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“Some churches, for certain, abandon many of the cardinal truths of the
faith in their quest to be relevant to the community they serve. But even more
churches are woefully unaware of the realities, hope and pains of those around
us. Failure to be true to doctrines of the Christian faith leads to apostasy.
Failure to understand the world in which we live and serve leads to
Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources,
writing about the characteristics of dying churches.
Source: Outreach Magazine
“Stop praying for persecution in China to end. It is through persecution
that the church has grown. We, in fact, are praying that the American church
might taste the same persecution so revival would come to the American church
like we have seen in China.”
A leader of the Chinese house-church movement speaking
to a reporter from the International Mission Board
Source: World, October 1, 2005
“The way I look at the Cooperative Program is that the Scripture commands us
to tithe and, in my way of thinking, the Cooperative Program is like the
church’s tithe. If we are encouraging our people to give no less than a tithe,
it’s my belief the church should give no less than a tithe to the Cooperative
Virginia Barker, Sunday School teacher and stewardship
committee member at Capital Baptist Church in Salem, Oregon, on the church’s
decision to give a tenth of its income to the Cooperative Program.
Source: Baptist Press
Fathers have far more influence on the spiritual habits of their children
than mothers, according to researchers. A recent study examined whether
parents’ religious habits were transferred to their children. According to the
study, the practices of the father determine whether children grow up attending
church or not. The habits of the mother have almost no influence over their
kids’ future religious practices.
Here’s the real bombshell: when Dad is faithful but Mom never attends, 44%
of the kids end up as regular church attenders!
Source: Pastors.com and “The Truth About Men & Church,”
Touchstone, June 2003
Faith is related to people’s view of their peacefulness in life. Almost all
evangelicals—98%—stated they were at peace. That figure was lower for all other
faith segments: 89% among Protestants, 88% of notional Christians, 85% among
non-evangelical born again Christians, 85% of Catholics, 68% of people
associated with non-Christian faiths and 67% of atheists and agnostics.
Source: The State of the Church: 2005 by George
The average American is a ravenous media junkie, consuming up to nine hours
a day of television, web time or cell-phone minutes, according to new research
which raises questions about how technology is revolutionizing society. There’s
plenty of speculation about the impact of media on our daily lives. One theory
suggests that as people become more connected electronically they are becoming
less connected personally. Some experts question the ability of consumers to
decipher fact from fiction as they are inundated with information.
The survey conducted by Ball State University found that television is still
the most dominant media device used by the average American, but computers
quickly are catching up.
One of the survey’s conclusions is that multi-tasking is on the rise, with
30% of ‘media time’ spent on one or more devices simultaneously—such as people
watching TV while reading their email.
Source: Ball State University,www.bsu.edu and BREIBART.com
Only 13% of top executives at big companies say strong ethical values are
the most important leadership trait for CEOs, down from 20% in 2003.
Source: BusinessWeek and The Week, September 9,
About 75% of Americans hold some form of belief in the paranormal.
Source: Gallup poll
Love is all you need55% of Americans say love is what
makes a family, and it doesn’t matter
if people are gay, straight, married or single.
Source: Religion & Ethics News Weekly, “Faith and Family in America”
poll, October 2005
My mom and her live-in40% of children will live with
their mom and her boyfriend before they turn 16, according to the National
Institute of Child Health & Human Development.
Acceptable alternative?54% of female high school
seniors say they believe having a child outside of marriage is a worthwhile
lifestyle, up from 33% in 1980, according to the University of Michigan Survey
Research Center. And 40% of female twentysomethings would consider having a
baby on their own if they reached their mid-30s and hadn’t found the right man
In 1982 the average Southern Baptist church gave 10.7% of their undesignated
receipts to the Cooperative Program for funding national and international
missions, compared to 7% in 2002 and 6.5% in 2005.
Source: Baptist Press, March 16, 2006
Science now tells us that after our mid-fifties, 70% of aging is controlled
by our lifestyle: how actively we move around, whether we smoke or drink to
excess, how well we sleep, how many close friends we keep up with and how
engaged we remain in life, work and community. Medical improvements combined
with renewed focus on healthy lifestyles have increased life expectancy so that
the average baby-boomer male is expected to live into his late 70s and the
average female into her 80s.
Source: Parade, December 11, 2005
By the year 2030 the U.S. Census Bureau projects the U.S. population will
have grown by nearly 30% to 363 million,
up from 281 million in 2000.
Source: The Week, January 13, 2006, and The Washington
The percentage of unchurched Americans has remained relatively unchanged
over the last quarter-century. A recent Gallup Poll put the percentage at 43%,
down slightly from its high point of 47% in 2001 and more in line with what
we’ve seen in other years.
Dan Brown’s best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code has been casting
doubt on Christian beliefs since it hit the best seller list. And with the
movie premiere in May Christians should be prepared for the questions raised
and doubts cast by this controversial story. A poll commissioned by the North
American Mission Board’s Center for Missional Research with Zogby International
shed some light on how people understand and respond to The Da Vinci
Of those polled 23% had read the book, 43% indicated they had not read the
book but were familiar with the content, and 34% indicated they were not
familiar with the content. The study also showed that the more familiar a
person was with the content of the book the more likely they were to believe
its claims to be true and to believe Christianity is suppressing the
The good news is that those who believe the claims of The Da Vinci
Code are a small minority. When asked, “Which book would you consider to
be closer to the truth…” 72% said the Bible and only 6% said The Da Vinci
Another positive is that almost half of those surveyed (44%) said after
hearing the claims of The Da Vinci Code they were more likely to seek
the truth through studying the Bible. Christians can respond to the hoopla of
the movie and turn it into an opportunity to engage in conversation and share
the truth of Christ with unbelievers.
For more information on answering specific questions raised by The Da
Vinci Code see “Deciphering The Da Vinci Code Movie”
Source: Baptist Press, November 17, 2005
Much confusion surrounds what it means to call oneself a “born again
Christian,” according to a study by the Barna Group.
The study revealed that terminology used by followers of Jesus Christ
reflect a variety of meanings. “While the most widely held description is
simply ‘Christian,’ that term represents a segment of adults who engage in less
religious activity and possess less orthodox views than do people who associate
themselves with other descriptions,” George Barna said.
Although 80% of adults in the United States call themselves “Christian,”
Barna found that 68% consider themselves “committed Christians,” and 45% use
the phrase “born again Christian.” Barna discovered that one-quarter of those
who call themselves born again did not meet the Barna Group’s criteria for born
again; meaning they rely upon something other than God’s grace as their means
The research suggests that phrases do not necessarily possess universally
understood meanings. “With more than 250 Protestant denominations in the United
States and the increasing diversity and customization within the spiritual
realm, it’s not surprising there is very limited common understanding with such
language,” Barna said. “The challenge may be to avoid reliance on labels and
brief adjectives as religious profiles.”
Source: Barna Update, November 29, 2005
A recent Gallup poll dug a little deeper into America’s certainty about
78% are convinced God exists
12% think God probably exists, but have a little doubt
4% think God probably exists, but have a lot of doubt
4% think God probably does not exist, but are not sure
1% are convinced God does not exist
One reason why evangelistic activity in the U.S. is limited may relate to
people’s sense of responsibility to share their faith with others. Currently,
only one-third of the public (34%) strongly affirms a personal responsibility
to share their religious beliefs with others. One-sixth (17%) feels some
compulsion to do so, but not strongly. The other half of the population
dismisses the responsibility to evangelize: 18% reject the responsibility
mildly, but 30% strongly disagree they have such a duty.
Enrollment has increased 70.6% since 1990, from 135,000 to 230,000, at the
102 evangelical schools belonging to the Council of Christian Colleges and
Universities, according to a report by USA Today.
During the same period, enrollments at public colleges increased by only
12.8%, and at private colleges the increase was 28%. The report suggested
students are drawn to the smaller, Christian schools because the large size of
many public universities makes it more difficult to develop deep, meaningful
relationships with peers.
Also, religious students often prefer to study in an environment where their
beliefs will be respected rather than criticized or challenged. “There is a
sense that the people who dominate the faculties at secular universities do
have an antipathy toward traditional religion,” Naomi Schaefer Riley, author of
“God on the Quad: How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation Are
Changing America,” told USA Today. “It’s nice for [students] to go to
a place where they don’t have to always be defending their beliefs.”
USA Today mentioned Cedarville University, a Christian school in
Cedarville, Ohio, affiliated with the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio.
Richard Chewning of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, is paying more in tuition than he
would for a secular school so that his granddaughter can attend Cedarville.
“The worst form of destruction for a younger person’s worldview is to take it
into an environment where it is laughed at and ridiculed,” Chewning, a retired
Baylor University ethicist, told USA Today. An 18-year-old is “like a
hot-house tomato. If you stick them in a humanistically oriented university...
they’re going to get scorched rather than watered.”
Source: USA Today, December 14, 2005
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