches.
The survey of 28 Protestant denominations representing 146,000 of the total
estimated 350,000 congregations in the United States found that for each dollar
donated to a congregation, denominations spent only 2 cents on overseas
missions in 2003, down from 7 cents in the 1920s.
Source: www.emptytomb.org and Barna
More Americans are feeling the affects of
caring for aging parents while meeting the needs of dependent children. Nearly
45 million Americans are caring for ailing adult family members. More than 60%
of these caregivers are women. The majority of female family caregivers are
working women, often with children under 18.
Source: Parade, October 9, 2005
95% Percentage of African-American college students who
believe in God, according to the recent study "The Spiritual Life of College
Students" by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute
76% Percentage of white students who believe in God
The study of more than 100,000 students at 236 colleges and universities
found that African Americans were far more engaged with religion and
spirituality than other students.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Saturday,
Oct. 22, 2005
Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life and pastor of Saddleback
Church in Lake Forest, California, is utilizing another innovative method of
ministry: putting Bible-based quotes on Starbucks coffee cups.
Warren will be part of Starbucks' campaign called "The Way I See It," which
is a collection of thoughts, opinions and expressions provided by notable
figures that now appear on the chain's coffee cups. In the spring, some cups
will begin featuring one of his quotes:
"You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God
did. He wanted you alive and created you for a purpose. Focusing on yourself
will never reveal your real purpose. You were made by God and for God, and
until you understand that, life will never make sense. Only in God do we
discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance
and our destiny."
The quote will mark the first mention of God in the Starbucks quote
campaign, and some people are questioning whether it's appropriate to mix
marketing and religion.
An unborn baby's heart begins to beat 18
days after conception, and his fingerprints are completely established during
the fourth week of development in his mother's womb.
More than 75% of women in a crisis pregnancy choose life when given the
opportunity to see a sonogram of the baby they're carrying. "Pregnant mothers
who see their babies on sonograms are going to be far more likely to carry
their baby to term," said Richard Land, president of the SBC's Ethics and
Religious Liberty Commission. "Ultrasound machines save babies' lives."
Of course, this is only possible when women can go to a pregnancy resource
center with an ultrasound machine. Land estimates that less than 33% of all
U.S. centers have access to ultrasound technology and a trained operator on
The ERLC has partnered with The Heidi Group for the Psalm 139 Project in an
effort to put sonogram machines in pregnancy care centers across the nation.
For more information about how your church can help save lives, call the ERLC
at 800-475-9127 or go to www.psalm139project.org.
Source: SBC Life, January 2006
By 2010 more than half of the families in the U.S. will be in a step-family
Source: TV Guide, September 11-17, 2005
The average American now spends more money on entertainment than on
gasoline, household furnishings or clothing, according to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. The most affluent 20% spend more on cable TV, high-speed Internet
connections, movies, sports events and other diversions-$4,516 a year-than on
health care, utilities, clothing and food eaten at home.
Source: The New York Times
At least 20% of Americans have changed faiths since childhood; 4% have
abandoned religion altogether.
Source: Newsweek, August 29, 2005
71% of Americans believe "God's plan for marriage is one man, one woman for
life," but only 22% see divorce as a sin; 34% of Evangelical Protestants
Source: Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly
In 2005, in a typical week slightly less than half of the adult population
(45%) attended a religious service, other than a special event such as a
wedding or funeral. That is the highest percentage of adults attending
religious services since 1993.
Source: The State of the Church: 2005, The Barna
Got Internet? Most teens do: 87% of 12- to 17-year-olds have Internet
access, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project in 2004.
That's a lot more than the 66% of American adults who are wired. Teens are
almost twice as likely to use instant messaging than adults: 75% of teens IM
compared with only 42% of adults. And older teen girls (ages 15-17) are the
most frequent Internet and cell-phone users. Other teen online activities on
the rise are Internet gaming, shopping and locating health information.
Though not limited to teens, 64% of American Internet users (about 184
million) have used the computer for religious purposes, including sending or
receiving spiritually related e-mails, reading about religious events, checking
service dates and times and sharing prayer requests.
Have your youth ever been on a World
Changers project or other mission trip? About 29% of all American teens (ages
13-17) have participated in a religious mission trip or service project at
least once in their lives, according to the National Study of Youth and
Religion. 18% have been on two or more trips, and 10% have served on three or
more mission trips. How does that compare with teens reaching out in their own
homes, schools and communities?
56% of Southern Baptist teens shared their faith with another person in the
last year. SBC teens who participated in organized volunteer or community
service work equaled 32%, while 44% reported directly helping homeless people,
needy neighbors, friends or family in need. Not bad numbers overall, but they
could be better. Maybe it's time to encourage your students to share their
faith at school or make plans to go on a summer mission trip.
Sources: "NSYR Releases Major Report on Protestant
Teens," "Portraits of Protestant Teens," Phil Schwadel and Christian Smith,
National Study of Youth and Religion, www.youthandreligion.org, 2005 and Go! magazine, 2006
There's a new kind of spirituality, and it's coming to an organic food or
aromatherapy store near you. What is influencing Hollywood stars and Wal-Mart
shoppers alike? It's called metrospirituality, and chances are you already know
someone who leads the life of a metrospiritual. Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Gere
and Donna Karan are all metrospirituals. The salesperson who helps you pick out
the perfect blend at Teavana probably is. And the neighbor across the street
who's gone Feng Shui. Are you? Do you go out of your way to buy organic food?
Have you tried yoga or belly-dancing recently? Are you attracted to traditional
crafts from other cultures? Have you thought about buying a hybrid car for its
environmental benefits? Is there a certain aromatherapy scent that brings you
comfort, especially in candle form? If most of your answers are yes, then you
might count yourself among the growing number of metrospirituals-the kinder,
gentler post-Yuppies who want to treat the earth and native cultures with
respect, connect with their inner source and inspiration, test their bodies and
expand their minds with ancient physical practices-and do it all with serious
style. Metrospirituality is the mainstreaming of Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu
values, among others, into an easily digestible, buyable form. Metrospirituals
are searching for a connection to the planet and to each other. They're trying
to fill the need for epiphany, connection or salvation with a luxury consumer
product or experience.
Source: Beliefnet.com, "Riding the Metrospiritual
Wave" by Ariana Speyer
Religion is important to the vast majority of American teens, but most have
a hard time expressing their beliefs and the difference their beliefs make in
their lives. This info comes from the four-year National Study of Youth and
Religion that included interviews with 3,370 randomly selected teens. Some of
the findings include:
80% identify themselves as Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern
Orthodox, Mormon or Jewish82% say they belong to a local church
congregation80% had few or no doubts about their beliefs in the past
year71% feel close to God65% prayed alone at least a few times a week61% definitely believe in miracles from God52% attend worship two or three times a month
80% identify themselves as Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern
Orthodox, Mormon or Jewish
82% say they belong to a local church
80% had few or no doubts about their beliefs in the past
71% feel close to God
65% prayed alone at least a few times a week
61% definitely believe in miracles from God
52% attend worship two or three times a month
Positive stats. But the downside is that most of the teens couldn't describe
clearly or deeply what they believe-an important aspect of being able to share
their faith with others.
Source: "Religion Matters to Teens, Study Says,"
Richard N. Ostling, Associated Press, 2005
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