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Average church(Gallup) 17% say they tithe but only 3% actually do. 40% will give nothing in a year. 91% say they make more money than they ever have in their life. 71% of pastors believe that church members have changed from stewards into consumers.
Why do I give?
The first thing that popped into my head was that I don’t want to be a free loader. I know that it costs money to run a church. On average it takes 40 square foot of building space per person that attends church. Multiply that times $100.00 to $150.00 a foot to build and it doesn’t take me long to figure out that someone had to pay $16,000.00 to $20,000.00 just to provide a place for my family to worship today. The church pays commercial rates for utilities and high interest on our building loans. Literature costs money, landscaping costs money, salaries cost money--everything costs money. I’m just not the kind of person that wants to get something for nothing. I want to pay my way.
Duke University finds that elderly folks who attend church, pray and read the Bible regularly have lower blood pressure than non practicing peers. (Foster Letter 12/10/05)
Excellent Congregations: Excellent Protestant Congregations, by Paul Wilkes and published by Westminster John Knox Press identified the following 26 common traits among the "excellent" protestant congregations.
1. A vibrancy about living a Christian life...living on the creative and holy edge of the New Testament...being a Christian is not a leisure activity but an adventure.
2. Entrepreneurial...risk-takers, self-starters, use what works and put aside that which does not.
3. Draws philosophically, rather than geographically or denominationally, by the spirit of a living and present God.
4. Reach beyond their comfort zone...not afraid of being uncomfortable and ask tough questions of themselves.
5. Regularly evaluate themselves...for effectiveness.
6. Have a clear, yet changing, sense of mission...a vision of where they want to be and willingness to redirect energies to be effective in their community and people’s lives.
7. Willingness to break up and reassemble...put aside old structures and coalitions when necessary to move forward.
8. Unafraid of being vulnerable and making mistakes.
9. Laity are integral in leadership...competence and a desire to serve, the ability to learn, the humility to admit mistakes and the courage to continue despite setbacks are more important prerequisites for leadership than formal training and ordination.
10. Preach and practice forgiveness and acceptance.
11. Relationship evangelism...personal contact is the key...most new people come to the church through word of mouth...friend, co-worker and neighbor.
12. See themselves as a unique community...not as a franchise of their denomination or even Christianity.
13. In transforming the culture, hold government, agencies and institutions accountable...see their work as not only serving their constituency but also transforming the world around them.
14. Believe in partnerships with other churches, agencies and interest groups.
15. Offer an ascent to God, a relationship...provide the tools and support to forge a real, living and enduring relationship with God.
16. Traditional without being traditionalist...their tradition is a beginning, a springboard, not a wall, not a barrier.
17. The Bible is at their core.
18. Innovative about different spiritual approaches.
19. Tailor liturgies and programs to various constituencies...reject one-size-fits-all approach.
20. Powerful, life-situation preaching...pa...
William Weston, sociology professor at Center College, Danville, KY reports in The Religion Market that strict churches are experiencing great growth. Strict is defined as having a clear, authoritative doctrine, rigorous religious practices, and demanding membership requirements. “What people want most out of religion is religion.” Joseph Tamney and Stephen Johnson, sociology professors at Ball State University claim that an authoritative pastor is the key to church growth. (CT 4/5/99)
Sweet Tooth: Americans spend $23.5 billion annually for 7.3 billion pound of candy. Average per capita annual con-sumption is over 25 pounds. Now you know! (Direct 12/00)
God & Prosperity: The data in 60 countries over the last 20 years show a pattern of richer societies being less religious. However, the extent of religiousness rises with education. In the U.S., within denominations, more highly educated persons tend to attend church more frequently, however, religious practice declines. (BW 12/10/01)
Nationally, 49% of all marriages end in divorce. But you might think the odds of failure are much less for couples heavily involved in church. Not so!
Ministries Today reports the divorce rate up 279% in the last 27 years. Taking a survey of all ministers in all denominations, 50% of their marriages will end in divorce,
An ABC broadcast reports that the divorce rate in the "Bible Belt" is 50% higher than in other areas of the country.
The Christian-based Barna Research Group reported in January, 2000, that 21% of atheists and agnostics will or have experienced divorce, while 29% of Baptists and 34% of non-denominational Christians will or have experienced divorce. Th...
Collegiate Spiritual Practices: A new survey of students attending 46 colleges and universities finds a majority says religion and spirituality are important in their lives, but they also show a sharp drop-off of religious involvements as they move through their college years. Findings include: 73% of respondents say “their religious or spiritual beliefs helped develop their identity.” 77% say they pray. 71% say “they find religion helpful in their lives.” 58% say integrating spirituality into their lives is “very important” or “essential” (an increase of 7% since ‘00). More than 50% say their spiritual development was not encouraged by professors or discussed in the classroom. 52% “reported frequent church attendance before entering college while just 29% did so during their junior year.” (Religion Watch, 12/03)
Buster Pastors: The number of Busters (currently ages 20 to 38) who serve as senior pastors has doubled in just 2 years from 22,000 to 45,000 (nearly 14% of all 324,000 Protestant senior pastors in the U.S.). Buster pastors are more likely to use drama (32% to 21%); show movies, videos, and DVDs (30% to 21%); and tell stories (28% to 13%). They are more likely than Boomers to describe their churches as seeker-driven (45% to 33%) and theologically conservative (93% to 80%), while less likely to depict them as fundamentalist (33% to 40%). Young pastors are also more likely to say their primary ministry skill is leadership, administration, or management (18% of Buster pastors identified one of these skills, compared to 12% of Boomers and 5% of Builders). Young leaders rate themselves poorly when it comes to pastoring, shepherding, and counseling. Both Boomer and Buster pastors see themselves as particularly ineffective at fundraising and evangelism. Just 46% of Buster pastors currently have a seminary degree vs. 62% of Boomers. Young pastors are more likely to affirm children are being influenced by magazines, peers, television (including MTV), and the political domain. Boomers and Builder pastors are more likely to believe the church has significant influence in the lives of children and youth. (Barna Research 2/18/04)