So Many Life Changes

Whether or not you have ever heard of the Social Readjustment Rating Scale also known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, you are likely familiar with the idea that people who experience many significant life changes in a relatively short period of time are at an increased risk for illness.  This scale is a well known and frequently utilized way to self-assess the amount of change a person has experienced.  Each life change has a numeric score associated with it, and the total of all scores Read More …

Too Many Clergy?

How many clergy are too many?  I don't have an answer, but do think the question is important to discuss at all levels of the church. I have heard from several colleagues and from members of search committees just how different the search process has become in recent years.  Perhaps this is why (or at least a part of the reason why): In the 1950s there were roughly the same number of ministers as there were U.S. churches. Now there are almost two ministers for every church, according to the Read More …

Education & Low Wage Work

It is a widely held assumption that higher levels of education are associated with higher paying jobs.  This data has long been used to argue for the vale of higher education. A  new study by the Economic Policy Institute finds that low-wage workers (those in the bottom 20% of income) have far more education now than they once did.  More specifically, the percent of low-wage workers with varying levels of educational attainment has shifted a great deal from 1968 to 2012, including percent Read More …

Proposed Ban on Religious Symbols

The newly proposed Charter of Quebec Values includes a ban on "overt and conspicuous religious symbols worn by government employees."  The possibility of this ban has led many religious people to protest.  Over 1,000 people marched through city streets on Saturday to protest the proposal. So What? Governmental agencies certainly have responsibility for determining what is and what is not appropriate for their employees to wear.  Citizens, however, can and should speak up when they feel the Read More …

Child Sponsorship Works

Bruce Wydick, professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, recently published study findings that show that child sponsorship works.  The academic paper appears in the current edition of the Journal of Political Economy.  Wydick provided an overview of the material for a lay audience in the June 2013 edition of Christianity Today (p.20-25). Based on research done using a grant from USAID to analyze the impact of child sponsorship programs in six Read More …

Pastors & Forced Termination

Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared some observations on church staffing trends in a piece for the Christian Post.  One of the six trends he discussed is the percentage of senior pastors who lose their jobs each year because of forced terminations.  Over the last seven years, approximately 1.5% of senior pastors have been subject to forced termination each year. So What? Basic math indicates that over that 7 year period, 10.5% of senior pastors Read More …