by Frank Jacobs, World Economic Forum, 3/26/19.
by Arnobio Morelix, Inc. Magazine, 4/2/19.
2. SALT LAKE CITY
by Eileen Flynn, Faith and Leadership Magazine, 3/19/19.
At a time when many churches in the United States are struggling, some even dying, a counternarrative is playing out in booming Austin, one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. Though not all of Austin’s congregations are thriving, some area churches are clearly being squeezed by the region’s population explosion over the last decade. And while packed pews are a cause for celebration, the rapid growth presents challenges, and perhaps even a few lessons — lessons about hospitality, welcome and community in an era of increasing isolation.
The Austin metro area, a five-county region, has grown from 846,000 in 1990 to more than 2 million today. Since 2010, the area has absorbed more than 150 new people a day, counting births, according to a recent report. The city demographer predicts that Austin proper will likely hit the million mark by 2020. Newcomers gravitate to the area for tech jobs, the much-touted Austin lifestyle, and, for those coming from California and East Coast cities, more-affordable housing.
The boom has created big-city hassles: traffic jams and parking problems, a rising median home price, and seemingly endless construction. It’s also led to feelings of isolation and disconnection among residents, who seek community in the midst of massive change.
What are the causes of disconnection and isolation in your community? How can your church address them?
To accommodate the growth, church leaders have added more worship services and programs. They’ve expanded or built new sanctuaries. Some have gone multisite — often digitally streaming sermons from a main location to satellite campuses in the suburbs. They have planted churches like The Well that meet in school cafeterias. And they have created more small groups so members don’t feel overwhelmed.
Matter of arithmetic?
Church growth in Austin may be a simple matter of arithmetic, said Mark Chaves, a Duke University sociologist who studies religion. Population growth has always been an important driver of church growth; more people moving to an area means more people attending its churches. Indeed, some churches in other rapidly growing areas, such as Dallas and Nashville, have also experienced explosive growth.
Although church attendance is declining nationally, it’s impossible to say for sure whether anything exceptional is happening in Austin, barring a study of per capita attendance in the area, Chaves said.
“Whether there’s a higher percentage of Austin population attending church now than before — I suspect not,” he said.
Still, Austin’s rapid urbanization and transience seem to have stirred a longing for a spiritual family, church leaders say. As the city becomes more crowded, new transplants and longtime residents alike can feel lonely and unmoored. And that’s driving up attendance in some congregations.
At Covenant, a Presbyterian (U.S.A) congregation founded in the early 1960s, the four Sunday services draw more than 1,000 people every week, up from about 700 in 2013. The church recently paid off its 60,000-square-foot fellowship and education building. Annual giving is at an all-time high.
“We’re jumping right now,” said the Rev. Thomas Daniel, who has served as senior pastor since 2014. “I love it. This is what you want to be a part of.”
Speaking Hashtags: #StMarksTX
This is second in a series of articles by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D. (5/24/16) introducing the 7SYSTEMS.CHURCH and which first appeared in Church Revitalizer Magazine.
The “7 systems” of a healthy church (www.7Systems.church) is upon an analysis of 32,000 church combined with 25+ years of consulting research and practice. An introduction to the “7 Systems” of a healthy church (www.7Systems.church) can be found here: www.7Systems.church
To revitalize a church, we must first understand what we are revitalizing it into.
This article is the second in the series investigating the “7 Systems” of a healthy church (www.7systems.church) that describes what a revitalized and healthy church looks like. These seven characteristics are drawn from the exhaustive research in Hartford Seminary’s: “American Congregations Study” (available free at http://www.FaithCommunitiesToday.org). While the survey is long, I have broken it down into seven categories of a healthy, revitalized church.
In the series’ first article we looked at “visibility.” Healthy churches are visible either through location or by making an impact in the community. In that Church Revitalizer magazine article you will find ideas to increase physical visibility, social media visibility and member visibility.
The Second Characteristic is a product of a church’s reconciling system: “Reaching Out to a New Culture.”
This article will look at how to reach out to a new, but growing culture. That’s right, most revitalized churches have looked around them and seen what cultures are emerging in the community and they have reached out to them one at a time.
There are many different types of cultures. Most churches already have some experience reaching out to different age cultures. For example, many aging church have looked around and seen younger people moving into the area and reached out to them.
But most churches are less experienced with reaching out to different ethnic cultures. For instance, congregations today are increasingly looking around and noticing that people who speak a different language are moving into the community. Most church do not (yet) have ideas about how to reach out to a ethnic culture. But read on, for this article will show you seven steps to reaching a new and different culture.
How to “Reach a Growing Culture.”
In the above scenarios, a church realizes that the culture that comprises the existing church is not the growing culture in the community. And the church realizes in order to be healthy, it’s existing leaders must help the church transform into a church that represents the growing culture in the community.
This is done in seven field-tested steps first suggested by Harvard Business School professor John P. Kotter.
1. Communicate the urgency. The congregation must realize that it has to reach a growing culture or die with its existing culture. This must include studying the behaviors, ideas and traditions of the new culture. While some aspects of a culture can run counter to the Good News, other aspects may not. Leaders have to do what Eddie Gibbs calls “sift a culture.” He uses a colander metaphor to describe how mature leaders must sift out the impurities that run counter to the Good News, while retaining the good.
2. Create a guiding coalition. This means partnering with leaders from the emerging culture. One of the best ways to do this is to look for what the Bible calls “persons of peace” from the emerging culture (Luke 10:6). The biblical word for peace comes from the Greek “to join” and indicates a person who unites people from divergent cultures. So, look for people who are “peacemakers” with a demonstrated ability to bring different people together. They are usually recognized as a leader or at least an informal influencer in their culture. Begin by looking for them, then invite them to bring along several of their colleagues to help you understand and plan ministry to this culture.
3. Create a vision. This coalition creates a vision to help people visualize what the church will look in five years. This can be a descriptive paragraph depicting what a revitalized and intercultural church might look like.
4. Communicate the vision. You can’t just make a vision statement, you need to regularly in sermons and then Bible studies, stress what the church will look like in the future. Painting the picture over and over again is critical. Research also shows that you are almost three times more likely to change if you attach a story (such as a biblical story) to the change.
5. Empower others to act on the vision. This means beginning to give people from the other culture permission to lead. It also means experimenting with and supporting new ideas from that culture. Because the vision has already been cast and promoted, people are more willing to experiment and try new ideas.
6. Celebrate small wins. After you experiment (in step 5) you will then want to celebrate small wins. Perhaps opening up your facility for use by another culture or if you can afford it hiring a person of peace from that culture to be a minister to that culture. Churches customarily do this by hiring a youth minister to reach out to younger generations or a Hispanic Spanish-speaking minister to reach out to the Hispanic community. When fruit results, no matter how small, you must celebrate it. This gives people an opportunity to see progress.
7. Create bigger and better wins. Don’t be satisfied with small wins, but use them as a stepping stone to more progress. Here is a key most churches overlook, because once they have some success they stop. Church revitalization will stall unless you keep a church moving forward. So, keep pushing ahead for bigger and bigger wins … but have tact and don’t go too fast. Too often churches are satisfied with small changes, but long-term health requires a continued expansion of bigger and better changes.
8. Institutionalize the change in your structure. Here you begin to change the organizational structure of the church, by voting people of the new culture into leadership and decision-making committees. The church now begins to become intercultural in all of its committees, teams and structures. Leaders often baulk at this last element, but to bring about intercultural understanding and partnership for the cause of Christ requires partnering with new, emerging cultures (c.f. Acts, 17:26-28, 1 Corinthians 9:20, Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 4:2-5, Colossians 3:11, Revelation 7:9-10.)
For an overview of the “7 systems” of a healthy church (www.7Systems.church) based upon an analysis of 35,000 church combined with 25+ years of consulting research and practice, see www.7Systems.church
Speaking hashtags: #CaribbeanGraduateSchoolofTheology
“How can Christians support Donald Trump?” by Diane Winston, Religion News Service, 12/17/18.
…While conservative white evangelicals are a significant voting bloc and, as such, command cultural cachet, they’re not monolithic. Millions of evangelicals, notably those who aren’t white, didn’t support Trump.
by Yascha Mounk, The Atlantic, 10/10/18.
… As scholars Stephen Hawkins, Daniel Yudkin, Miriam Juan-Torres, and Tim Dixon argue in a report published Wednesday, “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape,” … the authors argue, seven distinct clusters emerge:
- progressive activists,
- traditional liberals,
- passive liberals,
- the politically disengaged,
- traditional conservatives,
- and devoted conservatives.
…According to the report, 25 percent of Americans are traditional or devoted conservatives, and their views are far outside the American mainstream. Some 8 percent of Americans are progressive activists, and their views are even less typical. By contrast, the two-thirds of Americans who don’t belong to either extreme constitute an “exhausted majority.” Their members “share a sense of fatigue with our polarized national conversation, a willingness to be flexible in their political viewpoints, and a lack of voice in the national conversation.
Most members of the “exhausted majority,” and then some, dislike political correctness. Among the general population, a full 80 percent believe that “political correctness is a problem in our country.” Even young people are uncomfortable with it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24. On this particular issue, the woke are in a clear minority across all ages.
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In 50 years, no ethnic group will be in a majority. Yet, there will be even more cultures than there are today. Why? And, who is the fastest growing demographic? Read this insightful article based on Pew Research from Business Insider magazine.
by RAKESH KOCHHAR, Pew Research, 7/16/15.
On a global scale, just 13% of the world’s population could be considered middle income in 2011, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of the most recently available data. Most people in the world were either low income (56%) or poor (15%), while only 9% lived at an upper-middle-income standard and 7% were high income.
See where you fit.
Start by entering your household’s income in 2014 in the currency of your country (our study covers 111 countries). This could be in daily, weekly, monthly or annual terms. Ideally, it should be the total income of all earners in the household. Your best guess will do. Next, enter the number of people in your household, including yourself. (Pew Research Center does not store or share any of the information you enter.)
The calculator estimates your equivalent income in 2011 and reports where you and others in your country might have stood in the global income distribution that year.
Read more at … http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/16/are-you-in-the-global-middle-class-find-out-with-our-income-calculator/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=4866d8ba86-July_15_2015_weekly_newsletter7_15_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-4866d8ba86-399907237
by Esther Addley, The Guardian Newspaper, 6/8/15.
According to the annual British Social Attitudes survey, in just two years between 2012 and 2014, the number of people describing their beliefs as being Church of England or Anglican fell from 21% to 17%, a loss of 1.7 million people – leading the former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, to repeat warnings that the church is “a generation away from extinction”.
Britain is not necessarily becoming more godless – in the same period, the number of Muslims grew by a million, amounting to 2.4% of the population – just less the proportion of Anglicans. That has implications enough for the church in the inner city, but what are the ramifications in the countryside where, for a thousand years, the Church of England has often been the institution that holds rural communities together?..
by Tobin Grant, Corner of Church and State, 3/13/15.
When asked their “religious preference”, nearly one-in-four Americans now says “none.” Up until the 1990s, this group of so-called “nones” hovered in the single digits. The 2014 GSS showed that the so-called nones are 21 percent. How large is this group of nones? There are nearly as many Americans who claim no religion as there are Catholics (24 percent). If this growth continues, in a few years the largest “religion” in the U.S. may be no religion at all.
by Bob Whitesel, Feb. 1, 2015.
Author Steve Stoute in his book The Tanning of America (2011) points out a new culture is emerging in America where “brown, black and white mixed together makes tan” (quote by Adrienne Samuels Gibbs, “Steve Stoute’s New World Order.” Ebony Magazine, Dec. 2011 – Jan. 2012, p. 87 – attached below). Stoute argues (see the attached article in Ebony Magazine for an overview) that there is arising a mixed Tan Culture among the Millennial Generation that does not see divisions based upon skin color.
I ask my students to read the article and tell me if you agree with Stoute, that a new culture is emerging. And then I ask students to …
1) Suggest what the church should do about this.
2) Discuss briefly why they think everyone will become part of this tan culture or if some people will remain “dissonant adapters.”
To understand “dissonant adapters” read the paragraph below excerpted from Bob Whitesel (The healthy Church: Practical Ways to Strengthen a Church’s Heart, The Wesleyan Publishing House, 2013, pp. 69-70).
Consonant adapters are people from an emerging culture who adapt almost entirely to the dominant culture. Over time they will mirror the dominant culture in behavior, ideas and products. Thus, they will usually be drawn to a church that reflects the dominant culture.
Selective adapters adapt to some parts of a dominant culture, but reject other aspects. They want to preserve their cultural heritage, but will compromise in most areas to preserve harmony.(1) They can be drawn to the Blended Model because it still celebrates to a degree their culture.
Dissonant adapters fight to preserve their culture in the face of a dominant culture’s influence. (2) Dissonant adapters may find the blended format of the Blended Church as too inauthentic and disingenuous to their strongly held cultural traditions.”
(1) Alejandro Portes and Ruben G. Rumbaut in Immigrant American: A Portrait (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996). They suggest that organizations comprised of selective adapters will be a more harmonious organization.
(2) Ruben G. Rumbaut, “Acculturation, Discrimination, and Ethnic Identity Among Children of Immigrants,” in Discovering Successful Pathways in Children’s Development: Mixed Methods in the Study of Childhood and Family Life, Thomas S. Weisner ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), Charles Kraft, Christianity in Culture: A Study of Dynamic Biblical Theologizing in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1979), p. 113.
See also on ChurchHealth.wiki info on the related study of “ethnic consciousness” by Tetsunao Yamamori, who created an “Ethnic Consciousness Scale” to measure the degree to which a person identifies with a specific culture. Tetsunao Yamamori’s article on ethnic consciousness and titled, “How to reach a new culture in your community” can be found online and in Win Arn et al., The Pastor’s Church Growth Handbook (1979), pp. 171-181.
Welcome to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey
Based on interviews with more than 35,000 American adults, this extensive survey by the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project details the religious makeup, religious beliefs and practices as well as social and political attitudes of the American public. This online section includes dynamic tools that complement the full report. For a video overview and related material, go to the resource page.
View the religious composition of the United States as well as the size of the different religious groups in the country.
See the percentage of each state’s population that is affiliated with various religions in the U.S., and explore the religious beliefs and practices of each state’s population.
Choose a religious group in the U.S. and examine its demographic characteristics, religious beliefs and practices as well as social and political views.
Compare the demographic characteristics, religious beliefs and practices as well as social and political views of various religious traditions in the U.S.
Read more at … http://religions.pewforum.org/
The chart below breaks out the net migration patterns by education levels in the 20 largest U.S. metros.
by ZARA MATHESON, Pew Research Center
The chart shows the very different patterns of migration occurring across America’s metros. Keep in mind that many of the country’s biggest metros are still gaining overall population, as immigrants continue to flow into places like New York and Los Angeles. But these places are seeing a net loss of Americans of all education levels.
The metros that are attracting educated workers include knowledge and tech hubs like San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, and Denver, and also Sunbelt metros like Phoenix, Charlotte, and Miami.
When we look at just those with professional and graduate degrees, the pattern comes into sharper focus. There have been significant net inflows of educated workers to the true meccas of knowledge work: Seattle, San Francisco, D.C., Denver, San Jose, Austin, and Portland, as well as the banking hub of Charlotte.
Larger metros have the edge in attracting and retaining college grads.
These metros, particularly ones with higher costs of living, have been able to attract and retain skilled workers, even while the less-skilled have departed. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Miami all saw their ranks of educated residents grow and less educated residents shrink. Lower-paid workers are being priced out, and the jobs that can attract new residents are reserved for the most educated. Boston is one of the few places attracting and retaining more unskilled workers than skilled ones, a perhaps unexpected trend, given its reputation as a center of education and knowledge work.
The pattern for the less educated looks substantially different. The top ten metros that saw the largest net gains among those with just a high school degree were all in the Sunbelt, including Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Florida’s Fort Myers, Tampa, and Sarasota. And when we consider those without a high school degree or equivalent, the places with the largest net gains were mainly Sunbelt tourist destinations with thriving service economies like Fort Myers and Daytona Beach, Florida, and Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
@djchuang #found a “handy-dandy Google Maps map of California Megachurches” from the Center for Religion & Civic Culture http://t.co/vYN9LBOTk6
Adapted from the description provided by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.
When researchers talk about “megachurches,” they are generally referring to any Protestant congregation with a sustained average weekly attendance of 2,000 persons or more in its worship services. There are nearly 1,600 megachurches in the United States, in addition to many more located throughout the world. Attendance at U.S. megachurches averages almost 4,000 people, with the largest, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, averaging approximately 45,000 people attending services each week. The largest megachurches however are located abroad, with the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea averaging 240,000 in weekly attendance (480,000 including satellite campuses.) In California, there are 191 megachurches, comprising a total attendance of about 765,000 each week. The largest megachurch in the state is Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, with over 22,000 regularly attending weekly worship services.
While size is what most observers—whether researchers, journalists or attenders—note as the defining characteristic of these congregations, megachurches in the United States also share many other traits. For example, almost all megachurches have a conservative theology, even those within mainline denominations, and most identify as evangelical. Many are nondenominational churches but the majority are affiliated with a denomination, although often those who attend thse churches are unaware of their denominational affiliation. (Note that most people consider Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church to be nondenominational, but it is actually a member of the Southern Baptist denomination.)
Energy Boom Fuels Rapid Population Growth in Parts of Great Plains; Gulf Coast Also Has High Growth Areas
by US Census Bureau
“Of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing metropolitan statistical areas in the year ending July 1, 2013, six were within or near the Great Plains, including Odessa, Texas; Midland, Texas; Fargo, N.D.-Minn.; Bismarck, N.D.; Casper, Wyo.; and Austin-Round Rock, Texas.
Micropolitan statistical areas, which contain an urban cluster of between 10,000 and 49,999 people, followed a similar pattern, with seven located in or adjacent to the Great Plains among the fastest-growing between 2012 and 2013. Williston, N.D., ranked first in growth (10.7 percent), followed by Dickinson, N.D. Andrews, Texas; Minot, N.D.; and two areas in western Oklahoma (Weatherford and Woodward) also made the top 10, as did Hobbs, N.M.”
The Global Flow of People
by Nikola Sander, Guy J. Abel & Ramon Bauer
at the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital,
Abel & Sander (2014).Quantifying Global International Migration Flows. Science, 343 (6178). (Abstract, Full Text)
Explore new estimates of migration flows between and within regions for five-year periods, 1990 to 2010. Click on a region to discover flows country-by-country.
Here Are The Most Popular Destinations For Immigrants Coming To America
ANDY KIERSZ, Business Insider Magazine, 3/27/14
Immigration from abroad is a huge driver of population growth for America’s biggest cities. Even though Ellis Island closed 60 years ago, New York is the country’s largest magnet for immigrants.
The U.S. Census Bureau releases anannual report on population changesacross the United States. Based on their data for city-centered areas, we made the map below showing levels of net international migration over the year between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013.
Large cities draw the most people from abroad. In particular, New York stands in a class of its own, with a level of net international migration more than twice as high as any other city.
Most smaller cities had a negligible amount of net international migration, and only a handful of cities saw any amount of net population loss to other countries, and in those cities the loss was extremely small.