TRENDS & 6 Pop Culture Examples That Show Faith Isn’t Taboo Anymore.

by Paul Jankowski, Forbes Magazine, 1/2/19.

..,I’ve been studying the role faith plays in marketing to the New Heartland for over a decade. As one of the three core values this cohort, which makes up 60% of the country, prioritizes in their decision-making process, it’s important to explore its relevance in today’s society. 

…Get to a place where you understand the role faith plays.

Lately, entertainment and faith have been intersecting in ways that reflect a New Heartland state of mind. 

Faith and its connection to pop culture is gaining ground with both New Heartland and non-New Heartland personalities leading the way. 

… Here are 6 examples from 2019 of pop culture heavyweights leaning into faith, not away from it…

2. Eric Church Faces Monsters with Prayer 

2019 was the year of embracing faith in country music. Some notable songs featuring faith include Matt Stell’s “Prayed For You,” Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country” and Little Big Town’s“The Daughters,” fans were introduced to “Monsters” by Eric Church at the end of the summer. Church sings about the power of prayer when faced with difficult times. Since his first EP, “Sinners Like Me,” Church has danced with faith in his lyrics to much success. 

3. Chance the Rapper Gets Inspiration from Above 

Since Chance the Rapper declared himself as a Christian rapper in 2018, he has lived out the lifestyle very publicly. He uses Jesus’ name on network TV, volunteers for Kids of the Kingdom in his hometown of Chicago, and shares his message of faith through his music. His 2018 single, “Blessings,” opens with the line “I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him ’til I’m gone. When the praises go up, the blessings come down.” 

  • 4. Dolly Parton Takes Traditional Values to a Non-Traditional Genre

    Swedish DJs Galantis and Dutch singer Mr. Probz approached Parton with a proposal to sing on their EDM remake of John Hiatt’s 80s hit, “Faith.” Many of her country songs have been re purposed as party mixes, but this is the first time she collaborated on a venture of this type outside of her bluegrass roots. Her collaborations following 18 years away from the stage are predominantly faith-focused. In addition to “Faith,” Parton joined forces with For King and Country earlier in 2019 on their song “God Only Knows.” 

    Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/pauljankowski/2020/01/02/6-pop-culture-examples-that-show-faith-isnt-taboo-anymore-brands-take-note/#2566ca465f27

    TRENDS & Share of Americans With No Religious Affiliation Is Rising Significantly, New Data Shows

    by David Crary, Time Magazine, 10/17/19.

    The portion of Americans with no religious affiliation is rising significantly, in tandem with a sharp drop in the percentage that identifies as Christians, according to new data from the Pew Research Center.

    Based on telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, Pew said Thursday that 65% of American adults now describe themselves as Christian, down from 77% in 2009. Meanwhile, the portion that describes their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.

    Both Protestant and Roman Catholic ranks are losing population share, according to Pew. It said 43% of U.S. adults identify as Protestants, down from 51% in 2009, while 20% are Catholic, down from 23% in 2009.

    Pew says all categories of the religiously unaffiliated population – often referred to as the “nones” grew in magnitude. Self-described atheists now account for 4% of U.S. adults, up from 2% in 2009; agnostics account for 5%, up from 3% a decade ago; and 17% of Americans now describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12% in 2009.

    Read more at … https://time.com/5704040/american-religious-affiliations-decreasing/

    TRENDS & 7 Surprising Trends Of Today’s Worldwide Growth of Christianity via #LifeWay

    by Aaron Earls, LifeWay, 6/11/19.

    …The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary regularly publishes the Status of Global Christianity. Evaluating their research and predictions provides an encouraging and potential surprising picture for the current and future state of Christianity.

    1. CHRISTIANITY IS GROWING FASTER THAN THE POPULATION.

    Globally, Christianity is growing at a 1.27% rate. Currently, there are 2.5 billion Christians in the world. The world’s population, 7.7 billion, is growing at a 1.20% rate.

    Islam (1.95%), Sikhs (1.66%) and Hindus (1.30%) are the only religious groups growing faster than Christianity, though followers of Jesus outnumber every other faith and are predicted to continue to do so at least through 2050.

    2. PENTECOSTALS AND EVANGELICALS ARE GROWING THE FASTEST AND ARE STILL PICKING UP SPEED.

    Among Christian groups, Pentecostals (2.26%) and evangelicals (2.19%) are growing faster than others.

    They are both also growing faster than they did just two years ago. In 2017, Pentecostals’ growth rate was 2.22% and evangelicals was 2.12%.

    3. ATHEISM HAS PEAKED.

    There are fewer atheists in the world today (138 million) than there were in 1970 (165 million).

    Since 2000, atheism has rebounded slightly—only by 0.04%—but it is expected to decline again and fall below 130 million by 2050.

    Agnosticism has maintained a small growth rate of 0.42%. After reaching 716 million this year, however, it is expected to drop below 700 million by 2050.

    4. CHRISTIANITY IS GROWING IN CITIES, BUT NOT FAST ENOUGH.

    Today, 1.64 billion Christians live in urban areas, growing at a 1.58% rate since 2000.

    But more than 55% of the world’s population lives in cities and that is only continuing to grow.

    The global urban population is growing at a 2.15% rate.

    5. THE CENTER OF CHRISTIANITY HAS MOVED TO THE GLOBAL SOUTH.

    In 1900, twice as many Christians lived in Europe than in the rest of the world combined. Today, both Latin America and Africa have more. By 2050, the number of Christians in Asia will also pass the number in Europe.

    Currently, Christianity is barely growing in Europe (0.04% rate) and only slightly better in North America (0.56%).

    Oceania (0.89) and Latin America (1.18%) have marginally better rates, but the faith is exploding in Asia (1.89%) and Africa (2.89%).

    Read more at … https://factsandtrends.net/2019/06/11/7-surprising-trends-in-global-christianity-in-2019/

    TRENDS & 73% of American churches are declining & we are seeing a marked decline in fast-growing churches (from 12% to 3%) and a marked increase in churches declining toward death (10% to 19%). #LifeWay

    by Thom Rainer, LifeWay, 6/3/19.

    Based upon an aggregate of several research projects, I made some notes of growth and decline rates of churches and summarized my estimates into five categories by worship attendance changes over the previous five-year period. I compiled the following numbers ten years ago:

    Growth and Decline Categories of North American Congregations 2009

    • Fast-growing (growing greater than 5% annually): 12%
    • Growing (growing nominally to 5% annually): 23%
    • Steadily declining (declining 0% to 3% annually): 34%
    • Rapidly declining (declining 2% to 5% annually): 21%
    • Declining toward death (over 5% decline annually): 10%

    This past week I conducted the same exercise based on some of my updated research and the research of others and estimated the following:

    Growth and Decline Categories of North American Congregations 2019

    • Fast-growing (growing greater than 5% annually): 3%
    • Growing (growing nominally to 5% annually): 24%
    • Steadily declining (declining 0% to 3% annually): 32%
    • Rapidly declining (declining 2% to 5% annually): 22%
    • Declining toward death (over 5% decline annually): 19%

    My numbers admittedly are estimates, but they do have some quantitative basis, such as denominational statistics, research by LifeWay Research, and the data available in the increasing number of consultation and coaching requests we receive.

    Obviously, the staggering reality of these numbers is the pronounced change in the two extreme categories. We are seeing a marked decline in fast-growing churches and a marked increase in churches declining toward death.

    Read more at … https://thomrainer.com/2019/06/the-faster-pace-of-decline-toward-death-of-many-congregations/

    TRENDS & Graphs Reveal Evangelicals Show No Decline, Despite Trump and Nones (but mainline church affiliation is declining)

    by Ryan Burge, Christianity Today, 3/21/19.

    … As Tobin Grant, editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, pointed out: “Changes in religion are slow. No group gains or loses quickly.” (The “nones,” a popular term for the religiously unaffiliated, being an exception—gaining faster than other affiliations tend to because they pull from multiple faith groups.)

    Slideshow

    That’s mostly what the 2018 GSS results show us. Evangelicals—grouped in this survey by church affiliation—continue to make up around 22.5 percent of the population as they have for much of the past decade, while the nones, now up to 23.1 percent themselves, keep growing. (For comparison, the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Survey put evangelicals at 25.4 percent and the religious nones at 22.8 percent.)

    Slideshow

    Other than one outlier—a slight peak of 24.7 percent in 2012—evangelicals have ranged from 22.5 percent to 24 percent of the US population over the past 10 years. Still, this steadiness doesn’t mean “no change” among the evangelical population. There is always a “churn” occurring within any religious group. People leave the group because of death or defection, while new members either grow up in the faith or convert as adults.

    Read more at … https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/march/evangelical-nones-mainline-us-general-social-survey-gss.html

    ATTENDANCE & When Easter and Christmas near, more Americans search online for “church” #PewResearch

    Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I tell church leaders not to plant a church in the fall or launch a new service or venue at that time. That is because while there is a peak of interest in going to church before Thanksgiving, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the lowest time of the year for people to be interested in attending church.

    It is much better to launch new multiplication efforts during Lent in the Spring run up to Easter as depicted in the chart below.

    When Easter and Christmas near, more Americans search online for “church”

    by Nobel Kuriakose, Pew Research, 5/18/14.

    More Americans search for “church” around Easter than at any other time, with the Christmas season usually ranking second, according to Google Trends data between 2004 and 2013. Google’s Trends tool measures the popularity of a search term relative to all searches in the United States. Data are reported on a scale from 0 to 100…

    In 2013, the highest share of searches for “church” are on the week of Easter Sunday, followed by the week of Christmas and the week of Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent.

    The lowest share of searches occur on the week of Thanksgiving in November each year, and the summer months have consistently low levels of interest in web searches for “church.” Sociologists also have previously reported low levels of church attendance during the summer months. Laurence Iannaccone and Sean Everton analyzed weekly attendance records from churches and argued that people are less likely to attend church when the weather outside is just right in a journal article titled “Never on Sunny Days.”

    Read more at … https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/18/when-easter-and-christmas-near-more-americans-search-online-for-church/

    TRENDS & 6 in 10 US churches are declining or plateaued per #LifeWayResearch

    Read more from LifeWay Research here … https://factsandtrends.net/2019/03/15/are-american-churches-growing/