Excerpts from the
March 10, 2017 edition of
The FOSTER Letter—Religious
Only 1 in 5 American young
people in the 12 to 22 age range express a clear vision of where
they want to go and what they want to accomplish and why. Almost a
quarter express no aspirations at all and in some cases, see no
point in acquiring any.
(The Path to Purpose: How Young People Find Their Calling in Life,
William Damon, New York: Free Press, 2009)
Churches Part Ways for Many
Reasons Sometimes a
church must close a campus. In other cases, they start a spinoff
campus or church. 1 in 5 churches has experienced a closing or
cutting of ties with a campus. Low attendance is by far the most
common reason for closing a campus, with 82% of those who have done
so citing this reason. But other common challenges include
leadership issues or turnover (32%) or financial problems (29% say
the campus is expensive to maintain, 21% cite insufficient giving).
When a church cuts ties with a campus, one common challenge is a
campus’ vision diverting from that of the sending church (35%).
However, a separation is most likely to occur due to success: 48%
part ways after becoming self-sustaining and autonomous.
What Causes Lower Bible
Engagement? 58% of
U.S. adults who say their Bible reading decreased in the last year
report being too busy with life’s responsibilities (job, family,
etc.). This is up from 40% in ‛14 according to a new Barna study for
the American Bible Society. Other factors cited for less time
reading the Scriptures include becoming atheist or agnostic (17%),
deciding to leave the church altogether (17%), going through a
difficult experience that caused them to doubt their faith (or God,
or the Bible) (12%) or experiencing a significant change such as a
job loss or death in the family (8%). Less impactful are seeing how
reading the Bible made very little difference in the life of someone
they know (6%) and being converted to another faith (5%).
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)
No to Online Dating
Overall, 28% of U.S. adults
have either tried online dating once or twice (14%), use it
regularly (5%), or have used it previously, but not anymore (9%).
But 72% of U.S. adults haven’t tried it at all, and 52% would never
do so. Of those who have never tried it, 16% are still open to it.
Gen-Xers (7%) and Millennials (6%) are the most regular users and
Gen-Xers are also more likely to have tried it (37%) than any other
age group. 75% say they would never use online dating.
So Few Good Paying Jobs? One big reason for the lack of
good-paying jobs in the U.S. is the decrease in new employer
startups. In ‛06, about 558,000 new employer businesses were
created, as opposed to about 385,000 in ‛10 and 404,000 in ‛13. This
represents a decline of about 28% from ‛06 to ‛13. The decline spans
almost all industries and sectors, and there could be many reasons
for it: unfriendly regulations, lack of access to credit, general
economic uncertainty, or lower demand for goods and services in the
economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago calculated that if the
new business entry rate had stayed at pre-‛06 levels, 1.7 million
more jobs would have been created as of March ‛11.
Bible Reading Is Generally
when asked if their personal use of the Bible has increased,
decreased or stayed about the same as a year ago, 23% say it
increased while 8% say it decreased and 66% report it stayed about
the same. The findings over the past 5 years are very similar.
There are definitely increases
in the amount of people reporting stable Bible reading habits (66%
in ‛16 compared to 58% in ‛12). Higher than average rates of
increases are reported among females (26%), those from lower income
(<50K) households (26%), black Americans (42%) and southerners
(29%), and the more obvious groups like born-again Christians (40%),
Protestants (33%), practicing Christians (44%) and very-active
church attenders (42%). The biggest decrease in Bible reading in the
last year includes Millennials (11%), atheists and agnostics (10%),
those who are much less active church attenders (16%) and again,
black Americans (11%), who appear to be existing more on the
extremes of usage.
is one of the most powerful methods of conveying thoughts, moods,
feelings and emotions. So, if smiling is so influential, why isn’t
it recognized as a fundamental value in every aspect of business and
marketing? A smile is one of the best ways to make others feel
accepted! Why wouldn’t any business mandate all of its employees to
connect with stakeholders with a smile to fulfill this basic desire?
It exudes confidence; both within yourself and in the perception
others have of you. It even makes tasks look easy and enjoyable,
suggesting mastery of your subject. Smiling counters feelings of
anxiety and intimidation in others, instills a sense of calm and
trust. It also makes you look more attractive and should extend to
every aspect of brand experience. Does your logo embody the spirit
and effects of smiling? How about your marketing messages? How about
the very product or service you offer customers or donors? Does it
come with a smile? To be a great marketer and great brand, you
must smile. Let me help you make your brand smile.
Assess Moral Fiber
of potential workers with a new
evidence based Professional Trust Assessment tool from
Veris Benchmarks. Veris Prime is a free online test that anyone
can take which consists of 40 multiple choice questions. The test is
essentially a tool for pre-employment assessments, and helps
employers determine whether a potential hire might compromise an
organization’s reputation by engaging errant behavior. The test
takes 15 minutes to complete and results can be viewed instantly.
Ministry & Pastors’ Families
According to a recent major study by Barna and Pepperdine
Univ., 96% of married U.S. pastors are
satisfied with their spousal
relationship. 70% say it is excellent, and 26% consider it good.
This compares with 46% of all married American adults that rate
their marriage as excellent and 35% as good. They also divorce at
lower rates: About 10% of Protestant pastors have ever been divorced
vs. 27% of all U.S. adults. 83% of those earning less than $40,000 a
year rate their marital satisfaction as excellent. Pastors with
children under 18 (35% of all pastors) are also enthusiastic about
their relationship with their kids. 60% view it as excellent and 36%
as good. This compares with 46% of all U.S. parents in the U.S.,
less than half say their relationship with their children is
excellent (46%) and three in 10 say it’s good (32%).
Fewer Americans Married
The number of married Americans is at its lowest point since 1920.
In ‛16, the median age for men marrying was 29.5 and for women 27.4.
72 % of Americans over 18 were
married in 1960 vs. only about half today. Research also found that
8% of adults are cohabiting and 11% described themselves as being in
a “committed relationship.”
Are Science & Faith in
Conflict? 59% of
Americans say science and religion are often in conflict, but those
more religiously observant are less likely than others to see this
clash, according to a ‛15 Pew Research Center Survey.
Among those who attend church at least once a week, 50% view
religion and science as in conflict, vs. 73% of those who seldom or
never attend house of worship. At the same time, 68% say their own
personal religious beliefs do not clash with accepted scientific
(Pew Fact Tank 2/10/17)
Does 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
Do Pastors Have Close Friends?
American pastors are happy with their friendships, rating their
satisfaction in that area of their lives as either excellent (34%)
or good (33%). This is on par with or only slightly better than
American adults overall (28% excellent, 33% good).
Millennials Worst Drivers
The AAA Foundation
for Traffic Safety found 88% of drivers 19-24 acknowledged
engaging in risky behavior such as texting while driving, running
red lights or speeding during the previous month. Millennials
acknowledged typing or sending a text or email while driving at
nearly twice the rate of other drivers (59.3% to 31.4%). Nearly half
reported running a red light even if they could have stopped safely
vs. 36% of the rest of drivers. 12% said it was acceptable to speed
10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone vs. 5% of other
drivers. This finding come as driving is becoming more dangerous:
The number of traffic deaths rose to 35,092 in ‛15, up 7% from ‛14
and was the largest 1-year jump in 5 decades.
(USA Today 2/15/17)
Markers of Especially Welcoming
Churches 1. They
place the right people in hospitality. 2. They communicate
intentionally and strategically. 3. They take security seriously. 4.
They have an efficient children’s check-in process. 5. They think
through the response after the sermon. 6. They are intentional about
following up with guests.
American Culture is Broken
95% of Spiritually
Active, Governance Engaged Christian conservatives (SAGE Cons)
indicate they are not satisfied with the current state of American
culture. Less than 1% said they are either “extremely” or “very”
satisfied with today’s culture. The other 5% admitted they are
somewhat satisfied. That extreme level of dissatisfaction fits with
their concern about the direction of the country; the ineffective
performance of government; their disappointment and lack of trust
related to major social institutions; and their worries about the
state of the family. The most common terms selected by respondents
to convey their view of the present culture were “self-indulgent”
(chosen by 96%), “selfish” (94%,) “intolerant” (84%) and
“mean-spirited” (82%), “fast-paced” (65%), “corrupt” (61%) and
(American Culture & Faith Institute 2/15/17)
34% of U.S. senior pastors with
children 15 and older says at least one of their kids is no longer
actively involved in church and 7% have a child who no longer
considers themselves a Christian.
Female Pastors According to the Barna Group 1 of every 11
Protestant pastors in the U.S. is a woman, triple the number 25
years ago. Typically women often lead smaller congregations than
How many Muslims are there?
There were 1.6
billion Muslims in the world as of ‛10 , roughly 23% of the global
population – according to a Pew Research Center estimate.
If current demographic trends continue, the number of Muslims is
expected to exceed the number of Christians by the end of
this century. Indonesia is
currently the country with the world’s largest Muslim population,
but Pew Research Center projects India will have that
distinction by the year 2050.
In ‛15, Pew estimates
there were 3.3 million Muslims in the U.S., or about 1% of the
population and projects they will make up 2.1% by the year 2050. The
two major factors behind the rapid projected growth of Islam are;
each Muslim woman has an average of 3.1 children vs. 2.3 for all
other groups combined and Muslims are the youngest of all major
religious groups, 7 years younger than the median age of
For information on how to become a subscriber to the entire 3-4 page
Foster Letter---Religious Market Update, E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org