Excerpts from the
August 25, 2018 edition of
The FOSTER Letter—Religious Market Update
Positively Impacts Spiritual Growth 56% of monthly
Bible users report reading the Bible has resulted in a
self-perceived willingness to engage in their faith more, 54% claim
it helps them to show more loving behavior toward others. 42% of
Bible users say they are more generous with their time, energy or
financial resources. 57% contend that when they use the Bible, they
have a greater awareness of how much they need God all of the time.
48% experience a curiosity to know God better and 47% consistently
experience a sense of connection with God.
(Barna Update 7/10/18)
The Prosperity Gospel Creep
33% of Protestant
U.S. churchgoers say their congregation teaches God will bless them
if they donate money. 66% say God wants them to prosper and 20% say
they have to do something for God to receive material blessings in
return, finds a new LifeWay Research study. Researchers found 38% of
Protestant churchgoers agree with the statement, “My church teaches
that if I give more money to my church and charities, God will bless
me in return.” 57% disagree, including 40% who strongly disagree
while 5% aren’t sure. Pentecostal and Assemblies of God churchgoers
(53%) are most likely to agree. Churchgoers with evangelical beliefs
(41%) are more likely to agree than those without evangelical
beliefs (35%). African-American (51%) and Hispanic churchgoers (43%)
are more likely to agree than white churchgoers (32%). 69% of
churchgoers agree with the statement, “God wants me to prosper
financially” while 20% disagree and 10% aren’t sure. Among those who
attend church at least once a week, 71% say God wants them to
prosper financially vs. 56% of those who go to church once or twice
a month. Churchgoers who have evangelical beliefs (75%) are more
likely to agree God wants them to prosper than those without
evangelical beliefs (63%). Pentecostal and Assemblies of God (80%),
Baptist (74%), non-denominational (67%) and Methodist churchgoers
(65%) are among the most likely to agree vs. just 49% of
(Facts & Trends 7/31/18)
A chaotic, external world
requires internal cohesion and flexibility. To ensure internal
flexibility, a strategy must engage every part of the system. Are
your strategies in place? If not, call me at 419-238-4082,
for Sustainability, Adam Werbach, Harvard Business Press, 2009)
Slavery Not Just an Issue of The
Past The most recent
research conservatively estimates 40.3 million people are enslaved
on any given day. The estimates are unable to account for
individuals trafficked for the purpose of organ removal and sale.
Nor can experts accurately estimate the number of children enslaved
and used as soldiers in armed conflicts. The Global
Slavery Index found almost
25 million people were in forced labor in ’16, while 15.4 million
were in a forced marriage. Women and girls make up 71% of modern
slaves. Much of slavery today is concentrated in Africa,
along with Asia and the Pacific. (Facts
& Trends 7/26/18)
happens to as many as 1 in 5 pregnant women before the 12th
week. In a new study analyzing the National Longitudinal Study of
Youth, Ball State Univ.’s sociologist Richard Petts says
religion can be an important resource for those coping with loss,
including the death of a child. Levels of mental health were
6% higher among frequent religious service attenders than infrequent
attenders who had a miscarriage but have never had a live birth. For
women with high religious participation it was 8% percent higher.
Though, the report doesn’t distinguish religious affiliation,
86 percent of those surveyed identified as Christians.
(CT Online 8/9/180)
Increased Teenage Narcissism Studies show
there has been a 30% increase
(in the last 30 years) in teenage narcissism.
More kids today think they are more awesome than everyone else. Many
struggle with narcissism because they are constantly faced with
social media, reality TV and technology that tells them they are
stars and entitled to do and say whatever they want.
“Children aged 9 to 11 now hold “fame” as their No. 1 value. Fame
ranked 15th in 1997,” reports
Journal of Psychology Research
on Cyberspace. So how
can youth workers address this narcissistic problem among our youth?
•Show them how to have empathy for others. •More teens need to hear
more adults talk about kindness, manners, integrity, humility,
commitment and thankfulness. •Make entitled teens do difficult,
labor intensive work. •Teach on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5.3-12).
•Invite teens to talk about why and what they are grateful for. One
of the best ways to combat entitlement is getting students to share
what they already have and what they take for granted. Expressing
gratitude is the opposite of being entitled. Gratitude forces teens
to reflect on what they already have vs. what they “deserve.”
(Church Leaders 7/25/18)
Why Women Leave Church
LifeWay’s Thom Rainer offers
these 6 reasons why women may be leaving your church: 1.
Overworked. She has trouble
saying no when asked to do something in the church. Leaders pile on
so much, the only way to get relief was to leave the church. 2.
Not valued. She doesn’t think her church leaders value
women. Their roles and opportunities are very limited, so they
search for a church where their gifts are appreciated. 3.
Relationally hurt. She felt
ignored by a group of ladies in her church that did everything
together. 4. Lack of quality childcare.
The preaching is great and the people are friendly but the childcare
was unclean and unsafe. 5. Busyness. She works full-time and
has 4 kids at home. So many responsibilities make it tough to give
even more of her time to the church. 6. Husband does not
attend. It’s tough coming to
church without her husband. It leaves her solely responsible to get
her kids to church and because the church has groups for married
adults and single adults she feels out of place.
(Thom Rainer 7/13/18)
McDonald’s Keep Besting Itself? By getting the basics right!
They are very focused on keeping their franchisees happy, using
their marketing muscle, utilizing new products, keeping more stores
open 24 hours. It’s a bunch of small things. The difference between
good and excellent is how you execute the details. An operations
audit of your business or ministry can uncover those
“difference-making” details that can take you to the next level.
www.garydfoster.com or call
419-238-4082. (Marketing Daily
Encounter Mental Illness Approximately 75% of U.S. pastors said
they knew at least one family member, friend or congregant who had
been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, finds a recent LifeWay
Research study. 74% knew someone diagnosed with clinical depression.
57% knew at least 3 people who fell into that category. 59% had
counseled at least one person who was eventually diagnosed with an
acute mental illness. Perhaps even more important, 23% had
personally battled a mental illness of some kind, include-ing 12%
for whom it was formally diagnosed.
Pastors indicated they wanted to help and believed the Church should
be a resource. 74% disagreed with the notion they were reluctant to
become involved with those suffering from acute mental illness (41%
strongly disagreed). 90% believed the Church has a moral and
spiritual responsibility to provide resources and support to those
with mental illness and their families.
(Christian Counseling Today, Vol. 21, No. 2)
Why Nones are Religiously
Research recently polled a representative sample of “nones”
they choose not to identify with a religion. 60% say the
question-ing of religious teachings is a very important reason for
their lack of affiliation. 49% cited opposition to the positions
taken by churches on social and political issues. 41% dislike
religious organizations, 37% don’t believe in God, 36% consider
religion irrelevant to them and 34% dislike religious leaders.
89% of self-described atheists say their lack of belief in
God is a very important reason for their religious identity,
compared with 37% of agnostics and 21% of those in the “nothing in
particular” category. Atheists also are more likely than other
“nones” to say religion is simply “irrelevant” to them (63% of
atheists vs. 40% of agnostics and 26% of adults with no particular
Fact Tank 8/8/18)
Women Who Have Heart
may face a greater risk of death when treated by male doctors in
emergency rooms, according to a
published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
88% of people who have heart attacks live through the initial event,
say researchers. But this study found female heart-attack patients
cared for by female ER doctors were 2 to 3 times more likely to
survive than those cared for by male doctors. The researchers say
male doctors may have difficulty communicating effectively with
female patients and seeing things through their eyes.
(Consumer Reports 8/6/18)
International Students Staying Longer Pew Research Center reports that from ’08 to ’16, foreign student graduates in the federal
Optional Practical Training program (OPT) increased by 400% among
science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates
and 49% among non-STEM grads. And while growth slowed from
’16 to ’17, the number still increased. The point? International graduates are
staying longer in the U.S., which gives the church more
opportunities to build relationships and share the gospel with this
(Facts & Trends 8/8/18)
1 in 4
Young Adults Use Marijuana While 13% of Americans overall (15%
for men and 11% for women) say they “regularly” or “occasionally”
use or smoke marijuana, the rate among those 18 to 29 is 24%. 20% of
U.S. adults in the West do so vs. 10% in the Midwest, 11% in the
South and 12% in the East. (Gallup
Parents Help Teens Develop
Lifelong Faith A new
Barna study found 97% of engaged Christian parents say it’s important to them
that their teen develops a faith that lasts into their adulthood.
92% also say the same about their teen being equipped to explain the
Christian faith and 93% say it’s important their teen engages in
service while 87% say the same about having a consistent quiet time.
And 59% say as parents, they have the primary responsibility in
instilling these in their teen. 89% do this through attending church
together, 59% pray together, 45% read or discuss the Bible together
while 44% volunteer or serve in a ministry together
(Facts & Trends 8/15/18)
For consumers; time,
convenience, control and independence are the new currencies. This
need requires B2C brands to turn many of their ‘campaigns’ (if not
all interactions with their customers) into broader services.
In short, it shows a shift from ‘broadcasting’ to ‘assisting.’
I can coach you and your
team through this strategic brand-building effort. Contact me
www.garydfoster.com or 419-238-4082.
(Trend Briefing 4/10)
A study published by American Academy of Pediatrics earlier this year
shows nearly 3% of 13 to 17-year-olds identify as transgender vs.
less than 1% just a year ago. The push for acceptance of transgender
people can be traced in part to vocal homosexual activists who
demand “tolerance” and denounce “transphobia” from the public, even
to the point of debating biology and chromosomes and stating that
people are “assigned” their sex at birth. There is also an effort to
downplay or ignore mental health issues, such as a staggering 40%
suicide rate among transgenders by blaming that statistic on a
disapproving public. (One
News Now 8/14/18)
Why We Don’t Have Spiritual
who don’t talk much about faith fall into 2 broad categories:
avoidance and ambivalence. The top two avoidant
responses are: “Religious conversations always seem to create
tension or arguments” (28%) and “I’m put off by how religion has
been politicized” (17%). The top 2 ambivalence responses are:
“I’m not religious and don’t care about these kinds of topics” (23%)
and “I don’t feel like I know enough to talk about religious or
spiritual topics” (17%). Millennials are the most likely to feel
afraid people will see them as a fanatic or extremist (10% vs. 3%
Gen X, 4% Boomers, 1% Elders).
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