The Foster Letter ó

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

July 10, 2018 edition of

The FOSTER LetteróReligious Market Update


Why Pastors Quit LifeWay Research surveyed 734 former senior pastors who left the pastorate before retirement age in 4 Protestant denominations. 48% said the search team didnít accurately describe the church before their arrival. Their churches were unlikely to have a list of counselors for referrals (27%), clear documentation of the churchís expectations of its pastor (22%), a sabbatical plan for the pastor (12%), a lay counseling ministry (9%), or a support group for the pastorís family (8%). 48% say their church had none of these. 56% clashed over changes they proposed and 54% say they experienced a significant personal attack. Yet 48% say their training didnít prepare them to handle the people side of ministry. 63% spent more than a decade as a senior pastor before they eventually moved on, most to another ministry role other than senior pastor (52%) but 29% to non-ministry work. 40% say they left the pastorate because of a change in calling. They also cite such issues as church conflict (25%), burnout (19%), personal finances (12%) and family issues (12%). (Facts & Trends 1/12/16)


Protestants Still Predominant 36% of Americans identified themselves as Protestant in í17, according to a series of ABC News/Washington Post polls conducted from í03 to í17. This is down from 50% in í03. The number of evangelical white Protestants fell from 21% to 13%. But black Americans have remained consistent, 61% still identify as Protestant vs. 64% in í03. 39% of white Americans say theyíre members of a Protestant denomination vs. 52%. The number of Hispanics who identify as Protestant dropped from 22% to 14%. The number of Americans who identify as Catholic held steady over the 14-year period, at around 22%. The number of Americans who donít identify with a religion nearly doubled (from 12% to 21%) including 3% who say they are atheists and another 3% who identify as agnostic. The largest group claiming no religious affiliation is 18-29 year-olds, at 35% vs. 13% among 50 and older. Among all surveyed, 25% of men and 17% of women say they have no religious affiliation. College graduates are more likely to say they are not religious (25%) than those without a degree (20%). (Facts & Trends 6/1/18)


Flunking Out Playing Video Games In a national study of American youths, psychologists found nearly 1 in 10 of the gamers (8.5%) to be addicted, meaning that playing video games was causing damage in their lives. Some young people today are flunking out of college because instead of going to class, they are playing video games in their dorm rooms. (Facts & Trends 6/15/18)


Does Your Brand Stick? Donít rely on a slick logo and flashy website to be your brand. The biggest part of branding is what you promise to give your customers. Make it achievable. Donít promise service with a smile if youíre perpetually grumpy or fast delivery if you move at the speed of a tortoise. Maintain your business identity from campaign to campaign - consistency creates brands that stick. Ask me to objectively assess your brandís integrity today. 419-238-4082, or (Manta tip of the Day 2/20/14)


American Church Losing Its Youth 70% of youth stop attending church when they graduate from high school. Nearly a decade later, only about half return. (Church Leaders 4/19/18)


Americans Are Worried about drugs and good jobs, finds Pew Research. 42% of Americans say drug addiction is a major problem where they live, 45% say it is a minor problem and 11% say it is not a problem. 50% of urban dwellers say addiction is a major problem as do 46% of rural dwellers and only 35% of suburbanites. 42% of rural Americans and 34% of urban Americans say the availability of jobs is a major problem. 52% of Americans in urban areas and 36% of those in rural areas also say affordable housing is a major problem. Poverty is also a major issue in urban (42%) and rural areas (36%). Suburban dwellers say jobs (22%), affordable housing (34%) and poverty (21%) are less of a problem. (Facts & Trends 5/30/18)


Americans More Permissive 67% approve of homosexuality today vs. 40% in í01, 69% approve of premarital sex vs. 53%, 76% say divorce is morally acceptable vs. 59% and 65% approve of childbirth outside of marriage vs. 45% in í02 when Gallup added the practice to its poll. 55% oppose pornography while the 43% who say it is morally acceptable has increased from the 30% who approved of it in í11. 91% now approve of birth control, 69% gambling, 66% medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos, 62% the death penalty, 60% buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur, 54% medical testing on animals, 54% doctor assisted suicide and 42% teen sex.  (Gallup 6/7/18)


Do You Know Your Neighbors? Just 16% of Americans feel very attached to the place they live, no matter where that is. Those living in urban, rural and suburban areas all report similar levels of attachment. Those younger than 30 are least likely (8%) to be very attached to their communities while those 65 and older are more likely (27%). Rural dwellers are more likely to say they know all or most of their neighbors (40%) vs. 24% of urban dwellers and 28% of suburbanites.

49% of Americans say they talk to their neighbors face to face at least once a week, 29% once a month or less. 41% have parties or get-togethers with their neighbors. At least half feel they have a strong support network, whether they live in a rural (54%), suburban (58%), or urban (50%) area. (Facts & Trends 5/30/18)


The Ultimate Innovations happen when you step outside your comfort zone, act on the ideas that you think will work and stop accepting doom and gloom prognostications from your peers. I can help you gain that outside perspective. Call or e-mail me at 419-238-4082, or (Hannah Johnson is the Deputy Publisher of Publishing Perspectives 2/26/10)


Gallup's 2018 Global Law and Order Report confirms Venezuela and Afghanistan are 2 of the most dangerous places on the planet and Norway and Singapore are the safest. ( 6/26/18)


An Increasing Number of Drivers involved in fatal crashes are testing positive for drugs, especially opioids and marijuana, finds a new Governors Highway Safety Assoc. study. Federal data shows where tests were performed, 44% of drivers fatally injured in a crash tested positive for drugs in í16, up from 28% a decade earlier. Of those who tested positive for drugs in the latest study, 38% had used marijuana, 16% had used some form of opioid and 4% tested positive for a combination of both. The research found the simultaneous use of multiple drugs is becoming more common. Of the drivers killed in crashes in í16 who were found to be using alcohol, 4% also tested positive for drugs. Use of alcohol by motorists was responsible for 28% of all U.S. traffic fatalities in í16. ( 6/3/18)


Loneliness The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported gerontology researchers have linked the epidemic of loneliness among the elderly to a contraceptive mentality. The fact that more and more people are opting not to have children threatens to worsen the isolation experienced by older people. Indeed, childlessness significantly increases the risk of loneliness. In Germany over 20% of people over 70 have regular contact with only one person or none. Over 2 million Germans over 80 live alone. 25% receives a visit less than once a month from friends and acquaintances and nearly 10% are not visited by anyone. (LifeSite News 6/12/18)


Seeing The Bible as Godís Word Among evangelicals, 88% say the Bible is the Word of God, as opposed to being written by men and 55% say it should be interpreted literally. 85% of black Protestants agree the Bible was written by God and 51% percent say it should be interpreted literally.

Among other groups, Jehovahís Witnesses (94%), Mormons (91%), Catholics (64%), Orthodox Christians (63%) and mainline Protestants (62%) agree. Overall, 60% of Americans say they view the Bible as Godís Word. (Facts & Trends 6/5/18)


Connecting with Other Christians 44% of evangelical Protestants and historically black Protestants say they are involved in prayer or Scripture study groups at least weekly. Well below Jehovahís Witnesses (85%) and Mormons (71%), but higher than mainline Protestants (19%), Orthodox Christians (18%) and Catholics (17%). For Americans as a whole, the rate is 24%. (Facts & Trends 6/5/18)


What Todayís Teens Want When asked by Barna what they want to accomplish before they turn 30, most Gen-Zs mention getting out of school, finding a dream job and supporting themselves financially. Only 20% say they want to get married before they turn 30 and 12% say they want to become a parent. 6% of 13-18-year-olds top goals are completing their education and moving into their career before age 30. 65% want to become financially independent, which 42% say thatís what it means to be an adult. 23% say its emotional maturity and 17% say itís when they turn 18 and legally become an adult. For 16%, becoming more mature spiritually is a priority while 9% say they want to care for the poor and needy or try to become famous or influential by 30. (Facts & Trends 6/14/18)


The Scandal of Masculinity The problem for Christians, is that our cultureís current view of male characteristics seems to be completely at odds with the qualities that Jesus called upon us to demonstrate. When researchers recently asked participants how well various traits described the average man or woman, those participants tended to view men as being aggressive, forceful, selfish, greedy, conceited, unemotional, shallow and egotistical. Furthermore, they viewed men as lacking many positive traits, such as being forgiving, generous, patient, supportive, gentle, considerate, devoted, clear thinking and fair-minded. However, the Univ. of Colorado study found that highlighting menís role as dads led to more positive views of men than highlighting their role in the workforce. They also viewed dads as having positive traits they didnít see in the typical man, such as being supportive, devoted, clear-thinking and mature. The difference is that when we focus on the role men play as dads, it changes what comes to our minds when we think of men. It reminds us that men can also be nurturing, supportive, devoted and generous. (Christianity Today Intíl 6/15/18)


Reinvent Yourself and Your Business Recognize youíre doing something very new today. As Henry Ford pointed out, he was building a car, not a faster horse. Understand that youíre going to have to develop new products or services; itís not the same stuff in a different package. I can help you think through this process. Contact 419-238-4082, or (USA Today 2/26/10)


American Megachurches According to analysis by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, megachurches in the U.S. have several traits in common. 1) 49% of all American megachurches are in the South. 2) 71% are evangelical and virtually all have a conservative theology, even those within mainline denominations. 3) While most megachurches belong to a denomination, 40% consider themselves nondenominational. 4) Most are in the suburbs, near rapidly growing sprawling cities such as Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Orlando, Phoenix and Seattle. 5)

As more have embraced multisite ministries, the typical megachurch worship center now seats 1,200 vs. 1,500 in í10. 6) Megachurches tend to grow quickly and under the leadership of a single senior pastor. (Facts & Trends 6/15/18)


Why Men Leave Work The percentage of men who are not working nor looking for work, has been rising for decades. While 14% of men were out of the labor force in 1950, today its 31%. Women, by contrast, have seen labor force participation rise sharply; the number of women out of the labor force has dropped from 66% in 1950 to 43% today. The decline among men is partly attributable to spending more time in school and living longer, but a recent study also found men with lower education levels participate less in the labor force because of technological forces and global trade which takes jobs overseas. In 1950, only 4% of prime-age men were not working or looking for work vs. 11% today. Experts estimate 75% of inactive prime-age men are in a household that received some form of government transfer or subsidy payment, thus reducing interest in work. Also, for many young adults, living with their parents is a viable option, even if not an attractive one for all participants.  (NY Times 6/15/18)



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