Excerpts from the
January 10, 2018 edition of
The FOSTER Letter—Religious
Age of Accepting Christ The American Culture & Faith
Institute discovered Americans are most likely to confess their sins
and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior before they finish high
school. Overall, 68% who become born again do so before reaching age
18. Another 8% do so during the college years (ages 18 to 21); 8%
more do so from age 22 through 29; and another 8% during their 30s.
Only 9% of adults accept Christ as their Savior at age 40 or later.
The most fertile time for the gospel is when children are in the
10-to-12 age bracket; 20% accepted Christ during that time frame.
Overall, 30% of Christians embraced Jesus as their Savior between
(American Culture & Faith Institute 11/29/17)
Most Americans believe elements of the biblical Christmas
story reflect actual historical events, although the percentage
expressing this view has dropped noticeably in recent years.
Today 66% say Jesus was born to a virgin vs. 73% in ’14. 75% believe
He was laid in a manger (down from 81%). Similarly, the shares who
say they believe that wise men, guided by a star, brought Jesus
gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and that an angel of the Lord
appeared to shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus also have
declined. Today 57% of U.S. adults believe all four of these things
actually happened vs. 65% 3 years ago. Belief in these events has
declined not only among people with no religious affiliation, but
among Christians as well.
Overall, 19% of Americans now say
of these things actually happened.
Communicate According to a Watson Wyatt Worldwide survey,
U.S. worker confidence in senior management declined between ’04 and
’05 from 51% to 49%. Confidence that senior management makes changes
to stay competitive dropped from 57% to 53%, and control costs fell
from 59% to 55%. Where senior management is “highly engaged” with
its workforce, confidence levels actually rose as much as 30 points.
I can help you transform your workforce through a cost-effective
frequent communication strategy. Reach me at 419-238-4082,
www.garydfoster.com. (CFO 3/07)
How Many Americans Really
Attend Church? Less
than 20% of Americans regularly attend church, half of what the
pollsters report. While Gallup polls
and other statisticians have turned in the same percentage, about
40% percent of the population, of average weekend church attendees
for the past 70 years, a different sort of research paints quite a
disparate picture. A longitudinal study that tracked the annual
attendance of more than 200,000 individual U.S. Orthodox Christian
churches (Catholic, mainline and evangelical) reveal the actual rate
of church attendance from head counts is less than half of the 40%.
What researchers call “the halo effect”, the difference between what
people tell pollsters and what people actually do, accounts for the
difference. Although about 40% of Americans are regular church
attendees, only about half of those are in church on any given
Sunday. Most pastors acknowledge anywhere from 40–60% of their
members are inactive.
“There’s A Gap
between who evangelicals say they are and what they believe,” says
LifeWay Research’s Scott McConnell. 24% of Americans consider
themselves to be an evangelical Christian. Another 12% aren’t sure.
29% consider themselves to be a born-again Christian. Another 6%
aren’t sure. 5% of Americans accept the born-again label but are
uncertain about accepting the evangelical label.
When properly defined,
only 15% of Americans hold evangelical beliefs. Only 10% of
millennials have evangelical beliefs vs. just 20% of Boomers.
Americans who started college but did not finish it are twice as
likely to have evangelical beliefs as Americans with a bachelor’s or
a graduate degree. 25% of Americans would consider themselves
evangelical if the term had nothing to do with politics.
Another 12% aren’t sure. 62% would not consider themselves
evangelical even if the term had nothing to do with politics.
Only 2% would take on the evangelical label if it was stripped of
its political baggage.
Americans Are Dying Younger
and life expectancy is now down for the 2nd straight
year, something not seen in more than half a century. One undeniable
culprit is the opioid epidemic, which is cutting down young adults
at alarming and increasing rates, the researchers say. The National
Center for Health Statistics report a baby born in the U.S. in ’16
could expect to live 78.6 years, a decrease of more than a month
from ’15 and more than 2 months from ’14. That’s the first two-year
decline since 1962 and 1963 when spikes in flu deaths were to blame.
Before ’15, the last 1 year decline was in ’93 and was attributed
partly to the AIDS epidemic. At the same time, the rest of the world
is seeing large declines in mortality and large improvements in life
expectancy. Newborns in 29 countries, including Japan, Australia and
Spain, had life expectancies above 80 years in 2015, according to
the World Health Organization. The average global life expectancy
was 71.4 and rising.
has the largest Orthodox Christian population outside Europe, and by
many measures, Orthodox Ethiopians have much higher levels of
religious commitment than do Orthodox Christians in the faith’s
heartland of Central and Eastern Europe. The country in the Horn of
Africa has 36 million Orthodox Christians, the world’s
second-largest Orthodox population after Russia.
(Pew Fact Tank 11/28/17)
How to Reduce Your Risk of
Divorce According to
Mercatornet.com, the following factors will reduce the risk of a
marriage ending in divorce: -30% if you earn over $50,000 annually,
-25% if you have graduated college, -24% if you have a baby 7 months
or more into a marriage, -24% if you marry age 25 or over, -14% if
your parents are still married and -14% if you have a religious
More Likely to Skip Bible Reading than women. 39% of men say
they do not read the Bible on their own, compared to 31% of women.
Folks in the Northeast (48%) are more likely to never pick up a
Bible than those from other regions.
(LifeWay Research 4/25/17)
Markets Always Change in response to cultural,
economic and political forces. A marketer’s dominance in one period
is never assured in the next period, no matter how strong its brand;
look at GM and Ford. Yet, it is the nature of dominant competitors
to move cautiously to adapt to new market conditions. They do not
easily relinquish “proven” formulas that produced so much success.
Furthermore, the management, operations and marketing skills that
are wed to those formulas run deep within a dominant competitor’s
organization, reinforcing internal resistance to change. It’s human
nature to become enamored with the trappings of dominance. This
opens the door for smaller players who are more in-tune with the
changing market and able to respond more nimbly. Often only an
outsider can bring enough objectivity to see this subtle “killer
arrogance.” I can bring you that objectivity. Contact me at
An Amazing Ministry
During his 40 years of ministry, Billy
Graham preached the message of Christ’s redemption to nearly 215
million people in over 185 countries.
American Public Sharply Divided
63% of U.S. Christians
say whether someone is a man or a woman is determined by their sex
at birth. Among religious “nones”, 62% say they think a person’s
not necessarily determined by the sex they are assigned at
birth. 84% of white evangelical Protestants are likely to say gender
is determined by sex at birth. 59% of black Protestants and 55% of
white mainline Protestants also feel this way. Catholics are divided
on the question, with 51% saying gender is a function of one’s birth
sex, while 46% says it is possible for someone to be of a gender
different from their sex at birth. 61% of white evangelical
Protestants say society has “gone too far” when it comes to
accepting people who are transgender vs. 57% of “nones” who say
society has “not gone far enough.” Overall, 34% of Christians say
they personally know someone who is transgender, ranging from 25% of
white evangelicals to 41% of white mainline Protestants and the same
share of black Protestants. 43% of “nones” say this.
Fact Tank 11/27/17)
Evangelicals by Race and
white evangelicals get the most attention in US politics, more than
4 in 10 Americans with evangelical beliefs are non-white, and nearly
1 in 4 is African American, says LifeWay Research. Self-identified
evangelicals are 70% white and 14% black, while Americans with
evangelical beliefs are 58% white and 23% black.
American Church Attendance
In ’90, 20.4%
of the population attended an Orthodox Christian church (Catholic,
mainline and evangelical) on any given weekend. In ’00, that
percentage dropped to 18.7% and to 17.7% by ’04. While church
attendance numbers stayed about the same from ’90 to ’04, the U.S.
population grew by 18.1%—more than 48 million people. So even though
the number of attendees is the same, churches are not keeping up
with population growth. According to LifeWay Research only 6% of the
churches are growing.
Inheriting A Mess A 10-year longitudinal study
on executives found more than 50% of executives who inherit a mess
fail within their first 18 months on the job.
It is 6 to 7 times more
expensive for a business to acquire a new customer than to
keep a current one, making
customer loyalty and experience a priority. Here are 4 tips to help
you: 1. Create a customer “experience” vision. 70% of buying
experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being
treated. 2. Cultivate knowledgeable staff. On average, loyal
customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase,
and customers who can rely on employees’ expertise will return. 3.
Train staff to advise, not just sell. Customers remember when they
receive support and will come back for repeat purchases. 4. Create
communities. A business only has a 5-20% chance of selling to a new
prospect vs. a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer. The
more you integrate your business into the community, the more likely
the community will turn to you and support your business. A customer
experience strategy will help achieve higher customer satisfaction
and increase revenue. I can help you do just that. Contact me at
Mid-Sized Churches Are
smallest and largest churches in the U.S. are growing.
While America’s churches as a whole did
not keep up with population growth from ’94 to ’04, the country’s
smallest (1–49) and largest churches (2,000-plus) exceeded it.
During that period, the smallest churches grew 16.4%, the largest
grew 21.5%, beating the national population growth of 12.2%. But
mid-sized (100–299) churches, the average size of a Protestant
church in America is 124, declined 1%.
Based Media Opportunities Today, according to ’17 Pew Research
Center statistics, 70.6% of America’s 327.4 million people are
Christian by some definition. In other words, there is a cumulative
audience for faith-friendly media of at least 231.8 million people,
who have a combined, disposable annual income somewhere close to
59% of Americans characterize
themselves as either “extremely” (23%) or “very” (36%) patriotic,
finds new American Culture & Faith Institute research. 28% claim to
be “somewhat” patriotic , leaving 13% who were either less patriotic
or not sure. Con-servatives are twice as likely to characterize
themselves as extremely patriotic as other people. People associated
with the Christian faith rated themselves higher in terms of
personal patriotism (64% extremely or very patriotic) than did those
associated with non-Christian faiths (38%) or with no faith (40%).
Protestant Christians rated themselves more highly on the patriotism
scale than did Catholics.
(American Culture & Faith Institute 12/20/17)
Americans Read the Bible 22% of Americans read a little bit each
day, in a systematic approach. 35% never pick it up at all, while
30% look up things in the Bible when they need to. 19% re-read their
favorite parts, while 17% flip open the Bible and read a passage at
random. 27% read sections suggested by others, while 16% say they
look things up to help others.
(LifeWay Research 4/25/17)
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