Excerpts from the
March 10, 2018 edition of
The FOSTER Letter—Religious
Key Traits of Kids Who Stay in
Church What sets
apart the kids who stay in the church? Here are 3 common
traits according to Jon Nielson, college pastor at College
Church in Wheaton, IL. 1.
They are converted.
Its converted students who go on to love Jesus and serve the church.
2. They have been equipped, not entertained. If students
leave high school without Bible-reading habits, Bible-study skills,
and strong examples of discipleship and prayer, we’ve lost them.
3. Their parents preached the gospel to them. The common thread
that binds together almost every ministry-minded 20-something is
clear: a home where the gospel was not peripheral but absolutely
central. The 20-somethings who are serving, leading and driving the
ministries in the church were kids whose parents made them go to
church. Their parents punished them and held them accountable when
they were rebellious. They are kids whose parents read the Bible
around the dinner table every night. And their parents were tough
but ultimately operated from a framework of grace that held up the
cross of Jesus as the basis for peace with God and forgiveness
toward one another.
According to Barna Research and Impact 360, Gen-Z (ages 13 to 18)
are a generation actually larger than Millennials. 57% use screen
media 4 or more hours per day. 63% are white, 21% Hispanic, 17%
black and 9% Asian. 12% claim to be non-heterosexual and 33% say
gender is how a person feels, not their birth sex. 34% self-identify
as atheist, agnostic or religiously none. Only 42% agree the Bible
is mostly or totally accurate. A mere 4% have a biblical worldview
and just 34% believe lying is morally wrong. 43% believe the most
important thing in their life is their future career or preparation
for that career. 51% say their highest goal in life is happiness and
happiness most often is defined by financial wealth.
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Billy Graham’s Influence
About 80 years after he
began his ministry, Billy Graham continued to impact the faith of
millions with nearly half of all Protestant churchgoers saying they
have watched one of his sermons on television. A recent LifeWay
Research survey found
Graham’s wide-ranging ministry influenced churchgoers through a
variety of means. Two-thirds of Protestant churchgoers had some
contact with his ministry: 48% watched a Billy Graham sermon on
television. 18% listened to one of his sermons on the radio. 15%
read one of his books. 14% read a Billy Graham newspaper column. 11%
attended a Billy Graham crusade. 8% watched a Billy Graham sermon
online. Only 4% of churchgoers said they “have no idea who Billy
(Baptist Press 2/21/18)
The Evangelical Protestant Share
of the population has dipped slightly in recent years (from 26.3% in
’07 to 25.4% in ’14), but more slowly than the mainline Protestant
and Catholic populations.
percentage of Americans who identify with
evangelical Protestant denominations has ticked downward, the
number of evangelicals appears to be rising as
the overall U.S. population grows. In ’14, there were roughly 62.2
million evangelical Protestant adults vs. 59.8 million in ’07.
(Pew Research Center 3/1/18)
Church Planters and Campus Pastors
in their first 5 years at a church are 2.3 times more likely to have
a vision to plant/launch a new church than pastors who have been at
the same church more than 10 years.
Belief in God Among
According to the Pew Research Religious Landscape Study, 88%
of U.S. evangelicals’ belief in God is absolutely certain. For 8%
this belief is fairly certain and for 1% it’s not at all certain.
Less than 1% fall into the following 3 positions: Don’t know, Do not
believe in God or Other.
Research Religious Landscape Study)
Gen Z De-Prioritizing Family
New Barna research reports family is not a major priority for Gen Z.
For instance, personal achievement, whether educational or
professional (43%), and hobbies and pastimes (42%) are more central
to their identity than family background/upbringing (34%). All other
generations rank family at the top. Religious belief is also less
influential among teens than other generations. 66% of Gen Z want to
finish their education, start a career (66%) and become financially
independent (65%) by age 30, while only 20% wants to get married by
then. However, 50% say they do still seem to value their family’s
authority or insight and 14% another family member.
African Americans Are More Religious than whites and
Latinos by many measures of
For instance, 75% of black Americans say religion is very important
in their lives vs. smaller shares of whites (49%) and Hispanics
(59%). African Americans also are more likely to attend services at
least once a week and to pray regularly. 83% of black Americans are
more likely to say they believe in God with absolute certainty than
whites (61%) and Latinos (59%).
The fall ’17 Gallup Student
Poll found 70% of the nearly 800,000 students polled strongly
agreed they have a best friend at school. Having a best friend at
school gives students a reason to show up, helps them enjoy their
days and encourages a range of positive behaviors. The same holds
true for teachers. Having
a best friend at work is one of the key drivers of performance
with links to efficiency, innovation and enjoyment on the job.
Having a best friend at work is the best predictor of having higher
well-being and engagement.
Fact Vs. Values
Relentless repetition was once enough to drive your message home.
Not anymore! Fact-based statements can be proven or disproven
objectively. But the “truth” of a values-based statement hinges on
agreed-upon values. Modern advertising overflows with values-based
statements, e.g. “Big selection,” “High quality,” “Low prices,”
“Easy credit.” Even though they may be true in the mind of the
advertiser, the public has heard them all before. The left
hemispheres of our brains detect and prefer fact-based statements.
Today we are hype-immune and hunger for statements of fact.
To persuade today’s hype-resistant customer, you must learn to make
fact-based statements in your ads.
NOTE: I can help you make sure your ads are not just
repeating clichés but clearly delivering meaningful facts that will
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Morning Memo 9/26/05, Foster Network)
The mainline tradition’s share of the Protestant population has
declined along with its share of the overall population. Today, 32%
of Protestants identify with denominations in the mainline
tradition, down from 35% in ’07. Evangelicals now constitute a clear
majority of all Protestants in the U.S., with their share of the
Protestant population having risen from 51% in ’07 to 55% in ’14.
Research Center 5/12/15)
Generation is the largest generation in America’s history
(though they may be surpassed by Gen Z). There are 78 million young
adults ranging in ages from 18 to 38. And they have lots of kids.
Are You Familiar With Christian
Liturgy? A new Barna
study has found most practicing Christians are at least aware of the
concept of liturgy: 32% are very, 30% are somewhat familiar with
Christian liturgy, while 19% have never heard of it. 37% of white
practicing Christians and 28% of Hispanic practicing Christians are
very familiar with the concept of liturgy vs. just 14% of black
practicing Christians. Among faith segments, evangelicals are the
least aware, while Catholics and mainline Protestants (American
Baptists, Episcopal, Lutheran, United Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.)
know it best. Almost half as many evangelicals as non-evangelicals
are very familiar with the concept (19% vs. 35%), while 49%
Catholics and 37% of Protestant mainliners are very familiar.
Similar to evangelicals, only 18% of Protes-tant non-mainliners know
liturgical practice well. Among generations; Millennials (34%) and
Gen X (41%) are especially acquainted with liturgy vs. Boomers (26%)
and Elders (31%).
Looking For Love Online
15% of U.S. adults
have used online dating sites and/or mobile dating apps, finds
a ’15 Pew Research Center survey,
up from 11% in ’13. 41% know someone who uses online dating, and 29%
know someone who has entered a long-term relationship via the
process. The share of 18-24 year-olds that use it has spiked from
10% in ’13 to 27% in ’15. 22% of 18-24-year-olds now use mobile
dating apps vs. just 5% in ’13. 59% of Americans say it is a good
way to meet people, and 47% agree it is easier and more efficient
than other ways.
Research Center 2/14/18)
Remarriage On The Rise
In ’13, 23% of married
people in the U.S. had been married before vs.
just 13% in 1960. 4-in-10 new marriages in ’13 included a spouse who
had been married at least once before, and in 20% both spouses had
been married at least once before.
Among previously married men (divorced or widowed), 64% remarried
vs. 52% of previously married women. Why the disparity? Among
previously married women, 54% say they did not want to marry again
vs. 30% of men.
Research Center 2/14/18)
Will, Skill & Till
Contrary to conventional wisdom—and in many cases, to instinct—a
recession might be just the time to increase marketing spending,
thereby taking advantage of listing competitors and capturing the
attention of cash-strapped consumers. Many companies will tend to
conserve during difficult times, but a number will increase spending
for strategic reasons. Not every company can or should expand during
a downturn. Those who do need to have the will, the skill and the
till. The will—a culture to resist the instinct to pull
back in tough times. The skill—a competent and creative
marketing team. The till—resources ample enough to weather
the tough times plus increase marketing spend. During a recession,
you’re unlikely to see returns immediately, so you’ve got to have
sufficient resources. I can help you make these strategic choices.
The Number Of U.S.
Adults Cohabiting with a partner is on the rise.
In addition to the half of U.S. adults who are married, 7% were
cohabiting in ’16. The number of Americans living with an
unmarried partner reached about
18 million in ’16, up 29% since ’07. Roughly half of cohabiters are
under 35, but cohabitation is rising most quickly among those 50 and
(Pew Research Center 2/14/18)
The (Not So) Common Book of
Prayer The Book of
Common Prayer is an Anglican prayer book that contains liturgical
services of worship and other rites. Though common in mainline
circles, few practicing Christians overall incorporate it into their
daily personal spiritual practice or discipline. 26% of practicing
Christians they have either never participated in the practice and
27% have never heard of it. 44% of evangelicals have never even
heard of the Book of Common Prayer, double the amount of
non-evangelicals (22%). In fact, only 10% of practicing Christians
use it daily and 14% within the past week.
Enhanced by Tech
According to Barna Research, 70% of practicing Christian millennials
read Scripture on a cell phone or on the Internet vs. 34% of all
millennials. 56% of practicing millennials check out a place of
worship’s website vs. 34% of all millennials. 54% of practicing
Christian millennials watch online videos about faith or
spirituality vs. 31% of all millennials. 59% of practicing
millennials search for spiritual content online vs. 30% of all
Gender Differences Biological
According to a new
study, differences between boys and girls are biological and not
fluid, as transgender theory claims. Research revealed in
the Infant and Child Development Journal
concluded gender preferences in children are the result of their
environment and upbringing as they are intrinsic within the child.
16 studies composed of 787 boys and 813 girls were document-ed.
Researchers consistently found boys played with male-type toys more
than girls, and girls played with female-type toys more than
boys. Not surprising to most parents, but it defies prevailing
transgender theories that say gender differences are simply a
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