CHURCH PLANTING & It’s not for the faint-hearted: New England dominates list of post-Christian cities

“New England dominates list of post-Christian cities,” by Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 9/21/17.

…Research from Barna ranks 100 American metro areas by the percentage of the population it classifies as “post-Christian.” Boston and New Bedford, Massachusetts, are both in the top five.

To be considered post-Christian by Barna, a person had to meet at least nine qualifications, including things like not believing in God, having not prayed or read the Bible in the last week, and having never made a commitment to Jesus…

Here are the top 10 with the percentage of residents who are classified as post-Christian.

  1. Portland/Auburn, Maine (57%)
  2. Boston, Massachusetts/Manchester, New Hampshire (56%)
  3. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, New York (54%)
  4. Providence, Rhode Island/New Bedford, Massachusetts (53%)
  5. Burlington, Vermont/Plattsburgh, New York (53%)
  6. Hartford/New Haven, Connecticut (52%)
  7. New York, New York (51%)
  8. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, California (50%)
  9. Seattle/Tacoma, Washington (50%)
  10. Buffalo, New York (50%)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the list of post-Christian cities is almost the exact opposite of other Barna lists like most churched cities and most Bible-minded cities.

Seven of the top 10 post-Christian cities are in the bottom 10 of most Bible-minded, while five are part of the 10 most unchurched cities.

Three metro areas—San Francisco, Boston, and Albany, New York—rank in the top 10 of most post-Christian and most unchurched and in the bottom 10 of most Bible-minded.

Read more at … https://factsandtrends.net/2017/09/20/new-england-dominates-list-post-christian-cities/

RECONCILIATION & Most churches are 10x more segregated than their neighborhoods: What to do…

What Role Does Your Church Plan in Racial Reconciliation?

by Aron Earls, Facts & Trends, 8/16/17.

Racial reconciliation seems to be an issue many have decided is too difficult. According to LifeWay Research, more than 8 in 10 Americans say we have “so far to go on racial relations.”

Yet a separate LifeWay Research study found almost 67 percent of Protestant churchgoers say their church is “doing enough to be ethnically diverse.”

Meanwhile, in a 2010 study, Rice University sociologist Michael Emerson found that while diversity in churches is increasing, most churches are still 10 times more segregated than their neighborhoods, and 20 times more segregated than nearby public schools.

Nine in 10 pastors say their congregation would welcome a sermon on racial reconciliation, according to LifeWay Research, but only 45 percent have preached on it in the last three months.

Most churchgoers and pastors recognize a need to do more on issues of race, but fewer seem committed to actually doing more than they already are.

So what can local churches do to serve as a unifying force in a fragmented culture?

Recognize reconciliation is a gospel issue.

Reconciliation is at the very heart of the gospel, says author and church planter D.A. Horton. “The reality of the gospel message found in Christ is to bring those who were separated from God near to God,” he says. “That’s reconciliation.”

Reconciliation is then extended to Jesus’ disciples in the Great Commission, “the work boots of the gospel message,” according to Horton. “Christ was very specific,” he says. “We make disciples of all ethnicities. Christ’s death and resurrection expiates the sins of every sinner regardless of ethnicity, gender, or former sinful orientation.”

Read more at … https://factsandtrends.net/2017/08/16/role-church-play-racial-reconciliation/

EVANGELISM & Non-churchgoers almost 3X more likely to come to an event to help the community rather than worship

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2017/03/16/how-to-share-jesus-without-freaking-out/

#LEAD558

EVANGELISM OIKOS & Research: If a friend really values their faith, I don’t mind them talking about it

by LifeWay and the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College.

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2017/03/16/how-to-share-jesus-without-freaking-out/

#LEAD558

NEED-MEETING & Research Confirms Non-churchgoers More Likely to Listen If We Meet Needs

By LifeWay and the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College.

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2017/03/16/how-to-share-jesus-without-freaking-out/

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GENEROSITY & More Devout Means More Giving

by Aaron Earls, LifeWay, 1/30/17.

A survey from Pew Research found a correlation between religiosity and giving of time and money to others.

Religious individuals are more likely to have volunteered and donated to the poor in the last week compared to the irreligious. Highly religious Christians are also more likely than other self-identified Christians.

A third (33 percent) of Americans say they volunteered in the past week. However, 35 percent of religious individuals volunteered versus 27 percent of the unaffiliated.

Much of the difference comes from church involvement. Twelve percent of Christians say they volunteered mainly through their church and 21 percent say it was primarily through another organization. For the religiously unaffiliated, 24 percent volunteered outside of a church and only 2 percent say they served mainly through a church.

While church participation provides a built-in advantage in opportunities for volunteering for the religious, a similar gap exists in donating to the poor.

More than half (52 percent) of Christians say they donated money, time, or goods to help the poor in the past week. Fewer than a third (31 percent) of the unaffiliated say the same.

The most giving were among the adherents of non-Christian faiths (56 percent), evangelical Christians (55 percent), Jews (54 percent), mainline Protestants (49 percent), and Catholics (49 percent).

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2017/01/30/more-devout-means-more-giving/#.WI-Q4jw8KaM

EVANGELICALS & What They Believe And Why They Are More Diverse Than You Probably Thought

by Aaron Earls, LifeWay, 11/11/16.

…To be classified as an evangelical, a person must strongly agree with four belief statements:

  • The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe
  • It is very important for me to personally engage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
  • Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

Using this definition, American evangelicals are a diverse group. Only 3 in 5 (62 percent) are white. African Americans (18 percent), Hispanics (17 percent), and other ethnicities (4 percent) make up about 4 in 10 American evangelicals by belief.

ethnic makeup evangelical AmericanThis definition creates a way to see evangelicals primarily as a religious group, says Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “The evangelical label has picked up political and social overtones that mask any patterns that are actually tied to evangelical religious beliefs,” he says.

Focusing on beliefs ensures the discussion centers around “those who share common religious anchors,” McConnell says. “This is a clearly defined group of people who agree on core teachings.”

Some research organizations use self-identification or church attendance to define the term evangelical. However, those with evangelical beliefs often don’t refer to themselves as evangelicals. Others belong to denominations that may not be considered evangelical.

That is particularly true among African Americans.

More than 2 in 5 African Americans (44 percent) strongly agree with the four theological statements in LifeWay’s model, the largest percentage of any ethnic group. However, only 25 percent of African Americans with evangelical beliefs actually self-identify as evangelical.

Hispanics with evangelical beliefs are most likely to self-identify as evangelicals. Almost 4 in 5 Hispanics with evangelical beliefs (79 percent) call themselves evangelicals. Thirty percent of all Hispanic Americans hold to evangelical beliefs.

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2016/11/11/evangelicals-remain-complicated/