Evangelism Connections

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FEBRUARY 2010
Evangelism news from the Mission America Coalition
The whole Church taking the whole gospel to the whole nation – and to the world.

Accelerate 2010 – Join Us For a Fresh Sense of Vision and Strategy!

Dallas AndersonWe live in urgent days! Carl Henry said, “…the Gospel is only good news if we get it there on time.” In just a few weeks, Christian leaders, pastors, evangelists, cityreachers – men and women who have a passion to deliver the Good News – will gather in Birmingham, Ala., for the 2010 Accelerate MAC Annual meeting. I pray that you will do everything you can to be with us. We need you at the table as we consider how to be faithful to the Great Commission in our generation. We believe God is bringing a fresh sense of vision and strategy to the body of Christ in these critical days. Pastors, it is time to see your church move to another level in reaching lost people. Church planters, the days are ripe for a massive wave of new churches. Evangelists, marketplace leaders, brothers and sisters, if you have even the slightest desire to see God unleash a fresh move of His Spirit on those who are far from Him, we need you to come to Birmingham, March 1-4. As the clock winds down for many who have not yet responded to Christ, there could not be a more urgent time than right now. Come join us while there is still time.

Register Now

– Dallas Anderson, MAC National Facilitator for Evangelism

MAC Annual Gathering – Register Now!
Ministry Networks

March 1-4, Birmingham

Annual GatheringThere is room at the table for you! Register now for Accelerate 2010 – the MAC annual gathering – or Convergence – the National City Impact Roundtable – held as joint meetings this year. Register for one meeting and attend sessions of the second meeting free! Come early to attend the Partnership Training 101 sessions. Convergence (NCIR) offers state-of-the-city-movement presenters (four major streams of cityreaching will be examined and discussed) and best practices (city stories from our host cities and more) in the heart of an historic city (don’t miss Tuesday in the Park). The MAC annual gathering – Accelerate 2010 – gives partners and friends of MAC the opportunity to dialog on how to saturate congregations with a “love your neighbor” mentality. It will be a working meeting of city leaders, pastors and evangelism ministers, along with denominational and organizational leaders – all and each devoted to establishing a prayer-care-share culture in every congregation across the nation. Speakers include John Perkins, Paul Cedar, and Researchers Dave Olson and David Kinnaman.

Phil Miglioratti, MAC COO and facilitator for Loving Our Communities to Christ, says, “We sense the Lord wants to impact America for the next decade through those he gathers in Birmingham this March. We hope you and your colleagues will be eye-witness partners!” Full information and a downloadable brochure are available online.

Sponsors of this year’s events include Christian Emergency Network, I Am Second, and the producers of the forthcoming film “Messiah.” (Our hosts in Birmingham – the Tuscaloosa Prayer Network and Mission Birmingham also invite you to check out the highlights of their region at www.birminghamal.com and stay a few more days while you’re there!)

Register Now

Q&A with Phil Miglioratti

National Facilitator for Loving Our Communities to Christ and MAC COO

Phil Miglioratti EC: How is this year’s annual gathering different?
PM: Accelerate 2010 a fresh call to accelerate the Great Commission throughout the American Church in the next decade in a working group context. I anticipate most of us will leave this meeting more than inspired; we’ll take home Spirit-led action steps for our denominations and organizations, our congregations, networks and city teams.

EC: What is the vision God has put on your heart for 2010?
PM: I see the entire Coalition, each member and organization, reaffirming their commitment to love America for and with and to Christ our Savior. I anticipate new strategies, unexpected collaborations, and extraordinary goals as a result of our meeting, praying, and deliberating. I believe the Holy Spirit is raising the bar for the Mission America Coalition. We must respond.

EC: Who should attend?
PM: We hope to see leaders from every part of the Church – denominational leaders, pastors, evangelists, evangelism leaders. And laypeople from every part of the Church – cityreachers, marketplace leaders, individuals with a passion for evangelism. We expect to have a wide spectrum of ages represented as well. We need the wisdom and experience of older generations and the energy and new ideas of younger generations. Every generation and nation – ethnicity – is welcome at the table. As members of the Coalition, this is your gathering, and, as some believe, the most strategic meeting in our history. I ask each person reading this to prayerfully consider attending.

EC: Are scholarships available?
PM: Rather than scholarships, we have developed a mentor/mentoree registration category where a mentor may bring any of those he or she is mentoring. The mentoree’s registration is significantly reduced. Take advantage of this offer and bring younger men and women you are mentoring. We want fresh ideas and young minds at the table to add an important dimension to the discussion!

Luis and Kevin Palau Guests on Cityreaching Call

Thursday, Feb. 18, 11 a.m. Eastern

Luis PalauThis month’s City Reaching Resources Conference Call will feature Luis and Kevin Palau, of the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association, on the topic “The Gospel in Word and Deed.” In recent years, the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association has worked carefully with operating city movements to strengthen these movements through a “Season of Service” in the months leading up to the Citywide Festival. Luis and Kevin will discuss this change in approach and tell stories from their recent festivals in Houston, Portland, Little Rock, and elsewhere. As usual, the call will be hosted by Glenn Barth and Jarvis Ward. To register for this call please send an email to info@cityreaching.com.

Has John Perkins Inspired You or Your Ministry?

John PerkinsThis is your chance to say thank you and acknowledge a pioneer in Christian community development and prayer-care-share living. Write a letter of thanks or congratulations to Dr. John Perkins online for his 50 years of ministry for the Kingdom of God and his 80th birthday. At the MAC annual gathering – Accelerate 2010 – we will have a special reception honoring John Perkins and will print and bind letters from MAC partners to present to him then. Spread the word to others who have been influenced by his ministry!.

More info

Join the Conversation about Evangelism for the Next Decade!

Mission America Coalition has launched a new blog in anticipation of the Accelerate 2010 annual gathering. Go to blog.missionamerica.org to start the discussion before you go to Birmingham, and continue the conversation there when you leave. Those who can’t attend the events in Birmingham are encouraged to participate in the blog as well.

More info

Support a Coordinated Evangelical Response to the Haiti Disaster
Denominations

NAEThe National Association of Evangelicals urges evangelicals to give generously and strategically through its humanitarian arm, World Relief, as well as through denominational relief ministries that are active in Haiti. (More info.) The MAC website includes a page of MAC partners involved in rescue and relief in Haiti, including World Relief, with links for donating.

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National Marriage Week
Ministry Networks

Feb. 7-14, Nationwide

National Marriage WeekNational Marriage Week is a collaborative effort to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture. Churches across the country will host special events, launch a marriage class or home group, or place local advertising or news stories during National Marriage Week. The organization’s website offers a free marriage webinar and other resources.

More info

Fresno Video Outreach to Churches Moving Hundreds
LC2C

Fresno VideoESA Love Inc in Fresno created a video to encourage Christians everywhere to love their neighbors through praying, caring, and sharing. The video shares the experiences of those living a prayer-care-share lifestyle to love their neighbors to Christ. Watch the video online. Terry Townsend, pastor of Peoples Church, is one of those involved in the movement. He says, “It’s not another program, but a long-overdue return to the basics. You can’t get much more basic than praying and working toward the ‘greatest commandment” – Jesus’ words, not ours.’ More than 350 people have committed to a prayer-care-share lifestyle as a result. The group is praying for 50,000 Christians to follow Jesus in Fresno.

More info

Seek God for the City
City

Feb. 17 – April 4, Nationwide

Seek God For The City 2010 booklets are available now, brimming with ways to pray in hope for your city. The booklet provides prayers for the 40 days before Easter, beginning Feb 17. Order the booklets online. A Spanish edition and Children’s edition are available to download on the Waymaker’s website. MAC facilitator Pat Allen says, ” We have used them for years here in Dallas and find them a handy tool all year long.” Loving Our Communities to Christ city, Cedar Rapids, reports more than 30 church partners already participating with seven more in process.

More info

Momentum Mounts for Festival of Life
LC2C

FOLMore than 1,000 Christians from across the Coachella Valley gathered at Southwest Community Church to pray for upcoming Festival of Life events between now and April 9-11, 2010. More than 100 churches and ministries are joining together in a unity of purpose. Organizers introduced the “100 Days of Prayer” with the goal of covering each hour between now and the event in prayer.

More info

Internet Evangelism Day Set for April
Ministry Networks

April 25, Nationwide

Internet Evangelism Day is a strategic resource to help the worldwide church use the Internet to share the good news of Jesus. Churches are encouraged to use Internet Evangelism Day resources to create a presentation for their members on or near Sunday April 25. The IE Day website offers free downloads to enable any church (or home group, college, or conference) to build a customized program.

More info

It’s Coming – The Lausanne Global Conversation
Global

Lausanne Global ConversationStarting in March, Christians around the world will be able to add their voice to the Lausanne Global Conversation (LGC) when the new LGC website is unveiled. Thought-provoking articles, blogs and videos will be posted in an open forum with an invitation to the global Church to join the conversation. The LGC is an opportunity to wrestle with important issues related to world evangelization from a worldwide perspective by engaging with brothers and sisters from around the globe.

The LGC is closely connected with the Lausanne Movement’s Cape Town 2010 Congress. Presentations at the Congress will be shaped by input from the LGC.

Your voice in the conversation is needed. As iron sharpens iron, and as there is wisdom in the counsel of many, we trust the Lord will use the global discussion to spur us on – not only to further dialogue, but to strategy and action so that all may hear the good news of Jesus Christ.

For updates on the LGC and to see preliminary articles and discussions, please visit www.lausanne.org/conversation.

More info

Loving Our Communities to Christ Cities Gather
LC2C

Feb. 28 – March 1, Birmingham

Leaders from the 17 Loving Our Communities to Christ cities, along with several soon-to-become LC2C cities, will meet Sunday evening, Feb. 28, for prayer. Then, a learning community session will be held Monday morning, March 1, before the meetings for Convergence (NCIR) and Accelerate 2010 – the Mission America annual gathering. Be sure to indicate your participation in the LC2C meetings when you register for either event!

Register Now

Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization
Global

Oct 16-27, Cape Town, South Africa
and at GlobaLink sites around the world

Cape Town 2010The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (Lausanne III) will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, October 16-25. The Congress, held in collaboration with the World Evangelical Alliance, will bring together 4,000 leaders from more than 200 countries to confront critical issues such as other world faiths, poverty, HIV/AIDS, persecution, and others as they relate to the future of the Church and world evangelization. Thousands more leaders will participate in the discussion on the issues through the Lausanne Global Conversation and at remote Congress sites through the Cape Town GlobaLink.

More info

Dallas Churches Unite to Help and Heal
City

Churches in more affluent North Dallas, Texas, aim to uplift 25 public high-poverty schools through partnerships and build 700 units of housing in West Dallas, one of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods. The organized churches hope to restore goodwill, vitality, and opportunity to this community, which has suffered from decades of neglect, racism, and injustice. Already, school-trained church volunteers who work with students according to a structured academic plan have provided thousands of dollars in free tutoring since September.

More info

Find a Marketplace Network Near You
Ministry Networks

ICWMThe International Coalition of Workplace Ministries (ICWM) is a coalition of workplace believers who want to encourage and unite leaders by inspiring, connecting, and equipping them for transformation of the workplace for Christ. Its website includes resources and a listing of local coalitions.

More info

Urbana ’09 Challenged Youth to Reach Neighbors
Global

Some 17,000 youth convened for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s preeminent student missions convention, which took place in St. Louis in December with a strong emphasis on personal evangelism.

More info

Submit A Story About Your Evangelistic Effort!

The Evangelism Connection would like to hear from you! Send a short report about an evangelism effort in your area – no more than 250 words – for our consideration for this newsletter. We’re especially interested in stories about collaborative efforts in prayer, care, or share aspects of evangelism, cityreaching, denominational efforts, evangelism tools you have found helpful, or a unique outreach idea that worked for you. Send up to three images with your story (only one will be used). We’ll choose those most relevant to our audience. (No political topics, please. We appreciate and encourage those involved in the important arena of politics, but but we do not report on political issues in this newsletter.) Send your evangelism stories to: susan@missionamerica.org.

More info

Succeed 2010

Feb. 27, Online

Succeed 2010 is a college preparation event for juniors and seniors in high school. The event uses college student interviews and highly qualified ministry speakers to open the eyes of graduates to the freedoms and responsibilities that lay ahead. The web event was created in response to research by Fuller Seminary about the challanges new college students face.

More info

Ministry Initiates Year of Prayer for America’s Cities

Dr. Tom Grassano, Urban Harvest Ministries, has issued a call for 2010 to be a Year of Prayer for America’s Cities. He reports people uniting in Detroit across denominational, racial, geographic, and economic walls in fervent prayer, fasting, and strategic outreach. “At Prayer Stations, people stand in line for prayer and city bus drivers stop their buses, open their doors and ask for prayer. Even Muslims are responding to the gospel!” he writes. A prayer guide is available on the ministry’s website.

More info

Care Connexion NW – Partnering for Effective Missionary Care

April 16-17, Portland

Seeking to help churches, agencies, and others working closely with missionaries, a local group of leaders will host Care Connexion 2010, April 16-17, at Cedar Mill Bible Church in Portland, Oregon. Care Connexion will focus on equipping and networking leaders to provide relevant and effective care for missionaries.

More info

Prayer Conference for Cityreachers

April 23-24, Syracuse

The City Reachers Prayer Conference will take place April 23-24 in Syracuse, NY. Speakers include Steve Hawthorne and Mac Pier. The group will also hold a prayer walk through Syracuse May 1, encouraging a “Statewide Prayer Walk” on that day with the involvement of 10 other cities in New York.

More info

Alpha Conference for the Americas Planned

June 22-23, Naperville, Ill.

AlphaDelegates from around the globe will travel to the Greater Chicagoland area to participate in the Alpha Conference for the Americas in June, an event designed to focus on Central and South America, The Caribbean, Canada, and the USA. Speakers will include Alpha pioneer Nicky Gumbel, members of the London Alpha team, and others. Training opportunities will include courses on Church Planting, Campus Alpha, Alpha Essentials and Advanced Alpha as well as a special Bishops Stream. Recently, more than 1,200 church leaders from all over the country attended the National Alpha Conference in Orlando, Fla. Alpha is extending a special 50% discount to MAC partners. When registering, use the promotion code: partner2010.

More info

Fireproof Pastor Reveals Evangelizing Church Secret

Michael CattHow does an evangelizing church in southern Georgia turn out box-office-hit movies? The secret is to make revival the church’s first, second, third, and fourth priorities. Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Church in Albany, Ga., published the third book in his trilogy on God-dependence called The Power of Surrender: Breaking Through to Revival.

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New Life in Haiti

HaitiThe Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rapid Response Team has been ministering to earthquake victims in Haiti. Read the story of a young man named Watson who found new life in Christ through the Rapid Response Team.

More info

TOOLS TO USE
Resources for Accelerating Evangelism

Evangelism for the Next Decade
Check out the new Mission America Coalition blog at blog.missionamerica.org to start the conversation about evangelism in the next decade before the Accelerate 2010 meetings in Birmingham in March. Those who can’t attend the events in Birmingham are encouraged to participate in the blog as well.
More info

Seek God for the City in Spanish
Unite your prayers with the prayers of Spanish-speaking people of your congregation or Spanish-speaking churches of your community. A complimentary Spanish translation of Seek God for the City 2010 is available at the WayMakers website.
More info

Seek God for the City Children’s Guide
A free Children’s Companion Guide can be downloaded from the WayMakers website. It’s designed to help the entire church family pray together using the Seek God for the City prayer guide.
More info

Resources Available for Internet Evangelism Day
The Internet Evangelism Day website offers free downloads to enable any church (or home group, college, or conference) to build a customized program for outreach and evangelism.
More info

New Prayer and City Transformation Blog Offers Deep Archive of Resources
The National Pastor’s Prayer Network, Loving Our Communities to Christ, Praying Pastor, and other ministry blogs hosted by MAC COO Phil Miglioratti have been joined into one. Check out philsblogs.net for years of archived posts, hundreds of stories and strategies, and thousands of connections
More info

Free Resources Available from PastorsToolbox.com
Many publishers and organizations give away books and ministry tools to help pastors and their congregations.
More info

National Association of Evangelicals on Facebook
Connect and share with NAE friends on Facebook.
More info

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

Paul CedarDear Friends,

Accelerate 2010 is the title of this year’s MAC Annual Gathering – March 2-4 in in Birmingham, Alabama. You are cordially invited! We are eager to have you with us.

As we begin a new decade of ministry together, this will be more than an average meeting. It has the potential of being an historic gathering as we launch a new national initiative we are tentatively calling Loving America! We believe that it is time for Christians in America to reach out to men, women, young people and children in a fresh way with the authentic love and good news of Jesus Christ – and, as He once said about His disciples, to be known by His love.

Please join us and help us clarify the strategy that our Lord would have us focus upon for the coming decade. Loving America! will not be a tightly packaged program. Instead, it will be a framework that will allow for great creativity and flexibility for cities/communities, ministries, denominations, churches and even individual Christians to be led by the Holy Spirit in loving people to Christ. We need your input and ideas.

To learn more about this strategic gathering, please visit www.missionamerica.org/register. Also, you will be able to view the schedule of the National City Impact Roundtable that begins Monday, March 1. You are invited to attend both meetings for the cost of one, including most of the meals. We pray that you will join us!

Prayerfully and expectantly – in Christ,
Paul
Paul Cedar
Chairman

NEWS AND TRENDS

Evangelism on Steroids A continuing and global surge of Pentecostalism is particularly impacting Latino countries, according to research from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. “It’s a combination of immigration in which a lot of Latinos are already Pentecostal and the conversion taking place in the Catholic Church among those converting to Pentecostalism. … It’s really evangelism on steroids. This may well be the most dynamic religious movement in the world today in terms of growth and breadth,” says Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum. (Ministry Today)

Absolutely Certain A Harris Interactive poll finds 5% of Americans are “absolutely certain” and 15% are “somewhat certain” that there is a God. Among Americans with religious affiliation, born-again Christians (87%) and Protestants (76%) are most likely to express absolute certainty. 13% believe there is no God, with 7% saying they are absolutely certain. 43% say God observes but does not control what happens on earth, while 30% say God controls what happens. 35% of born-again Christians believe God just observes, while 59% believe God has control over what happens on earth. (Christian Post 12/18/09)

A Dangerous Religion Two-thirds of Protestant pastors believe Islam is a dangerous religion, according to a recent LifeWay Research study. The survey of more than 1,000 Protestant pastors found 45% strongly agree with the statement “I believe Islam is a dangerous religion,” and 21% agree somewhat. Additionally, a Pew Research Center study found 38% of Americans say Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions. According to the LifeWay study, 44% of mainline pastors are less likely than evangelicals to say Islam is “a dangerous religion” vs. 77% of evangelical pastors. (Christian Post 12/14/09)

Religious Restrictions Nearly a third of the world’s countries have stiff restrictions on religious practice, either because of government policies and laws or hostile acts by individuals or groups. This impedes the religious practices of 70% of the people on Earth, since some of the most restrictive countries are very populous. The Pew Research Center found that of the world’s 25 most populous countries, citizens in Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and India live with the most religious restrictions. The U.S., Britain, Brazil, Japan, Italy and South Africa have the most religious liberty and the least government infringement and religion-based violence or harassment. (OneNewsNow 12/20/009)

Terminally Ill Cancer Patients who receive spiritual support from their medical team are, on average, found to be in a better state near death than those who don’t, finds a recent Dana-Farber Cancer Institute study. Among patients relying on their religious beliefs to cope with their illness, spiritual support reduced their risk of receiving aggressive medical interventions at the end of life. Also, patients whose spiritual needs were largely or completely supported by the medical team were likely to transition to hospice care at the end of life. (Christian Post 12/21/09)

Fewer Christian Brits A National Center for Social Research survey of people across Britain found that the number of people describing themselves as Christian has dropped in the last 25 years from 66% percent to 50%. The drop is due largely to the steady decline in numbers belonging to the Church of England, with only 23% of those surveyed describing themselves as Anglican today vs. 40% in ’83. Even among those describing themselves as Anglican, half never attend church at all, and less than 20% attend church once a month. The number of Britons that say they do not belong to any particular faith rose from 31% in ’83 to 43% today. (Christian Post 12/19/09)

Tiger Should Become a Christian Fox News analyst Brit Hume told CBN News that “Christianity is a religion for sinners—and I think that Tiger Woods has an opportunity here, and my prayer would be that he would take it.” Hume has been denounced for saying he doesn’t think the famous golfer’s belief in Buddhism “offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith.” He recognizes that openly expressing faith in Jesus Christ offends a lot of people. “People rage about this. It’s very offensive to those who don’t share the faith, and it’s offensive to some people who claim they do share the faith.” (AP Culture 1/7/09)

American Christians A new Gallup poll shows most Americans self-identify as Christian, though the number of those who don’t follow any religion is on the increase. 78% of Americans self-identify as Christian, while 13% say they do not follow a religion. The 13% number for those who follow no religion is the highest ever for the poll. Among those who do follow a religion, 56% said their religion is “very important” in their life, while 25% said it is somewhat important and 19% said it is not important at all. Also, 63% of those who follow a religion are members of a church or synagogue, while 37% are not. While Christianity remains by far the most dominant religion in the U.S., its numbers are in decline. (Gallup 12/24/09)

Smaller churches continue to experience growth in an era of ever-expanding, high-profile megachurches. “People are yearning for a more intimate type of fellowship that they, in many cases, did not find in the very large church. In the course of one generation, as a culture here in the United States, we made a 180-degree turn – from valuing strong individuals to searching for a sense of community,” explains Carol Childress, of the church consulting firm FrameWorks. (Ministry Today)

Top Moral Issues facing America include abortion, moral relativism and mistreatment of others, according to a year-end poll of America’s evangelical leaders. (National Association of Evangelicals)

Church Safety A new report from the Christian Security Network finds that in ’09 there were over 1,200 crimes against U.S. churches, including 12 homicides and 38 other violent crimes (including sexual assaults, kidnappings, arsons, and burglaries) resulting in more than $24 million in property loss. (Church Report 11/5/09)

Pastor’s Time Full-time senior pastors tend to work 55 hours or more per week, finds a LifeWay Research study. While the median number of work hours for Protestant pastors is 55 hours, 42% work 60 or more hours. When including bi-vocational pastors, part-time senior pastors and volunteer pastors, 35% work at least 60 hours a week and 30% 50 to 59 hours. Half spend 5 to 14 hours a week preparing sermons, while 9% spend 25 or more with just 7% spending less than 5. 30% of evangelical pastors spend 20 or more hours a week in sermon preparation vs. 20% of mainline pastors. Other time consuming activities include meetings, handling e-mail or e-correspondence, counseling others, or in hospital, home or witnessing visits. More than 70% of pastors spend up to 5 hours a week in meetings with 15% doing so 10 hours or more a week. 30% spend 20 to 29 hours a week with their families, and 16% report spending 40 or more hours with them. 52% spend 1 to 6 hours in prayer each week, and the same percentage spend 2 to 5 hours in personal devotions unrelated to sermon prep. 14% spend an hour or less in personal devotions. 24% watch TV 10 to 14 hours each week. (LifeWay Research)

Timely Thanks 60% of donors to ministries or charities do not expect the organization to thank them, according to a recent Campbell Rinker poll. Donors don’t give out of a desire for recognition but to help the organization fulfill its mission, and they see being thanked as equal to being recognized. They also don’t want to cause the organization an administrative burden. Still, 40% do expect a thank-you from the organization. 1 in 50 expects it within a few days, 1 in 20 within a week, 1 in 6 within 2 weeks, and 1 in 7 within a month. 70% want a tax receipt, 28% within a month with most others within 1 or 2 weeks. (DonorSpeak 1/10)

Presbyterian Church (USA) The current Religious and Demographic Profile of Presbyterians report by Presbyterian Church (USA) shows 39% of members agree or strongly agree that “only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved.” Fewer pastors (35%) agree or strongly agree. Meanwhile, 45% of elders at least agree. Among members, only 43% disagree or strongly disagree that “all the world’s religions are equally good ways of helping a person find ultimate truth.” Also, majorities of members (60%), elders (68%), and pastors (66%) agree that “the only absolute truth for humankind is in Jesus Christ.” 1 in 6 PC (USA) members and fewer ministers believe the Bible is to be taken literally, word for word. 46% of members and 61% of pastors say the Bible is the word of God, to be interpreted in the light of its historical and cultural context, while 1 in 3 lay people and pastors say the Bible is the word of God, to be interpreted in the light of its historical context and Church teachings. Notably, 44% of members say they had a “conversion experience,” or they experienced a turning point in their life by committing themselves to Christ. (Christian Post 1/13/10)

Clergy Honesty/Ethics Ratings Drop In Gallup’s ’08 Honesty and Ethics of Professions poll, 56% of Americans rated the clergy’s honesty and ethics very high or high. In ’09, it fell further to 50%. Gallup says the reason for the drop is unclear, but the current rating is even below where it was earlier in the decade during the priest sex-abuse scandals. Ratings dropped among both Catholics and Protestants, as well as among regular and non-regular churchgoers. (Gallup.com)

A New Marriage Index released jointly by the National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting and the Institute for American Values in October ’09, reveals a huge decline in national marriage indicators. One indicator shows 78% of adults were married in 1970 vs. only 57% in ’08. Another indicator shows 40% of all children in America were born out-of-wedlock in ’08, including 72% of African American children. (CR Newswire 12/17/09)

People and Transitions

  • James Dobson is expected to leave Focus on the Family at the end of February and launch a new nonprofit, James Dobson on the Family, with his son Ryan in March. Built around a daily radio show. (Colorado Springs Gazette 12/31/09)
  • Michigan Theological Seminary is now officially Moody Theological Seminary after its 1/1/10 merger with Moody Bible Institute. Approved by the Higher Learning Commission, the combined student body is 600 and moves Moody into the middle-tier of seminaries. The combined size of the student bodies places the seminary in the top 15% of U.S. seminaries. (Christian Post 1/6/09)

Economy Slows Book Buying Nearly 34 % of Americans are cutting down on how many books they are purchasing due to the economic downturn of the past 2 years, finds a PubTrack Consumer survey. Also 19% of consumers are either buying more used books or are swapping books with others. (ECPA Rush to Press 12/21/09)

Urban World A century ago, less than 5% of the world’s population lived in cities; in ’08, for the first time in history, that figure topped 50%. In just the last 20 years, the urban population of the developing world has grown by an average of 3 million people per week. By 2050, it will have hit 70%, representing 6.4 billion people. Most of this growth will be taking place in developing regions; Asia will host 63% of the global urban population, or 3.3 billion people, in 2050. Expect ministries to give greater emphasis to urban ministry endeavors in the coming years. (Global Report in Human Settlements 10/09)

Body Art and Deviance A Texas Tech study, suggests people who have multiple tattoos or body piercings are more likely to engage in risky and criminal behavior. Those who have 4 or more tattoos, 7 or more body piercings, or 1 intimate piercing, are far more prone to use illegal drugs, be arrested for criminal offenses, cheat on college work, binge drink, and have multiple sex partners. They are 10 times more likely to have an arrest history. (The Social Science Journal 3/10/10, LifeSite News 1/14/10)

Seniors Online While people 65+ still make up less than 10% of the active Internet universe, in the last 5 years their number has increased by more than 55%, from 11.3 million active users in ’04 to 17.5 million in ’09. This age group is also spending more time on the Web. Time spent on the Internet by seniors increased 11% in the last 5 years, from 52 hours per month in ’04 to just over 58 hours in ’09. 88.6% of seniors check personal e-mail as the No. 1 online activity performed in the last 30 days. (Center for Media Research Brief 12/15/09)

How Quickly Trust Can be Lost In ’04, 40% of Americans said they would normally believe a statement by a company in the banking industry. This year, that number dropped to just 12%. (Harris Poll Weekly 12/1/09)

Billboard Magazine has named MercyMe’s “Word of God Speak” the #1 Song of the Decade and the group the #1 Christian Songs Artist of the Decade. MercyMe earns an additional #1 in the Christian AC Song Artist of the Decade category. MercyMe has garnered 22 #1 songs in their career, 6 of which are reflected on the Billboard radio charts for this decade. (CBA Industry Brief 12/23/09)

Sleep Studies show people who sleep between 6.5 hr. and 7.5 hr. a night, as they report, live the longest. People who sleep 8 hr. or more, or less than 6.5 hr., don’t live quite as long. There is just as much risk associated with sleeping too long as with sleeping too short. The big surprise is that long sleep seems to start at 8 hr. Sleeping 8.5 hr. might really be a little worse than sleeping 5 hr. (Time 6/6/08)

High Anxiety A new study has found that 5 times as many high school and college students are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues as youth of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era. (AP 1/11/09)

Women Today make up 51% of professional workers in the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that women make up more than two-thirds of employees in 10 of the 15 job categories likely to grow fastest in the next few years. By ’11 there will be 2.6 million more women than men studying in American universities. (The Economist 12/30/09)

Wearing Glasses not only can make young people more stylish—it can make them look smarter A Glassesshop study finds 66% of the participating children ages 6 to 10 think kids wearing glasses look smarter than kids not wearing them. 57% think kids with glasses appear to be more honest. Both kids with and without glasses think kids who wear glasses looked smarter. (Center for Media Research Brief 1/18/10)

Caregivers About 1 in 3 U.S. adults cares for a loved one who is elderly, sick, or has special needs. 2 out of 3 unpaid caregivers are women. The typical caregiver is a late 40s working woman caring for a parent, typically her mother in her late 70s or older. 70% of caregivers provide an average of 20 hours per week of care for an average of 4.6 years. Some 65 million American adults are providing care to loved ones independent of traditional parenting roles. (Pastor’s Weekly Briefing 1/8/09)

Dissatisfied Even Americans who have work in this economy are becoming more unhappy with their jobs, according to a new survey that found only 45% are satisfied with their work. This is the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board research group in more than 22 years. In ’08, 49% reported satisfaction with their jobs. The drop can be partly blamed on the recession, which makes it difficult for some to find challenging and suitable jobs. (AP 1/5/09)

Emergency Funds If an emergency meant they had to come up with $2000 in the next 30 days, 46% of U.S. adults say they are confident they would be able to raise it. (Brandweek 11/16/09)

China Overtook Germany as the world’s top exporter when its December exports jumped 17.7% in another sign of China’s rise as a global economic force. China’s exports for December ’09 were $130.7 billion, according to General Administration of Customs data. This raised total ’09 exports to $1.2 trillion, ahead of the $1.17 trillion for Germany. Although largely symbolic, this reflects the ability of its resilient, low-cost manufacturers to keep selling abroad despite a slump in global consumer demand due to the financial crisis. (AP 1/10/10)

Demographic Winter A U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs report concludes the number of elderly people worldwide will outnumber children for the first time in 2045, forecasting the start of a “demographic winter.” Some experts say this could constitute the biggest international crisis in the coming century. The report, World Population Aging 2009, says 22% of the world’s population will be older than 60 years within 40 years (up from 11% in ’09 and 8% in 1950). The dramatic shift in demographics will impact life in various aspects, including economic growth, investment, consumption, pensions, taxation, and health care. (LifeSite News 1/14/10)

TV Can Kill You Every hour spent sitting idle in front of the TV raises the risk of premature death from heart disease by 18%, finds an Australian study by Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute. Researchers found those who spent 4 hours daily in front of the tube had an 80% greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who watched TV less than 2 hours. The correlation was independent of risks such as smoking, obesity, and unhealthy diet. Prolonged inactivity is the culprit and is one of the biggest contributors to a sedentary lifestyle and weight gain. (Bloomberg.com 1/13/10)

Gender Role Reversal More men today wed women who earn more than they do, says Pew Research. In the past when fewer wives worked, marriage enhanced the economic status of women more than men. In 1970, 26% of wives age 30-44 had husbands who were better-educated than they were, outnumbering the 20% whose husbands had less education. By ’07, these patterns had reversed. (AP 1/18/10)

Fast Facts:

  • 92% of Americans say they believe in God.
  • 70% of Americans say many religions can lead to eternal life.
  • 68% of Americans say there’s more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion.
  • 70% of Americans say they believe in miracles, heaven, that Jesus is God or the Son of God, the survival of the soul after death, and in the resurrection of Jesus.
  • 60% of American adults believe in hell, the virgin birth of Jesus, and the devil.
  • Just 50% of adults contend that Christianity is still the automatic faith of choice in the U.S.
  • 74% of U.S. adults say their faith is becoming more important in their life.
  • Childless women in corporate America earn almost as much as men. Mothers with partners earn less and single mothers much less.
  • 22% of all children under the age 18 in the U.S. are Hispanic, up from 9% in ’08.
  • 46.1% of 16- to 24-year-olds were employed in 9/08, the smallest share since the government began collecting such data in 1948.
  • 85% of 18- to 24-year-olds have completed high school, an all-time high for this measure of educational attainment.
  • 71% of teens ages 12-17 have a cell phone, up from 45% in ’04.
  • Most self-identified U.S. Christians are comfortable with the idea that the Bible and the sacred books from non-Christian religions all teach the same truths and principles.
  • 71% of U.S. adults say they will develop their own slate of religious beliefs rather than accept a package of beliefs promoted by a church or denomination.
  • 36% of self-identified Christians strongly agree it is important for followers of Christ to maintain positive relationships with people who are not Christians.
  • 64% of U.S. adults are willing to experience and express their faith in new or different environments or structures than they have in the past.
  • Just 19% U.S. born-again adults have a biblical worldview, which is unchanged in the past 15 years.
  • In ’09, more than 560,000 new books were published in the U.S., about half of which were self-published.
  • 21% of U.S. homes were cell phone-only in ’09, up from 15% in ’07.
  • Twice as many Americans see young people as more tolerant of different races and groups as say the same about older people.
  • The average Latina has 11 pairs of jeans, while the average Caucasian female has 9.

News and Trends information compiled and edited by Gary Foster, President of Gary D Foster Consulting, a firm that assists Christian ministries and product companies in solving management, marketing, donor/customer service and product development problems. Contact Gary at: 419.238.4082, GFosterCns@rmi.net or go to www.GaryDFoster.com.

COLLABORATIVE CALENDAR

National Marriage Week – Worldwide
Feb. 7-14

Pastors Prayer Summit – White Mountains, AZ
Feb. 8-10

Pastors Prayer Summit – Boise, ID
Feb. 8-10

Pastors Prayer Summit – Grays Harbor, WA
Feb. 8-10

Pastors Prayer Summit – Springfield, MO
Feb. 16-18

“Seek God for the City”
Feb. 17 – March 28

Pastors Prayer Summit – Little Rock, AR
Feb. 22-24

Wisconsin Women in Ministry Prayer Summit – Menasha, WI
Feb. 25-28

Simply Youth Ministry Conference – Chicago
Feb. 26 – March 1

Succeed 2010 – Online Event
Feb. 27

LC2C City Gathering – Birmingham
Feb. 28 – March 1

Converge – National City Impact Roundtable – Birmingham, Ala.
March 1-3

Accelerate 2010 – MAC Annual Gathering – Birmingham, Ala.
March 2-4

Synergy 2010 Conference – Orlando, Fla.
March 5-7

Pastors Prayer Summit – Branson, MO
March 8-10

Leader’s Prayer Summit – Nashville, TN
March 8-10

Men’s Prayer Summit – Wisconsin Rapids, WI
March 13-14

Children’s Pastors’ Conference, San Diego
March 14-17, 2010

Pastors Prayer Summit – Habersham County, GA
March 15-17

Marketplace Prayer Summit – Habersham County, GA
March 19-20

Ethnic Ministries Summit – Boston, Mass.
April 15 – 17

Care Connexion NW – Portland
April 16-17

Prayer Conference for Cityreachers
April 23-24, Syracuse

Internet Evangelism Day – Nationwide
April 25

National Day of Prayer – Nationwide
May 6

Global Day of Prayer – Worldwide
May 23

Alpha Conference for the Americas
June 22-23, Naperville, Ill.


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