Statement on Ministry

Tiger population has declined by 90% over the last 50 years; those involved in creating a brighter future for tigers understand that extinction will be reality if significant changes are not implemented soon.  The role of religion in America has changed dramatically and the size of mainline/progressive Protestantism has declined dramatically over the last 50 years; those involved in leading United Church of Christ communities today must be open to innovation and experimentation in order to Read More …

Misusing Statistics

Ed Stetzer,  President of LifeWay Research, recently blogged about findings of research his organization conducted on how pastors use statistics in their ministries. The findings are based on a phone survey of over 1,000 pastors in late 2009. When these clergy were asked if Christians frequently misuse statistics to fit their own agenda, the vast majority (66%) responded affirmatively.  Stop and think about this statistic about the use of statistics.  According to 2 out of every 3 pastors Read More …

Top 200 Church Blogs

Kent Schaffer founded Church Relevance to "help ministries become more effective and efficient."  Earlier this month, Church Relevance published its annual list of the top 200 church blogs, including an explanation of how it determined the rankings. So What? While certainly not a comprehensive this list, it provides a wealth of possibility for the would be reader.  I plan to visit each of the blogs listed at least once over the next few weeks, and look forward to being introduced to some new Read More …

Silence in Worship

Mark Vernon's recent article explores how limited silence is a part of most Christian worship services today.  The current preference for services filled with sound is an historical aberration. To consider the topic in greater depth, he defers to Diarmaid MacCulloch (pictured at right), professor of the history of the church at Oxford University.  MacCulloch chose the silence in Christian history as his topic for the prestigious Gifford Lectures, which are available online. So Read More …

New Perspectives

Matthew Paul Turner's recent blog post entitled "25 Christian Blogs You Should Be Reading" highlights a list of blogs he finds insightful that don't typically receive significant attention or traffic.  After reading his list and clicking through to a few of the blogs, I started to fashion my own list.  After listing just a few I realized how easy it would be to add several dozen Christian blogs I have found of interest that would not appear on any lists of top Christian blogs.  As I skimmed Read More …

Religious Benefits

The latest research by Gallup (more than 676,000 interviews conducted in 2010 & 2011) finds "very religious Americans of all major faiths have higher overall wellbeing than do their respective counterparts who are moderately religious or nonreligious." The following chart shows how specific groups fared by degree of religiosity: In the overall rankings when religions are considered as a whole (across the varying degrees of religiosity), Jews rank highest, Christians are in the Read More …

American Religion from 1970 to 2010

America is a rather religious country.  The chart below (Religions of the World, p. 3002) provides an overview of American religion in 1970 and in 2010 alongside data about what percentage of the population each group comprised in 2010 and the annual growth rate for each during the most recent decade.   So What? Despite the increases in religious pluralism, more than 4 in 5 Americans were Christian in 2010. Are you surprised to learn that Protestants declined in total Read More …

Trust/Mistrust in God & Worry

A recent article in the Scientific American, co-authored by Sarah Estes Graham and Jesse Graham, considers a scholarly article in the July 2011 edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychology written by a group that includes professors from Harvard Medical School.  The research found: Studying hundreds of devoutly religious Jews and Christians, the researchers explored what religious cognitions can lead to more or less worry. Specifically, they found that mistrust in God . . . was associated with Read More …

Review of Engaging the Culture, Changing the World

Meet the Author Since 1996, Philip W. Eaton has served as the President of Seattle Pacific University, an Evangelical Protestant school of around 4,000 students.  Earlier in his career, he spent eight years as a professor of English and American literature followed by eight years in business as a commercial and industrial property developer.  Eaton has served on many boards, including the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Read More …

Another Day When the World Didn’t End

Harold Camping has been in the news the last several days thanks to his prediction (and his organization's costly campaign to alert the world) that the rapture will occur today at 6:00 p.m. in all time zones.  Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Manya A. Brachear explains: Don't mark your calendars yet. Reports that the world will end Saturday are greatly exaggerated, according to many evangelical Christian scholars. For starters, California radio host Harold Camping, 89, president of the Read More …