GEN. Z & Youth for Christ says over 7,000 made decisions for Christ, doubling total from last year.

by Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post, 11/20/22.

Despite the onslaught of challenges and cultural confusion faced by many of America’s youth, God is at work, says the Christian group Youth for Christ, which saw more than 7,000 children and teens decide to follow Jesus Christ this year, doubling last year’s numbers. 

Youth for Christ, which has 130 chapters nationwide, reports 7,323 individuals gave their lives to Christ this year, according to K-LoveChristian media.

“Twice as many kids made first-time decisions to follow Jesus when compared to last year,” YFC President and CEO Jake Bland was quoted as saying. “It is clear that God’s Spirit is moving through leaders everywhere across the nation, and that the Gospel is as needed and as effective as ever, especially as the unfailing love of Christ meets today’s changing youth landscape.”

Bland added that “there is a growing need among young people,” referring to the U.S. Surgeon General’s recent statement that youth mental health is in a state of emergency.

Despite the onslaught of challenges and cultural confusion faced by many of America’s youth, God is at work, says the Christian group Youth for Christ, which saw more than 7,000 children and teens decide to follow Jesus Christ this year, doubling last year’s numbers. 

Youth for Christ, which has 130 chapters nationwide, reports 7,323 individuals gave their lives to Christ this year, according to K-LoveChristian media.

“Twice as many kids made first-time decisions to follow Jesus when compared to last year,” YFC President and CEO Jake Bland was quoted as saying. “It is clear that God’s Spirit is moving through leaders everywhere across the nation, and that the Gospel is as needed and as effective as ever, especially as the unfailing love of Christ meets today’s changing youth landscape.”

Bland added that “there is a growing need among young people,” referring to the U.S. Surgeon General’s recent statement that youth mental health is in a state of emergency.

Read more at … https://www.christianpost.com/news/youth-for-christ-over-7000-children-teens-accept-christ.html

GRIT & ‘Grit’ Author Angela Duckworth Says This Question Separates People Who Give Up From People Who Get Back Up Again: “Have you crossed the Rubicon?”

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: my doctoral students know that I emphasize the importance of persistence and how “Grit” author Angela Duckworth has proven this in her research and illustrated it in her TED talks. Angela Duckworth gives us an important metaphor about not turning back when she asks (article below): “Have you crossed the Rubicon?”

Jesus emphasized this about 2,000 years earlier when he stated, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 NIV.

by Jessica Stillman, Inc. Magazine, 11/8/22.

… Duckworth claims mindset also plays an important role in determining whether someone has the grit to weather setbacks.

The difference between grit and giving up, she writes, comes down to whether or not someone has “crossed the Rubicon.” If you’re a little hazy on your history, the expression comes from the time of Julius Caesar. When the Roman general decided to lead his army across the Rubicon river even though the Roman Senate had expressly forbidden him from doing so, he committed a clear act of treason. There was no going back. His options became victory or death. 

Obviously, few of us today literally put our lives on the line in pursuit of our dreams. No one will execute you if your business venture fails. You will live to tell the tale if your acting career doesn’t work out. But Duckworth insists that, for maximum grit, you metaphorically need to “cross the Rubicon” and go all-in in pursuit of your goals. 

“Being all in means you’re fully committed to your goal. You’re no longer weighing the pros and cons of your dreams. Instead, you’re figuring out how to make them a reality,” she writes. Those who cross the Rubicon are no longer asking whether they should chase their goals, they’re solely focused on how to chase them. Changing just that single wordmakes all the difference when it comes to your level of grit. 

“Is that a dream or a plan?”

Duckworth’s instance that mental toughness boils down to focusing on the process you’re using to pursue your goals rather than whether they are the right goals at all reminded me of similar advice from author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss. He too says the difference between dreamers and achievers boils down to a small change in language, though he makes his argument slightly differently.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/grit-author-angela-duckworth-1-word-people-give-up-people-get-back-up.html

GRIT & ‘Grit’ Author Angela Duckworth Says This Question Separates People Who Give Up From People Who Get Back Up Again: “Have you crossed the Rubicon?”

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: my doctoral students know that I emphasize the importance of persistence and how “Grit” author Angela Duckworth has proven this in her research and illustrated it in her TED talks. Angela Duckworth gives us an important metaphor about not turning back when she asks (article below): “Have you crossed the Rubicon?”

Jesus emphasized this about 2,000 years earlier when he stated, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 NIV.

by Jessica Stillman, Inc. Magazine, 11/8/22.

… Duckworth claims mindset also plays an important role in determining whether someone has the grit to weather setbacks.

The difference between grit and giving up, she writes, comes down to whether or not someone has “crossed the Rubicon.” If you’re a little hazy on your history, the expression comes from the time of Julius Caesar. When the Roman general decided to lead his army across the Rubicon river even though the Roman Senate had expressly forbidden him from doing so, he committed a clear act of treason. There was no going back. His options became victory or death. 

Obviously, few of us today literally put our lives on the line in pursuit of our dreams. No one will execute you if your business venture fails. You will live to tell the tale if your acting career doesn’t work out. But Duckworth insists that, for maximum grit, you metaphorically need to “cross the Rubicon” and go all-in in pursuit of your goals. 

“Being all in means you’re fully committed to your goal. You’re no longer weighing the pros and cons of your dreams. Instead, you’re figuring out how to make them a reality,” she writes. Those who cross the Rubicon are no longer asking whether they should chase their goals, they’re solely focused on how to chase them. Changing just that single wordmakes all the difference when it comes to your level of grit. 

“Is that a dream or a plan?”

Duckworth’s instance that mental toughness boils down to focusing on the process you’re using to pursue your goals rather than whether they are the right goals at all reminded me of similar advice from author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss. He too says the difference between dreamers and achievers boils down to a small change in language, though he makes his argument slightly differently.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/grit-author-angela-duckworth-1-word-people-give-up-people-get-back-up.html

GENERATIONS & Gen Z’s favorite brands, revealed.

by Jennifer Kingson, Axios, 9/29/22.

… The youngest generation of adults is so crazy for tech companies that YouTube, Google, Netflix and Amazon are their four favorite corporate brands, a new Morning Consult survey finds.

  • Gen Z also loves junk food and mass retail: The other brands in their top 10 are M&Ms, Doritos, KitKat and Oreo, plus Amazon, Walmart and Target. 
  • Two new-ish brands they’re wild about? Discord, a chat app popular with gamers, and Shein, a Chinese fast-fashion company.

Why it matters: People ages 18-25 have increasing societal clout and spending power, but their tastes don’t always conform to those of their elders — particularly millennials, with whom they’re often lumped in.

  • Compared with millennials, they’re much more likely to favor Discord, TikTok, Crocs, Snapchat and Shein.
  • Brands they’re more keen on than the general public include Trolli (the purveyors of sour gummy worms), Twitch (the game-streaming platform) and Fenty Beauty (Rihanna’s brand).

Driving the news: Morning Consult’s poll — conducted May 1-Aug. 21, with about 16,000 adults weighing in on each brand — found that Gen Z’s tastes tilt most heavily toward tech, social media and gaming companies, as well as food and beverage brands.

Read more at … https://www.axios.com/2022/09/29/gen-z-favorite-brands

GENERATIONS & Where Gen Z and Millennials Split on Brand Love.

by Paul Hiebert, Ad week, 9/29/22.

…a new report on Gen Z’s favorite brandsfrom Morning Consult, which surveyed U.S. adults around the country between early May and late August.

… Here are Gen Z’s top 10 favorite brands:

More interesting results, perhaps, appear when comparing the brands Gen Z likes with the brands millennials like. Defined as individuals born between 1981 and 1996, millennials are as close as it gets to Gen Z. Mere months separate the youngest millennials from the oldest members of Gen Z, who probably experienced the same hit songs and fashion trends in the same way at the same time.

Brands with the widest favorability difference between Gen Z and millennials include Discord, TikTok and Crocs. Snapchat, Shein and Fenty Beauty are also significantly more popular among Gen Z shoppers than millennials. Here are the brands Gen Z likes most compared to millennials: 

Why might this be? Read more at … https://www.adweek.com/commerce/brands-gen-z-like-more-than-millennials/

GENERATIONS & How Americans Spend Their Money by Generation.

by Preethi Lodka, Salesforce, 9/25/22.

…This graphic by Preethi Lodha uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to show how average Americans spend their money, and how annual expenses vary across generations.

A Generational Breakdown of Overall Spending

Overall in 2021, Gen X (anyone born from 1965 to 1980) spent the most money of any U.S. generation, with an average annual expenditure of $83,357.

Generation/ Birth Year Range / Average Annual Expenditure (2021)

Silent 1945 or earlier $44,683

Boomers 1946 to 1964 $62,203

Generation X 1965 to 1980 $83,357

Millennials 1981 to 1996 $69,061

Generation Z 1997 or later $41,636

Gen X has been nicknamed the “sandwich generation” because many members of this age group are financially supporting both their aging parents as well as children of their own.

The second biggest spenders are Millennials with an average annual expenditure of $69,061. Just like Gen X, this generation’s top three spending categories are housing, healthcare, and personal insurance. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, members of Generation Z are the lowest spenders with an average of $41,636. per year. Their spending habits are expected to ramp up, especially considering that in 2022 the oldest Gen Zers are just 25 and still early in their careers.

Read more at … https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/preethilo/viz/HowAmericansSpendTheirMoney/ConsumerSpendingbyGeneration

Read More at … https://www.visualcapitalist.com/cp/how-americans-spend-their-money-2022/

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & Church average attendance has dropped from 137 in 2000 to 65 today! Here’s a chart and links to best practices to address that …

by Bob Whitsel D.Min., Ph.D., 7/25/22.

Generally the church has declined from an average of one 137 attendees, 20 years ago to 65 attendees today.  Below is a chart that illustrates that. This means if you were involved in a church 20 years ago, either as a pastor or attendee, you would see the average church drop to 50% smaller than it was!  That’s scary for many congregants.  

But, it’s important that people understand this is a societal motor (yet something we as leaders must address). However, this drop is not fully the fault of the local church. A church can remain comparatively plateaued, but be declining in attendance because of societal motors.

Here’s the handouts from the seminar, “Growing the Post-pandemic Church” with field-tested solutions. And here is a visual from that seminar on the “average” sized church according to the Hartford Institute’s American Religious Identification Survey (one of the most exhaustive surveys available today).

handouts-coker-church-c2a9whitesel-growing-post-pandemic-churchDownload

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & Working From Home: 53% Of Remote Workers Are Quitting Due To Outdated Benefits.

by Jasmine Browley, Essence Magazine, 6/15/22.

Working remotely has become heavily favored by many workers over the last few years for many reasons that include better work-life balance, money saved on daily commutes and comfortable work environments are key factors that come to mind. 

But according to a new study, this isn’t enough to keep workers around. 

Paychex survey more than 1,000 employees across the U.S across various leadership levels about what they’re looking for in benefit packages. The participants also discussed how important these benefits are when considering the viability of the companies they’re working for. 

While 88% of employees reported satisfaction with their benefits while working on-site, and that number dropped to 71% when they switched to remote work. That number rose to 77% for those participants whose companies offered upgraded benefits workers. 

The survey also asked which benefits were most important. The most common benefit updates for remote workers included flexible working hours and performance bonuses. When asked which additional benefits were most important, employees said they valued a home office stipend (31%) and reimbursement for internet costs (30%). 

The full report can be found here.

And read more from Essence Magazine here … https://www.essence.com/news/money-career/remote-workers-importance-of-benefits-workplace-morale/

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & Angela Duckworth, author of the bestseller “Grit,” explains why, two years into the pandemic, even the grittiest people are quitting, stepping down, or scaling back. And, she suggests three things to do to address this.

by Danica Lo, Fast Company Magazine, 6/15/22.

It’s been six years since psychologist and University of Pennsylvania Professor Angela Duckworth published her bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. After more than two years of behavioral and societal shifts that have drastically altered cultural values around work and achievement (see: the Great Resignation), Duckworth discusses Grit in hindsight in the first episode of The Next Chapter, a new podcast created for the American Express Business Class platform, out today.

For Duckworth, the tenets of Grit still hold true—that high-achievers are people who not only possess passion, but who also persevere. But, especially in these post-pandemic years, finding passion, or a directional focus, an be difficult and confusing. “For many of us, work ethic, getting feedback, practicing things we can’t yet do, being resilient—all that is easier than knowing what to be persevering about,” she says.

…“When someone is super-gritty, it’s because they’re pursuing something they really love and they actually feel there’s hope to make progress on [it],” Duckworth says. “One reason people might be burning out right now is that, for whatever reasons, there is some erosion of that hope that the future is bright for what they’re doing.”

…“The lesson in the pandemic is that if we want to be grittier or if we want to understand how to make other people grittier, there has to be some valid sense of hope for that person—that what they’re doing is going to be enough and that the future has some reason to believe that it’s brighter,” Duckworth says.

1. Mentorship …

2. Connect workers to a higher purpose

3. Establish a culture of grit …

Read more at … https://www.fastcompany.com/90761050/burnout-angela-duckworth-grit?

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & The Reformation Succeeded because of the Printing Press. Today’s #eReformation is following a similar trajectory with some churches embracing new avenues to make disciples.

by Joshua J. Mark, World History Encyclopedia, 5/24/22.

… There Were Reformers before Martin Luther

Before Martin Luther’s 95 Theses sparked the Reformation, other attempts had been made to correct what were seen as abuses and false teachings of the Catholic Church. The Paulicians and Waldensians had advocated reform while the Catharsseparated themselves completely from the Church. The two best-known proto-Reformers, however, are the English theologian and priest John Wycliffe (l. 1330-1384) and the Bohemian priest Jan Hus (l. c. 1369-1415). Wycliffe inspired Hus, whose efforts were the driving force behind the Hussite Wars (1419 to c. 1434) and the Bohemian Reformation (c. 1380 to c. 1436), two of the earliest attempts at reform. Martin Luther would later reference Hus, who was executed in 1415 as a heretic, as a role model for Christians in pursuing a true relationship with God based solely on faith and one’s own interpretation of scripture. Contrary to legend, however, Hus never ‘predicted’ Luther’s activism; this story is a later invention by Luther’s followers.

The Reformation Succeeded because of the Printing Press

… The Reformation succeeded, while earlier efforts at reform had failed, primarily because of the invention of the printing press c. 1440. Wycliffe and Hus made many of the same points later articulated by reformers but lacked the technology to share their views with a wider audience. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses were popularized through print, as were his other writings which were then translated and printed elsewhere, inspiring a wider movement outside of Germany… Translations of the Bible, commentaries on scripture, and attacks on the Catholic Church – as well as by the Church on Protestant sects – were all made possible by mass-produced books and pamphlets. The popularity of these religious works in print contributed to a rise in literacy in Europe, which is an aspect of the Reformation often highlighted.

Read more at … https://www.worldhistory.org/article/2003/ten-protestant-reformation-facts-you-need-to-know/

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & More houses of worship are returning to normal operations, but in-person attendance is unchanged since fall. #PewResearch

by Justin Nortey, 3/25/22.

As COVID-19 cases continue to decline and pandemic restrictions are eased across the United States, churches and other houses of worship increasingly are holding services the way they did before the outbreak began, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. But there has not been a corresponding rise over the past six months in the share of Americans who are attending in-person services.

A line graph showing that the share of churches and other houses of worship operating as they did pre-pandemic continues to rise

… The same survey shows that attendance at in-person services – which grew steadily from July 2020 through September 2021 – has plateaued, as has the share of adults watching religious services online or on TV.

… The survey’s questions about in-person and virtual attendance can be combined to provide a sense of how many people are watching services online instead of attending in person, and how many are watching online in addition to attending in person. The Center’s survey finds that among all adults who say they typically attend services at least monthly, 36% have both attended in person and watched services digitally in the last month, while three-in-ten (31%) say they have only attended in person but not watched online or on TV in the last month.

One-in-five (21%) may still be substituting virtual attendance for in-person attendance, saying they recently have watched religious services online or on TV but have not attended in person. Just 12% of self-described regular attenders report that they have neither gone in person nor watched services virtually in the last month.

A bar chart showing that roughly one-in-five Americans who typically attend services monthly have participated virtually but not in person in the last month

Read more at … https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/03/22/more-houses-of-worship-are-returning-to-normal-operations-but-in-person-attendance-is-unchanged-since-fall/?

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & The Cure for Burnout, According to Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman: Play More. Apparently, even genius physicists experience burnout. Here’s how one overcame it.

by Jessica Stillman, Inc. Magazine, 5/6/22.

It’s official: Post-pandemic America is incredibly burned out. “According to Google Trends, which since 2004 has collected data on what the world is searching for, queries for ‘burnout’ –from work, life, and school–are at an all-time high in the US,” Quartz recently reported.

In his 1985 book Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! physicist and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynmanrecounted his own case of burnoutand explained what worked to cure him (hat tip to Kottke). His prescription is a whole lot more pleasant than a lot of advice you’ll get about rejiggering your work responsibilities or schedule: Play more.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/burnout-richard-feynman-albert-einstein.html

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & How the Great Resignation is turning into a great opportunity for leaders.

by John Connors, Fast Company Magazine, 4/27/22.

… The facts are straightforward: 68% of employees are rethinking what they want from their career.

… The Great Resignation is an opportunity to more aggressively advocate for new working models that enable new talent pools, improve company performance, and encourage people’s well-being.

As we all know, the office model for success has been relatively static since the inception of the knowledge economy post-WWII. Too many companies have abused the model and treated employees as resources to control rather than as people and lives to be optimized. But as we are learning now, the average American daily commute of 56 minutes per day, while perhaps balancing a family or caregiver responsibilities, was not high-motivation strategy.

Read more at … https://www.fastcompany.com/90745978/how-the-great-resignation-is-turning-into-a-great-opportunity-for-leaders?

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & Study Shows 74 Percent of Introverts Don’t Want Full-Time Remote Work. They Want This Instead

by Jeff Steen, Inc. Magazine, 4/12/22.

… In a recent study detailed in The Wall Street Journal. In fact, they found something quite different: 82% of extroverted workers would prefer a hybrid work model, with 15% actually preferring full-time remote work. Self-described introverts, on the other hand — a whopping 74% of them — said they wanted to be in the office at least part-time.

CEOs and people leaders who are navigating our new normal should see a lesson here, namely that employee preferences aren’t as black and white as management would like.

As one introverted employee, quoted in the article, noted: “At the end of the day, I want to be home by myself, but it doesn’t mean you can’t crave other people’s company.” Indeed, as Myers-Briggs’ head of thought leadership, John Hackston, noted, the takeaway here is that new work models shouldn’t be all or none — or even as highly regulated as some managers would want. The control should land with employees.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/jeff-steen/study-shows-74-percent-of-introverts-dont-want-full-time-remote-work-they-want-this-instead.html

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & WFH? Do this one thing to retain your employees and avoid the Great Resignation by Bob Whitesel PhD

Read more at … https://www.biblicalleadership.com/blogs/wfh-do-this-one-thing-to-retain-your-employees-and-avoid-the-great-resignation/?utm_source=BLC&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EMNA&utm_content=2022-04-07

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & People’s return to in-person worship services has stalled. There has been virtually no change in average attendance since August 2021… 1 in 4 pre-pandemic churchgoers are still missing from in-person worship services. #LifeWay

“Churches Still Recovering From Pandemic Losses” by Aaron Earls, LifeWay Research, 3/1/22

More than 8 in 10 churches have an attendance of at least half of what it was prior to the pandemic. The average U.S. Protestant church reports attendance at 74% of what it was prior to COVID-19, which means 1 in 4 pre-pandemic churchgoers are still missing from in-person worship services.

“People’s return to in-person worship services has stalled,” said McConnell. “There has been virtually no change in average attendance since August 2021. Some of this is the direct impact of COVID with people getting sick, needing to quarantine or being at high risk. But this also likely includes healthy individuals choosing to not return.”

Read more at … https://research.lifeway.com/2022/03/01/churches-still-recovering-from-pandemic-losses/

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & Workplaces are in denial over how much Americans have changed. Now employees “pose the ultimate questions about death, about mortality: what is life for? What is our relationship with God?”

by Alvin Chang, The UK Guardian Newspaper, 3/21/22.

Nearly six months before Covid-19, the Yale historian Frank Snowden wrote a book about epidemics and pandemics. What he found was that these periods of suffering reshape not just how societies function, but also how humans want to spend their limited time on Earth.

“Epidemic diseases reach into the deepest levels of the human psyche,” he said in 2020. “They pose the ultimate questions about death, about mortality: what is life for? What is our relationship with God?”

Two years and a pandemic later, Snowden said Covid-19 has challenged another set of beliefs: how America is supposed to work.

Before the pandemic, Americans were already working longer hours than people in other developed nations. Perhaps it was in the spirit of the American dream – the idea that if you work hard, this country will make your sacrifices worth it. But mere days into the pandemic, it became harder to hold on to this myth.

Read more at … https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/mar/21/workplaces-are-in-denial-over-how-much-americans-have-changed?

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & where are people now moving? This population map will show you. #USCensus

by US Census Bureau, 3/24/22.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas

  • Growth:
    • Sixty-five percent (251 of 384) of the metro areas within the 50 states and the District of Columbia experienced population increase between 2020 and 2021.
    • Texas was home to four of the top 10 largest-gaining metro areas.
    • Sixty-three percent of metro areas had positive net domestic migration. Seeing the largest net domestic migration gains were Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ (66,850), Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (54,319), and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL (42,089).
    • Net international migration was positive in 353 (91.9%) of metros.
    • Having gained 17,133 residents between 2020 and 2021, Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN, crossed the threshold of 2 million residents, for a total population of 2,012,476.
  • Decline:
    • Metro areas with notable numeric population declines between 2020 and 2021 were San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA (-116,385) and Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI (-91,671).
    • Lake Charles, LA (-5.3%), Odessa, TX (-2.6%) and San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA (-2.5%) had the largest percent decreases in population.

GROWING THE POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH & #ElmerTowns at #GCRN at #Exponential says a secret has always been using new methods of communication, such as (increasingly) via a camera. #GreatCommissionResearchNetwork

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: My friend and professional inspiration has been Elmer Towns, prolific author (over 200 books), scholar and student of outreach. Looking back over 50 years of studying how churches grow, ne said that teaching/preaching via new methods (today online via cameras) is one of the most important secrets of church growth.

Dr. Elmer Towns at the Great Commission Research Network Annual Conference at Exponential.

Learn more about the Great Commission Research Network at https://www.greatcommissionresearch.com