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Jul 6, 2018
Churchgoers

New Research: Churchgoers Stick Around for Theology, Not Music or Preachers

Don’t mess with a church’s beliefs or there may be an exodus, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
New Research: Churchgoers Stick Around for Theology, Not Music or Preachers
Image: via LifeWay Research
I used to lead, and now work with, LifeWay Research. Here’s an interesting piece of research they just released. It’s a bit counterintuitive in ways, so it caught my interest and I decided to share the story with you!

Most churchgoers will put up with a change in ...

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Jun 18, 2018
Violent Extremism

The Increase of Women’s Involvement in Violent Extremism

Christians must reach out to their Muslims neighbors and together prevent extremist abuse and violence.
The Increase of Women’s Involvement in Violent Extremism

While there is growing interest in the #METOO and #TIMESUP movements, and rightly so, we must not forget the women who are subjected to religious-based violence every day of their lives. Gender equality is not only defined by glass ceilings, pay raises, and workplace sexual ...

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Jun 16, 2018
gospel

The Gospel in Major City Centers

What does it look like for church leaders in Chicagoland and other large cities to actually seek the peace and prosperity of the city?
The Gospel in Major City Centers
Image: via Creative Commons

Chicago has been my home town only for the past four years. I spent most of my adult life in Boston, the San Francisco Bay area, and the Inland Northwest. But perhaps since I grew up in the Midwest (Cleveland, Ohio), somehow Chicago feels even more like home than other places ...

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May 22, 2018
Doubt

Doubt Is Not Unbelief: Evangelicals and the Stigma of Doubt

The key is not the total suspension of confidence or even certainty, but rather the judicious placement of confidence and trust.
Doubt Is Not Unbelief: Evangelicals and the Stigma of Doubt
Image: via Creative Commons

The commitment of American evangelicals towards gospel propagation is evident from their dominant presence in Protestant mission (vast majority of U.S. based Protestant missionaries are evangelicals) and in the identities of their greatest heroes like Billy Graham.

Unfortunately, ...

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Feb 2, 2018
outreach, megachurch, engagement

Reflections on the Megachurch

Making and growing disciples is more important than butts in seats.
Reflections on the Megachurch

This article originally appeared in Outreach Magazine.

As former head of LifeWay Research, I did the statistical research for the Outreach 100 Fastest-Growing and Largest Churches lists for a number of years and always noticed two things: First, God was doing amazing things through ...

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Jan 26, 2018
StrengthsFinder, Myers–Briggs, Personality Test

Personality Tests—A Waste or a Resource?

Personality tests are helpful tools to understand the gifts and abilities that the Lord has given us.

Most of us have taken at least one personality test over the course of our lifetime. Some prefer StrengthsFinder, others appreciate Myers–Briggs, but each with the same objective: to better understand who we are and what we should do.

The popularity of these tests has only ...

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Jan 17, 2018
books, gospel-centered life

A Look at Notable 2017 Publications

TEDS President offers his annual list of best books
A Look at Notable 2017 Publications
Image: pixabay

As we move closer to the conclusion of the 2017 calendar year, it seems like a good time to look back at some of this year’s important publications. It is impossible to keep up with the ever expanding number of books that are published each year and I make no claims to ...

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Nov 20, 2017
suicide, mental illness, research

The Problem of Suicide: How is the Church Caring for those Impacted?

A church without the broken is a broken church.
The Problem of Suicide: How is the Church Caring for those Impacted?

Each year, 44,193 Americans die by suicide which, on average, amounts to 121 suicides per day.

For many of us, these figures don’t feel too far off. We can picture the faces and remember the names of those in our own communities who’ve taken their own lives.

As a young ...

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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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