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What to Give Up for Lent 2016? Consider Twitter's Top Ideas

Charting how Lenten abstinence has changed over time.
What to Give Up for Lent 2016? Consider Twitter's Top Ideas
Dick Thomas Johnson, Pabak Sarkar, KT King, Joshua Rappeneker / Flickr

Jesus instructed his followers to pray and fast in secret. Someone tell Twitter.

For Lent last year, more than 400,000 people tweeted what they were giving up during the week of Ash Wednesday. The top five choices: School, chocolate, Twitter itself, alcohol, and social ...

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Super Bowl Theology: How Americans See God's Role in the Big Game

Surveys suggest Christians believe much more prosperity gospel than Calvinism is at play.
Super Bowl Theology: How Americans See God's Role in the Big Game
John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr

American Christians apparently aren't Calvinists when it comes to football.

...

“Our previous research has shown most Americans think God is concerned with their day-to-day decisions,” said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research which conducted ...

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Most Pastors Aren't Voting Trump as Primaries Approach

(UPDATED) In Iowa, evangelicals split caucus votes mostly between Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Marco Rubio.
Most Pastors Aren't Voting Trump as Primaries Approach
Gage Skidmore / Flickr | Shutterstock

Update (Feb. 2): Amid a record-setting turnout, Texas senator Ted Cruz won Monday's Iowa caucuses with 29% of the vote, followed by Donald Trump (24%) and Florida senator Marco Rubio (23%).

Among Republicans, The Washington Post found that "born-again or evangelical ...

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As Falwell Favors Trump, Pew Says Most Americans Still Want a Religious President

(UPDATED) However, survey also finds Trump is one of few candidates who doesn't have to be religious to be deemed great.
As Falwell Favors Trump, Pew Says Most Americans Still Want a Religious President
Kevin Manguiob/Liberty University

Update (Jan. 29): A new survey of Protestant pastors found that evangelical pastors prefer Ted Cruz (18%), Ben Carson (8%), and Marco Rubio (8%) for president. Donald Trump was only favored by 5 percent of Republican pastors, LifeWay Research found. Nearly half of all pastors ...

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Here's How 770 Pastors Describe Their Struggle with Porn

More than half have wrestled with it, but less than 1 percent recommend telling their congregation.
Here's How 770 Pastors Describe Their Struggle with Porn
Barna Group

Most pastors have struggled with porn.

That’s according to an online study of nearly 3,000 adults, teenagers, and pastors by the Barna Group. The study included 432 pastors and 338 youth pastors, and was commissioned by Josh McDowell Ministry and Cru for an April ...

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The Belt Is Still Buckled: America's 100 Most Bible-Minded Cities of 2016

Chattanooga reclaims crown, while five cities are less engaged with Scripture than Las Vegas.
The Belt Is Still Buckled: America's 100 Most Bible-Minded Cities of 2016
Jeff Gunn / Flickr

The Bible Belt is still firmly buckled.

Southern cities top the list of the most "Bible-minded cities" in the United States, calculated each year by the American Bible Society (ABS) and Barna Group.

The rankings, based on each city’s Bible-reading habits ...

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North Korea Gets Competition: The Top 50 Countries Where It's Now Hardest To Be a Christian

(UPDATED) Hermit Kingdom losing lead as modern persecution hits record high, according to 2016 World Watch List.
North Korea Gets Competition: The Top 50 Countries Where It's Now Hardest To Be a Christian
Open Doors

2014 was the world's worst year for the persecution of Christians in the modern era. Until 2015 surpassed it.

The 2016 World Watch List (WWL) from Open Doors analyzes how African countries now outnumber Mideast countries on the list, affecting far more Christians numerically ...

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Why 734 Pastors Quit (and How Their Churches Could Have Kept Them)

LifeWay Research studies how churches can help pastors last longer.
Why 734 Pastors Quit (and How Their Churches Could Have Kept Them)
Hermanturnip / Flickr

No sabbatical. No help with counseling. No clear picture of what’s expected.

Hundreds of former evangelical pastors say these were the crucial elements missing from the final churches they led before quitting the pastorate.

A recent study by LifeWay Research points ...

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The Waning of the 'Worship Wars'

Praise bands and informality are rising, along with Hispanic leaders and unaffiliated churches, finds latest National Congregations Study.
The Waning of the 'Worship Wars'
AllStars Youth / Flickr

Out: Organs, bulletins, and choirs.

In: Spoken amens, raising hands during worship, and using projection equipment for song lyrics and sermon notes.

This change to the American church is deeper than just a formality swap, said the authors of the latest National Congregations ...

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God Rivals the Gym Among New Year's Resolutions

LifeWay Research shows Americans also want to use their time better and improve relationships with family and friends.
God Rivals the Gym Among New Year's Resolutions
Carol VanHook / Flickr

When Americans make New Year’s resolutions, a better relationship with God ranks almost as high as better health, Nashville-based LifeWay Research found.

And for many groups, faith actually outranks health. Older Americans, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Christians ...

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Bible on Demand: What 160 Million People Searched Scripture For in 2015

Bible Gateway offers year-end analysis of the most-popular verses and chapters, and whether anyone finished their Bible-in-a-year reading plans.
Bible on Demand: What 160 Million People Searched Scripture For in 2015
Brett Jordan/Flickr

On February 16, one day after ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, “beheaded” was the fourth most-searched term on Bible Gateway.

The weekend after the US Supreme Court’s same-sex-marriage decision in June, searches for “homosexuality,” ...

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The Top 20 Most-Read Gleanings of 2015

The 50 countries where it's most difficult to be a Christian, 'The Boy from Heaven' retracts his story, Elisabeth Elliot passes through gates of splendor, and more.
The Top 20 Most-Read Gleanings of 2015

What do ISIS, Tullian Tchividjian, YWAM, and Family Christian Stores have in common? All were subjects of the most-read Gleanings posts of 2015.

Here are the top 20 stories that kept readers clicking:

20) Kenji Goto, Christian Journalist, Beheaded By Islamic State

ISIS releases ...

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The Good News Behind Why Teens Don’t Need a Bible for Christmas

Most practicing Protestant youth already own one—and they’re reading it, according to researchers.
The Good News Behind Why Teens Don’t Need a Bible for Christmas
American Bible Society

Virtually all Americans ages 13 to 17 who identify as Protestant, attend a religious service at least once a month, and say their faith is very important in their life, own a Bible.

And most of them are reading it, according to a new survey from the American Bible Society ...

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Beyond Fight or Flight: $1 Million Reveals How Christians Cope with Persecution in 30 Countries

Under Caesar's Sword conference in Rome explores strategies in 100 beleaguered communities.
Beyond Fight or Flight: $1 Million Reveals How Christians Cope with Persecution in 30 Countries
Under Caesar's Sword

From demolished church crosses in China to beheaded believers in Libya, the persecution of Christians regularly drew international media attention this past year.

It also caught the attention of researchers, who spent three years and $1.1 million compiling "the world’s ...

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Pastors and Pews Vastly Disagree on Discipleship Success

On behalf of The Navigators and NavPress, Barna Group studies the state of Protestant spiritual growth.
Pastors and Pews Vastly Disagree on Discipleship Success
Barna Group

Protestant pastors are too hard on their churches. Either that, or churchgoers are too easy on them, according to a new Barna Group study on discipleship sponsored by The Navigators and NavPress.

Less than 1 percent of senior pastors and discipleship pastors told Barna ...

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