Pastor Craig Groeschel shared at the recent Catalyst One Day in Birmingham, Alabama that churches should be careful about growing too fast. Warren Bird agrees with Groeschel's warning, noting that churches should maximize what they have before expanding and make sure any expansion is rooted in a strong leadership team and is financially responsible.
Source: The Christian Post
In the midst of the political chaos surrounding the rise of Donald Trump, pastors can use this opportunity to refocus their congregations on faithfulness and the Gospel message. In addition, there are political values that don't line up with God's values. God shows favor to the humble, God's means will bring about God's results, and the seeming pragmatic choice isn't always the right choice.
A married partner is no longer the most likely living option for young adults, ages 18 to 34. As of 2014, 32.1% of young adults live with a parent, while 31.6% live with a spouse or partner. In addition, 22% live in a dorm, prison, or other relative. This overall number is not as high as in country's such as Italy, but in some cases this arrangement could be a failure to "launch" into adulthood.
As women shift toward the religious "nones," the gap between men and women for church attendance is shrinking dramatically from 13% in the 1980's to just 6% in the early 2010's. The explanations for this include men who are more likely to attend church, the overall decline of younger women attending church, and the increase of women in the workforce.
Source: Pew Research
Richard Stearns of World Vision returned from a trip to Lebanon and Iraq where he was inspired by the Christians there to treat refugees as guests. Stearns shared, “Let’s try to see these refugees through the eyes of God” after his visit to the city of Erbil that has over 11,000 Christian refugees. overall, there are an estimated 11 million Syrian refugees and 4.4 million Iraqi refugees.
Clergy from Episcopal and Methodist churches in Cleveland, OH visited an abortion clinic in order to show their support. One of the clergy members tweeted that God is the ultimate escort into the clinic. The clergy also held signs thanking God for abortion providers.
Churches remain uncertain about how to handle a pastor who has been accused of a scandal. 47% believe the pastor should step aside while allegations are investigated, but 21% are uncertain. Among older pastors, 36% believe pastors should remain in their positions during investigations, but younger pastors are less likely to agree (27%). Pentecostals (43%) are the most likely to keep pastors in their positions during investigations, while 24% of Reformed or Presbyterian pastors take the same view.
A recent survey found that 29% of pastors have no funds in savings. In addition, only 14% have received financial training in seminary and only 38% had financial training in college. Only 23% are completely confident in managing their finances, while 46% are confident in managing their church finances.
Source: Church Law and Tax
Former medical missionary Donn Ketcham served from 1961 to 1989 in Bangladesh with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE). Ketcham was accused of having at least four affairs and sexually abusing at least 18 girls under the guise of medical care. Ketcham lived with a number of missionary families on a compound where the abuse continued unchecked for years. A 280-page report from Professional Investigators International (Pii) confirmed the abuse allegations and prompted ABWE to issue apologies and to begin the process of paying for counseling for the many victims. ABWE has also improved its reporting procedures and abuse training for staff.
Source: Christianity Today
“The Preachers” is a new talk show hosted on Fox that aims to resemble the format of The View. The show will feature four prominent megachurch pastors that includes: Dr. Jamal Bryant, pastor and founder of Empowerment Temple AME Church in Baltimore, Maryland; John Gray, associate pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas; Dr. E. Dewey Smith Jr., senior pastor at The House of Hope Atlanta, Georgia and The House of Hope of Macon, Georgia; and Orrick Quick, pastor of God Seekers Church in High Point, North Carolina.
Source: The Examiner
Male and female ministers are regularly critiqued over their appearance, how they dress, their hair styles, and how they carry themselves. Women are especially scrutinized for their weight and hair styles, some reporting that their hair is more important than their theology to some. This troubling trend reveals that churches feel a sense of ownership over their pastors that even extends to how they dress and style themselves. Church members hold pastors up to impossible ideals that are demoralizing and degrading for pastors.
Just days before the 2016 United Methodist General Conference, 15 clergy and clergy candidates in New York state came out as lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer. The group did so with fear and trembling, but they shared that it has been spiritually suffocating to be in the closet for so long. Over 100 proposals related to LGBT issues in the UMC are up for vote at the conference.
As churches move more of their transactions and accounts to online programs, there is an increased threat of cyber attacks and theft. While there should be clear controls in place for writing checks and making deposits, churches also need security procedures for ensuring the safety of accounts. Virus detection and removal software as well as email and network safeguards are essential for blocking potential attacks.
Source: Worship Facilities
By 2036, Millennials are projected to reach 81 million in the U.S. Today they number 75.4 million and have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation in America. As the Baby Boomers decline in numbers, Generation X is expected to outnumber them by 2028 with 65 million members.
Source: Pew Research
Karl Vaters notes that most adults attending church today have less disposable income and are working longer hours, sometimes with multiple jobs, just to keep up with rising expenses. They can only attend church three times per month, rather than three times per week, and they are less likely to donate to a building campaign but will donate to help meet a need.
Source: Christianity Today