Excerpts from the
July 10, 2016 edition of
The FOSTER Letter—Religious
New research from Barna Group reveals growing concern about
the moral condition of the nation.
A majority of American adults across age group, ethnicity, gender,
socioeconomic status and political ideology expresses concern about
the nation’s moral condition, 80% overall. Among Elders it’s 89%,
Boomers 87%, Gen-Xers 75% and Millennials 74%, report concern.
Similarly, practicing Christians (90%) are more likely than adults
of no faith (67%) or those who identify with a religious faith other
than Christianity (72%) to say they are concerned about the moral
condition of the nation. According to 57% of U.S. adults, knowing
what is right or wrong is a matter of personal experience. 75% of
Millennials agree strongly or somewhat with the statement, “Whatever
is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you
can know,” vs. only 38% of Elders. 31% of Millennials, 16% of Gen-Xers,
16% of Boomers and 10% of Elders (10%) strongly agree with
the statement. 51% of practicing Christians disagree as does 41% of
the general population vs. 33% adults of no faith.
(Barna Group 5/25/16)
Each month, 1.65 billion people use Facebook, up from 1.59 billion
at the end of ‛15, and in North America the numbers are now 222
million monthly users, up from 219 million at the end of last year.
On an average day, more than 1 billion people are active on Facebook.
That’s roughly 1/7th of the world’s population. Facebook
is viewed weekly or daily by more Americans than the Bible; 56% vs.
37%. The average American spends about 40 minutes a day on Facebook.
More than 1 in 10 users always check Face-book if they wake up in
the middle of the night. 56% of adults over 65 that use the Internet
are now on Facebook, up from 45% in ‛13.
Non-Christian’s View of Being
Moral 58% of
non-Christian U.S. adults believe being honest at all times
is essential to being a moral person finds a new Pew Research study.
Other essentials are: being grateful for what you have (56%),
committing to spend more time with family (48%), forgiving those
who have wronged you (42%), working to protect the environment
(37%), working to help poor and needy (35%), not losing temper
(26%), buying from companies that pay fair wage (21%), living
healthy lifestyle (18%), believing in God (17%), praying regularly
(13%), reading Bible/religious materials (7%), helping out in your
congregation (5%), attending religious services (5%) and resting on
Mumbo vs. Jumbo
Jumbo was the famous elephant
PT Barnum exhibited. His name came to stand for the big story, for
the audacious claim, for making a big noise. You probably need more
Jumbo in the story you’re trying to tell.
Mumbo, on the other hand, is
deliberately complicating the facts. It’s manipulation, the creation
of placebos that don’t scale or the extension of power without the
facts to back you up. I can help you remove the mumbo from your
Gary@garydfoster.com or visit
Seth’s Blog 8/3/13)
What do Millennials deem most central to their identity?
According to Barna’s research, “family” and “personal interests” are
the top 2 categories. “Career” is actually one of the least likely
categories identified; the only category it beats is “technology.”
This is partly due to Millennials struggling to find jobs. Their
employment rate in ‛12 was only 63%, and 36% were living at their
parents’ home, the highest number in 40 years. Even those with a
bachelor’s degree; their rate of unemployment jumped from 7.7% in
‛07 to 13.3% in ‛12. This is confounding to their parents. 64% of
Boomers say “starting your career” is crucial in your 20s, while
only 51% of Millennials agree. 72% of Boomers believe “financial
independence” is an important accomplishment in your 20s, vs. 59% of
Millennials. When identifying what is central to Millennials’
identity, 29% say “funding my personal interests” and 27% “working
for myself”. Both enable one to pursue a life outside of work.
90% expect to stay in a
job for only 3 years.
Millennials’ News Source
More 18-to-24 year olds get
their news from social media than TV, finds a new Reuters
Institute for the Study of Journalism
report. 28% of people in
this age group claim social media is their main source for news
while only 24% cite TV. The research is
based on a YouGov survey of more than 50,000 online news consumers
in 26 countries. 48% revealed a news website or app was their first
news source on their phones, and 33% cited social media sites. 51%
of those with online access use social media as a news source
while less than 10% in English-speaking countries have paid for a
subscription to online news in the past year.
Comfort is Not the Goal One of the reasons ministries get
stuck is being unwilling to change. They don’t want to rock the
boat. Leaders are afraid. People may leave. Donors may stop giving.
Over time the status quo becomes the driving value. When any
organization stops changing, people get comfortable. It’s impossible
to get comfortable and be sold out to Jesus at the same time.
Comfort is not the goal. To be a ministry that embraces change, you
have to begin to make some changes. It begins with establishing a
clear vision, values and strategy. I can help you through this vital
process. Contact me at 419-238-4082,
Although nearly 90% of
Americans own Bibles, about a third read it at least once a week.
Barna researchers expect reading frequency in the general population
to trend downward in coming years as Elders become a smaller share
of the total: 49% of Elders read the Bible at least once a week vs.
24% of Millennials. When it comes to the reasons people read the
Bible, a relatively consistent majority does so because it draws
them closer to God, though significant minorities also point to a
need for comfort (16%) or direction (16%). 60% express a desire to
read the Bible more than they currently do.
Trust in the Bible’s
25 years ago, 46% of
Americans strongly agreed that “the Bible is totally accurate in all
of the principles it teaches” vs. 33% today.
According to several reports, most consumers stop using apps within
the first week, some within the first 72 hours.
We Are the Most
Litigious Society on
Earth. If the level of litigation in the U.S. was simply at the
level of countries that we compete with for jobs in Asia and in
Europe, we could save $589 billion a year. (Rasmussen
Reports, John Stossel, 6/22/16)
Frequent Job Hopping
can harm your employment prospects. Researchers sent out fictitious
resumes with varying frequency of job changes, and found that
resumes with fewer changes received a 40%–50% higher callback rate
than those with more. Employers want to hire candidates with a
positive work attitude, those who are cooperative, loyal, and
reliable, yet until a worker joins an organization, managers are
unable to observe this behavior directly. Instead, research
suggests, hiring managers use employment history to gauge a job
candidate’s work attitude, including the ability to work well with
Global Restrictions on Religion
According to the most
Pew Research data the share of countries with governments imposing
high or very high levels of restrictions on religion dropped from
28% in ‛13 to 24% in ‛14. The Middle East-North Africa region
continued to have the highest share of countries with
religion-related terrorism (90%) among the report’s 5 regions,
although the Asia-Pacific region saw the biggest increase in
the share of countries that experienced religion-related terrorism,
rising to 44% in ‛14 vs. 36% in ‛13. There has been a marked
increase in the number of countries where Jews were harassed either
by governments or social groups. Religion-related terrorism
displaced over 2 million more people in ‛14 than in ‛13, a side
effect of increased terrorist activity. Also, 31.4 million people
were displaced because of religion-related war or armed conflict,
4.1 million more than in ‛13 (27.3 million).
(Pew Fact Tank 6/23/16)
20 Facts about Unchurched
Unchurched People were often deeply affected as
children by the actions of their
parents and their view of God. 2. They were often judged harshly by
those in roles of spiritual authority. 3. They often watched
Christians treat each other harshly. 4. They are unclear on what is
needed to go to Heaven. 5. They have seen poor Christian leadership
modeled for them. 6. They think Christianity is religion and rules
vs. a relationship. 7. They raise children in light of how they were
raised. 8. They are impressed with excellence in worship even if
they do not understand it or believe everything being communicated.
9. They have no idea how much God truly loves them. 10. They believe
in God, but do not know how to gain His favor. 11. They have
legitimate faith questions. 12. They often experience tremendous
amounts of guilt. 13. Like everyone, they have faced many challenges
as adults. 14. They questioned God when tragedy struck. 15. They’re
most likely to come to church if invited by a friend. 16. They often
do not sing. 17. They will return the next Sunday if they like the
pastor. 18. They enjoy messages that “demystify” the Bible. 19. They
will slowly get involved through small groups and places they can
serve. 20. Their hearts melt when they see their kids loving church
and singing, even if they do not.
Leaders, Brian Dodd, 6/23/16)
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Cohabitation Is New Norm
Shifting gender roles and expectations, the delay of marriage, and a
secularizing culture are leading more American adults to believe
moving in together before marriage is a good idea. A recent Barna
study finds 65% either strongly or somewhat agree it’s a good idea
to live with one’s significant other before getting married, vs. 35%
who either strongly or somewhat disagree. A disturbing 41% of
practicing Christians believe cohabitation is a good idea vs, 88% of
those who identify as having no faith. 72% of Millennials vs. 36% of
Elders believe it is good. The idea that living with one’s
significant other before getting married would be convenient (9%),
or it would save rent (5%) pale in comparison to the value of
testing compatibility (84%) by playing house before marriage. Among
those who believe living with one’s significant other before getting
married is not a good idea, the biggest reason is religious reasons
(34%). 28% oppose cohabitation because they want to wait for sex
until marriage, 16% for practicality, 12% due to valuing of family
and tradition and 10% other. 57% of U.S. adults either currently, or
have previously lived with their boyfriend/girlfriend.
Americans Who Don’t Go to
Church are happy to
talk about religion and often think about the meaning of life.
They’re also open to taking part in community service events hosted
at a church or going to a church concert finds a recent LifeWay
Research study sponsored by the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism
at Wheaton College. More than half of Americans who don’t regularly
go to church identify as Christians. Unchurched Americans aren’t
hostile to faith; they just don’t think church is for them. 67% are
white. 62% went to church regularly as a child. 53% are male. 47%
have a high school diploma or less. 32% consider themselves
nonreligious. 20% identify as Protestant and 25% as Catholic. 47%
say they discuss religion freely if the topic comes up. 31% say they
listen without responding, while 11% change the subject. 35% say
someone has explained the benefits of being a Christian to them.
(Baptist Press 6/29/16)
Unchurched Americans Thoughts
on Heaven 70% agree
there’s an ultimate plan and purpose for every person. 57% say it’s
important for them to find their deeper purpose in life. Just 43%
ever ponder on a regular basis if they’ll go to heaven when they
die. (Christianity Today
Children @ Risk
The journal Depression Research and Treatment analyzed data
from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health that
showed the percentage of adult children of same-sex partners
reporting ongoing depression was nearly triple that of adult
children of heterosexual parents (51% vs. 22%). The study also found
obesity more than twice as prevalent in adult children of same-sex
partners (72% vs. 31%). More children of same-sex partners reported
physical and/or emotional and/or sexual violence against them in
greater numbers than children of heterosexual parents.
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