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Apr 27, 2017
evangelism, orality, Gospel

Is Orality Really Effective in Sharing the Gospel?

o·ral·i·ty: the quality of being spoken or verbally communicated
Is Orality Really Effective in Sharing the Gospel?
Image: pexels

Increasing numbers of church and mission leaders are beginning to pay more attention to the orality movement that has emerged over the past 40 years. Some would say that the movement is one of the most significant breakthroughs that has taken place in the church/mission world ...

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Apr 3, 2017
protestant, martin luther, 95 theses, 500 years

Protestantism after 500 Years

By 2040, half of all Protestants will live in Africa.
Protestantism after 500 Years
Image: Wikimedia

I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the Scandinavian Lutheran tradition on a steady diet of hot dish, sola fides, and Davey and Goliath TV episodes. From my Lake Wobegon perspective, the Protestant world did not extend much beyond Iowa. Today, I am on sabbatical in Chiang ...

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Mar 22, 2017
evangelism, eternity, death, heaven, hell

Sharing the Gospel with People Who Aren't Thinking about Death or Eternity

How do we witness to people who don't think about heaven and aren't fearful of hell?
Sharing the Gospel with People Who Aren't Thinking about Death or Eternity
Image: pixabay

“That could’ve been me.”

We hate to be selfish and think about ourselves at a time like this, but we can’t help it when someone we know who is close to our own age dies. Death is unavoidable, and when it hits close to home, we can’t help but briefly ...

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Dec 13, 2016
Christmas, research, LifeWay

LifeWay Research: 89% of churches will have services on Christmas Day

What happens when Christmas falls on a Sunday?

People keep asking me about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.

And, turns out, the vast majority of churches have services on both!

Here’s the data from LifeWay Research:

Christmas Eve

African-American pastors are less likely to say their church will hold services on ...

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Oct 26, 2016
election, evangelical, republican, democrat

Evangelicals are for Trump, Clinton, and Others

Party affiliation is a much stronger predictor of voting preferences than faith.
Evangelicals are for Trump, Clinton, and Others

This week, I will be in Atlanta speaking at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, presenting data alongside Greg Smith, of Pew Research, on evangelicals and the election.

A few months ago, I worked with LifeWay Research and the National Association of Evangelicals ...

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Sep 16, 2016
RESEARCH, TRENDS IN CHRISTIANITY, NONES

The State of The Church in America: When Numbers Point To A New Reality, Part 3

Before you dismiss research as unimportant, read this. If facts are our friends, then it's time we listen to them for the good of the Church in America.
The State of The Church in America: When Numbers Point To A New Reality, Part 3
Image: flicker/arbyreed

The (Formerly Christian) Nones

The Nones, as we discussed earlier, are on the rise. Almost 1 in 4 Americans now claims to have no religious affiliation. That number will likely grow in the years to come. About a third of Millennial Americans, according to Pew, are now Nones. ...

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Sep 14, 2016
RESEARCH, TRENDS IN CHRISTIANITY, NONES

The State of The Church in America: When Numbers Point To A New Reality, Part 2

Before you dismiss research as unimportant, read this. If facts are our friends, then it's time we listen to them for the good of the Church in America.
The State of The Church in America: When Numbers Point To A New Reality, Part 2
Image: flicker/arbyreed

Mainline Protestants

Mainline Protestants (those in the United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA], Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church [U.S.A.], American Baptist Churches, United Church of Christ [UCC], and The Christian Church [Disciples of Christ]) ...

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Sep 12, 2016
research, trends in Christianity, Nones

The State of The Church in America: When Numbers Point To A New Reality, Part 1

Before you dismiss research as unimportant, read this. If facts are our friends, then it's time we listen to them for the good of the Church in America.
The State of The Church in America: When Numbers Point To A New Reality, Part 1
Image: flicker/arbyreed

The polls are in and the news is bad for the Church in America.

Christianity is on the decline, Americans have given up on God, and the “Nones”—those who have no religious ties—are on the rise. It is indeed true that parts of the Christian Church in America ...

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Jul 27, 2016
Research

Why You Should Use Stats in Ministry

Facts are our friends, and so are stats.
Why You Should Use Stats in Ministry
Image: Yahoo Movies / Sony

Those of you who know me know my tentative relationship with all things sports. But, with our move to Wheaton I wanted to approach our new home missionally, so, I took in a Chicago Cubs game.

It isn’t that I know nothing of sports; I just haven’t kept up much. Going ...

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Jun 29, 2016
Church

Issues in the Future of Evangelicalism

The future of evangelicalism includes harsh realities for churches.
Issues in the Future of Evangelicalism

The enduring question for the church is this: how do we fulfill the Great Commission in a rapidly changing world?

We—the church of the West—receive no exception from the question.

But it appears that despite our best efforts to keep up with the ever-morphing values ...

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Apr 15, 2016
Culture

Trump, Evangelicals, and the Elephant in the Room

Who are evangelicals and who are they really voting for?
Trump, Evangelicals, and the Elephant in the Room

Do evangelicals support Donald Trump for president, or do they not? It depends on who you ask, and what you ask them. It also depends on who is an evanglical. Or who says “I’m an evangelical.”

It can be rather tricky.

There are some evangelicals who say, “The ...

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Apr 8, 2016
Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition—April 8, 2016

Religious liberty, Kindness, Discipleship, and more!
Weekend Edition—April 8, 2016

Down in Georgia, here's what the news media's love of 'religious liberty' scare quotes tells you—Bobby Ross, Jr.

"Journalists" need to use scare-quotes less. It's a form of editorializing.

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Feb 8, 2016
Church

Nominal Nation—The Shift Away from Self-Identified Christianity

The decline of nominal Christianity is an opportunity for the gospel
Nominal Nation—The Shift Away from Self-Identified Christianity
Image: Wikimedia Commons

There was a time in American history when it seemed like everyone was a Christian. Now, depending on where in America you live, it can seem like no one is a Christian. In reality, in our lifetimes, there was never a time when everyone was a Christian, and there will never ...

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Dec 14, 2015
Research

What Is Church Attendance Like During Christmastime? New Data From LifeWay Research

Most Americans attend church during the Christmas season, and many would come if invited.
What Is Church Attendance Like During Christmastime? New Data From LifeWay Research

Recently, LifeWay Research conducted a study to learn more about church attendance patterns during Christmastime. Historically, pastors and church leaders know that Christmastime attracts more visitors than perhaps any other time of the year, outside of perhaps the Lenten ...

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Dec 9, 2015
Pastors

Need More Evidence Pastoring is Not a Doomsday Profession? Look at the Wesleyan Church

A lot of rumors fly about the poor state of pastors' emotional and mental health.
Need More Evidence Pastoring is Not a Doomsday Profession? Look at the Wesleyan Church

In case you have missed it, over the course of the last couple of months, I've been reiterating something I've been saying for a long time.

On October 14th, I wrote:

People are legitimately concerned about how many pastors are leaving the ministry. You can hear ...
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