Excerpts from the
November 25, 2018 edition of
The FOSTER Letter—Religious Market Update
88% of U.S. evangelicals, 88% of black Protestants, 65% of mainline Protestants and
58% of Catholics say only those who trust in Jesus alone as Savior
receive God’s free gift of salvation. (Facts & Trends
Gen Z’s Moral Views Engaged Christian teens are a
stark contrast to their peers on moral issues. For instance, 77% of
engaged Christian Gen Zs say lying is wrong vs. 38% of their
churched counterparts and 20% of those who claim no faith. Among
engaged Christian Gen Zs, 76% believe sex before marriage and 77%
that homosexual behavior are morally wrong vs. 5% and 4%
respectively of no faith churched counterparts.
(ECPA Rush to Press
vs. Executive Brain
The brain’s emotional center, the limbic system, comes online early
and with ferocity, during the adolescent years.
A teen’s executive functioning, the ability to plan, make wise
decisions, control impulses and anticipate consequences, doesn’t
mature fully until he is 23 to 25.
(Focus on the Family
Licensing Opportunities Does this growing strategy hold
increased revenue opportunities for you? Let me help you find out.
If proven viable, I can help you strategically maximize it. Contact
Divorce Rate at a 40-Year Low, researchers point to an unlikely
source: young adults.
Americans under 45 are choosier about their partners and
marrying later in life. This is especially true of Millennials who
tend to be cautious in general.
Economic Freedom Reduces
Poverty The World
Bank reports the number of people in extreme poverty around the
world dropped to under 750 million for the first time since 1990
when they began collecting global statistics. Over the last 25
years, more than one billion people have been raised out of abject
poverty, defined by the UN as living on less than $1.90 a day. This
is the most significant movement out of poverty in human history and
if this trend continues, we could see extreme poverty almost
completely eradicated in the 21st century. Yet, this
historic movement was not the result of government redistribution of
wealth, national debt forgiveness or even Christian charity. It was
brought about by the spread of economic freedom.
(Institute for Faith, Work & Economics
The Total Debt Shouldered by
Americans has hit
another record high, rising to $13.5 trillion in the last quarter,
including a jump in student-loan delinquencies. Student debt
delinquency of 90 or more days rose to 9.1% in Q3 from 8.6% in Q2,
claims Federal Reserve Bank data. Such delinquency flows have been
rising on auto debt since ’12 and on credit card debt since last
year. Total household debt, driven by a $9.1 trillion in mortgages,
is now $837 billion higher than its previous peak in ’08, just as
the last recession took hold. Such debt has risen steadily for more
than 4 years and sits more than 21% above a trough in ’13. The $219 billion rise in total
debt in the quarter ended September 30 was the biggest jump since
Why Pastors Get Fired When Their
Church is Growing
Thom Rainer shares these insights: 1. Members who can’t deal with
significant change. 2. Threats to power brokers and
power groups. 3. Relational disruption. 4.
Idolatry of the past. 5.
Empowered bullies. 6.
Staff who feel threatened. 7. Innuendo, gossip and lies. The first 6
scenarios are often exacerbated by innuendo, gossip and lies.
(Thom Rainer, Growing Healthy Churches Together
Generational Marriage Commitment Decline 38% of Gen Z, 37% of
Millennials, 47% of Boomers and 66% of Elders feel a strong
conviction that marriage ought to be a lifelong commitment between a
man and woman. (Barna.com
Opposites Don’t Attract
No matter where friends
meet, people tend to be drawn to those who are more like them.
According to Barna this is true for religious beliefs (62% similar,
38% different), race or ethnicity (74% vs. 26%), income (56% vs.
44%), education level (63% vs. 37%), social status (70% vs. 30%),
political views (62% vs. 38%) and life stage (69% vs. 31%).
Evangelicals are less likely than most to have friends different
than themselves, especially when it comes to religious beliefs (91%
mostly similar), ethnicity (88%) and political views (86%).
Hidden Cost of Poor Service
Each person who is
considered highly likely to recommend a company/ministry and its
products (a.k.a., a Promoter) is worth about half a new customer in
terms of word of mouth marketing value. A Detractor (i.e., someone
unlikely to recommend the company) accounts for a loss of about 1.5
customers in terms of new-customer acquisition (including their
presumed loss of business). Detractors’ negative word-of-mouth
behavior represents a significant hidden cost and net drain on the
bottom line. Ask me to help you insure your organization has more Promoters and fewer Detractors.
(Study by Satmetrix Inc 3/09)
Teens Friendships More Diverse
81% of U.S. teens say
they often or occasionally interact with people who do not share or
do not understand important parts of their identity. According to
Barna, 63% enjoy spending time with people who are different from
them. Only 12% indicate they do not. 56% are comfortable in this
situation and 31% say they don’t share the same belief system as
most of their friends. 76% of teens agree with the statement “My
group of friends is very important to my sense of self,” more than
their family. Teens 13–19 are most likely to form friendships at
school and 86% have found friends in their classes. Engaged
Christian teens (76%) are less likely to find their friends in class
(compared with 88% from other faiths, 86% of those with no faith).
They are more likely to form friendships where they worship (66%),
compared to teens of other faiths (19%) or no faith (5%). (Barna
Can Men and Women Be Friends?
Barna research finds
Americans think friendships between men and women are possible and
actually have at least one friend of the opposite sex. 25% however
indicate they have just one close friend of the opposite sex and the
average among all adults is 1.4. In general, the number of friends
of the opposite sex appears to rise gradually with age, likely a
result of bonds that grow over time.
Pastors Struggle with Loneliness
Barna Research has
found that although pastors can often experience difficulty when
making friends, 67% say they are happy with their friendships,
rating their satisfaction as either excellent (34%) or good (33%),
on par with or only slightly better than U.S. adults overall (28%
excellent, 33% good). However, pastors are more likely than the
general population to feel lonely and to isolate themselves from
others. Overall, intimacy with friends appears to be a challenge not
only for the average U.S. adult but for spiritual leaders, despite
their relationally driven vocation.
Religious Belief a Matter of
Personal Opinion 60%
of Americans say religious belief is a matter of personal opinion.
For 70%, such religious beliefs include one true God existing in
three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). But an increasing
majority denies Jesus has always existed and many say the Holy
Spirit is a force rather than a personal being. (Facts & Trends
Always Wired Generation Gen Z has never known a world without
the internet or cell phones; younger Z’s have never known a world
without smartphones. Google has always existed. They take Wi-Fi for
granted. They spend 6 to 9 hours a day absorbing media and 92% go
Tax Gifts Made Directly to Pastors
While church members may want to give their pastor a financial gift to
show appreciation, a recent court ruling says the IRS can still get
their cut. A Minnesota
tax court ruled that contributions made by congregants as “gifts” to
their pastor are still taxable income, according to the
Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
The judge concluded, “When comparatively so much money flows to a
person from people from whom he provides services (even intangible
ones) and to whom he expects to provide services in the future, we
find it to be income and not gifts.” (ECFA
Character of God
70% of Americans believe there
is one true God in 3 persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 18%
disagree while 12% aren’t sure. This has remained consistent since
researchers began asking the question in ’14. 69% of Americans say
God is perfect and cannot make a mistake, which is higher than both
the ’16 (65%) and ’14 (63%), finds LifeWay Research surveys. 66%
believe the biblical accounts of the bodily resurrection of Jesus
are completely accurate while 20% disagree and 14% aren’t sure. 57%
say Jesus Christ is the only person who never sinned, 29% disagree
and 15% aren’t sure. 57% also say Jesus is a created being, 28%
disagree and 15% aren’t sure. 59% say the Holy Spirit is a force
rather than a personal being, 25% disagree and 16% aren’t sure. 26%
of Americans say God is unconcerned with their day-to-day decisions,
61% disagree and 13% aren’t sure.
In ’18 LifeWay Research found
50% of Americans say the Bible is 100% accurate in all that it
teaches vs. 47% in ’16 and 43% in ’14.
Meanwhile, 47% agree the Bible
contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but isn’t literally true;
43% disagree. In ’14 and ’16, 41% and 44% respectively said the
Bible isn’t literally true. 36% of Americans say modern science
disproves the Bible while 48% disagree.
(2018 State of
Sam-Sex Marriage Divide
Majorities in all of the surveyed Western European countries favor
same-sex marriage, while majorities in almost all of the Central and
Eastern European countries oppose it.
For example, 88% of adults in Sweden and 75% in Germany favor or
strongly favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. By
contrast, 74% of Romanians and 79% of Bulgarians oppose or strongly
(Pew Research Center 10/29/18)
55% of global and 43% of U.S.
customers say businesses never, rarely or only sometimes meet their
expectations. Poor service accounts for 67% of customer churn. In an
economic downturn, relationships are even more important. A business
or ministry must instill a service philosophy that differentiates it
from the others, enticing constituents while also encouraging repeat
sales/donations. Do not let customer churn erode your business or
ministry. Contact me at 419-238-4082,
Alcohol Kills More People
each year opioid overdoses
cancer, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis and suicide, among other ways. From ’07 to ’17, the number of deaths attributable to alcohol increased
35%, according to a new
Univ. of Washington analysis. The death rate rose an alarming 67%
among women and 29% among men. While teen deaths from drinking
were down about 16% during the same period, deaths among people 45
to 64 rose by 25%.
A Large American Cancer Society
Study links social
isolation with a higher risk of death from all causes combined and
heart disease for all races studied and with increased cancer
mortality in white men and women. Overall, race seemed to be a
stronger predictor of social isolation than sex; white men
and white women were more likely to be in the least isolated category than black men and
women. Current findings indicate a composite measure of social
isolation is a robust predictor of mortality risk among men, women,
blacks and whites. Compared with the least isolated, the most
socially isolated black men and women had a more than 2-fold higher
risk of death from any cause and white men and
had 60% and 84% greater risks of death, respectfully. (American Cancer Society
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