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Oct 23, 2017
theology, spirituality, spiritual gift, cessationist

Origin of Spiritual Gifts Profiles

Fascinating research on the systematic theology of spiritual gifts
Origin of Spiritual Gifts Profiles
Image: pixabay

A while ago, I received an email from Ed Stetzer asking if I knew when spiritual gifts inventories first became prevalent. I gave him a quick reflection based on what I remembered at that time, but his question created a curiosity that sent me on a longer investigation. While ...

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Oct 11, 2017
suicide, mental illness, first aid

Suicide, Mental Illness, and the Church: An Interview with Kay Warren

All church members can play a role in helping those with mental illness.

Ed: When talking about mental health, I often think of Galatians 6:2: “Carry one another’s burdens.” I know we want to be a caring church, but I think a lot of churches don’t know how to be a carrying church. Why should we carry the burden of people who ...

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Sep 21, 2017
religion, religious, liminal, none

20% of Americans Are on the Threshold of Religion

New research on American religion.
20% of Americans Are on the Threshold of Religion
Image: pexels

An important trend in American religion has been the rise of the religious nones. A religious none is someone who has no religious affiliation. They are given this name because when researchers survey them as to which religious faith they affiliate with, they check the box “none.” ...

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Jul 10, 2017
race, ethnicity, church, segregation

Race and Ethnicity

The local church is unrivaled in its potential to bring about meaningful transformation.
Race and Ethnicity
Image: pixnio

In my previous post, I offered some reflections on the racist incidences at Fenway Park. In this follow-up post, I will attempt to explain why I believe the local church is an ideal context in which to pursue racial reconciliation.

I write this fully aware that Christians and ...

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May 14, 2017
missions, EMQ

Teams in Mission: Are They Worth It? (Part Two)

TEAM missionaries research teamwork.

Read Teams in Mission: Are They Worth It?, Part One (Disappointments with the Team; Restoring the Team).

Be a Real Team

In global missions practice, team is a nebulous and often misused term. Lewis asks an important question: “While the idea is admirable, what is the difference ...

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Apr 30, 2017
missions, EMQ

Teams in Mission: Are They Worth It? (Part One)

TEAM missionaries research teamwork.

Do teams work? What does it take to develop and maintain a healthy team? Is it worth the effort? Does a healthy team really produce better results than a dysfunctional team?

Teamwork has been a popular concept in missions theory and practice for decades, but there is a persistent ...

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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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