The Foster Letter

Religious Market Update

The FOSTER Letter is a bi-weekly e-mail religious market intelligence report targeted to Christian market channel and ministry leaders.  Each issue reports on news, trends, events and research that will directly or indirectly impact your audiences and businesses in a convenient summary format  Better informed leaders make better choices!

Researched, Edited & Published by Gary D. Foster


Excerpts from the

April 25, 2018 edition of

The FOSTER Letter—Religious Market Update


Jews Returning to Israel After being spread throughout the world for 2,000 years, and just 70 years after the rebirth of Israel as a nation, tens of thousands of Jews are returning to their homeland, as prophesied in the Bible. 27,000 new Jewish immigrants moved to Israel last year, with more than 3,600 of them coming from the U.S. States alone. Biblical prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, among others, all spoke of a time when God would bring the Jewish people back to the Land of Israel. (One News Now 4/16/18)


Fewer Women in Church In the mid-80s, 38% of women and 25% of men attended church at least once a week in the U.S., a 13-point gender gap, according to Pew Research analysis of General Social Survey data. By ’12, that gap had shrunk by more than half, to 6 points. The gap shrank because women’s church attendance dropped. While men experienced a 3-point drop in weekly church attendance, from 25 to 22%, women’s regular attendance fell from 38 to 28%. (Facts & Trends 18 Important Stats for Ministry in 2018)


Encouragement According to Hallmark, 90% of consumers want more choices in encouragement cards that will allow them to share support in unique ways for real-life situations. Do you have an encouragement strategy for your communities (board, team, clients, customers or donors)? It won’t happen if you don’t plan it. I can help you craft one. Contact me at 419-238-4082, or (CMA e-Newsletter 4/2/07)


Generation Z is made up of the 70 million kids born between ’99 and ’15. According to Gallup, only 4.1% of Americans and 7.3% of millennials identify as LGBT, Barna found 12% of Gen Z teens described their sexual orientation as something other than heterosexual, with 7% identifying as bisexual. 37% of Gen-Z say their gender and sexuality is “very important” to their sense of self, compared to 28% of their Gen X parents. About a third of teens know someone who is transgender, and 69% say it’s acceptable to be born one gender and to feel like another. Among Gen Z members 13 to 18, 13% consider themselves atheists vs. just 6% of adults overall. 59% of Gen Z identifies as Christian vs. 68% of adults. Only 1 in 11 teens is considered by Barna to be an “engaged Christian.” 20% of teens in the Barna study imagine Christianity as negative and judgmental. Some of the biggest barriers to belief are the problem of evil (29%), perceived hypocrisy among Christians (23%), and the conflict between science and Scripture (20%). (Christianity Today 1/23/18)


Europe’s March Toward a Post-Christian Society has been starkly illustrated by research showing a majority of young people in a dozen countries do not follow a religion. The survey of 16 to 29-year-olds found the Czech Republic is the least religious country in Europe, with 91% of that age group saying they have no religious affiliation. Between 70% and 80% of young adults in Estonia, Sweden and the Netherlands also identify themselves as non-religious. The most religious country is Poland, where 17% of young adults identify as non-religious, followed by Lithuania with 25%. In the UK, only 7% of young adults identify as Anglican, while 10% say they are Catholic. Young Muslims, at 6%, are on the brink of overtaking those who consider themselves part of the country’s established church. (Europe’s Young Adults and Religion, by Stephen Bullivant, St Mary’s University, London)


Church Diversity Improving 81% of U.S. Protestant pastors say their congregations are predominantly made up of one racial or ethnic group. That’s down from 86% in ’13, reports LifeWay Research. Pastors of churches with 250 or more congregants were less likely (74%) to say their churches are mostly one racial or ethnic group. Denominationally, Pentecostal pastors were least likely (68%) to say their churches are made up of predominantly one race or ethnicity. Lutheran pastors were most likely (89%) to report a lack of diversity. (RNS 3/21/18)


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