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MAY 2012
Evangelism news from the Mission America Coalition (U.S. Lausanne Committee)

The whole Church taking the whole gospel to the whole nation - and to the world.

MAC Newsletter On National Day of Prayer, 350-400 people gathered in Fresno to seek God for the nation.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the summer of 1990, the leaders of the U.S. Lausanne Committee met together to seek God's will and guidance for our future ministry together. As we prayed and visited with one another, we sensed the Lord asking us to spend the next year praying and seeking His guidance.

As we met together a year later, we shared several observations of what God was doing in the United States. One was that we sensed the Lord was initiating a prayer movement across the nation.

Over the years, we have seen the prayer movement expand in incredible ways. Our Lord has been calling His people to pray. As a result, literally hundreds of prayer ministries and movements have come into existence or have significantly expanded over the past 20 years... Click to read on

Affinity Consultations for Denver 2012 MAC Leadership Gathering Announced

October 29 - 31, Denver

ImageEvangelism and prayer leaders from across the country will gather in Denver in October for the Mission America Coalition's annual leadership consultation. Affinity consultations will be at the core of this gathering. A sampling of topics for these ministry-specific groups is now available online with the full list posted in registration. The groups meet to interact on the issues and ideas critical to accelerating evangelism at home and around the world.

More info

Register Now

Prison Fellowship Founder Chuck Colson Dies at Age 80

ImageChuck Colson died at the age of 80 in April after a brief illness. Colson has been a central figure in the evangelical Christian community since announcing his coming to Christ in the midst of the Watergate inquiry in 1973. Colson's personal prison experience after Watergate led to his founding Prison Fellowship in 1976, and his frequent ministry visits to prisoners prompted him to found Justice Fellowship in 1983. In 1991, he launched BreakPoint, a radio commentary giving a Christian perspective on news and trends. He started the Colson Center for Christian Worldview in 2009. Colson wrote more than 30 books and received numerous awards, including the Presidential Citizens Medal.

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PRAYER - Care - Share

National Day of Prayer Calls for Wisdom and Unity

On the National Day of Prayer this month, task force chair Shirley Dobson led the celebrations in Washington, D.C. During her remarks, Dobson said that the tradition of prayer is a "legacy handed down from our founding fathers." Over a dozen speakers, mostly evangelical Christians, religious leaders, as well as members of the judiciary, service members and diplomats, prayed for the unity of the nation in light of its economic challenges and for the government, with special emphasis given to praying for wisdom for the President.

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Concert of Prayer Bridges Denominations

ImageAs part of utilizing the 40-Day Seek God for the City prayer guide in April, Treasure the Valley sponsored a concert of prayer in Boise, Idaho, an LC2C community. Pastor Daryl Zachman of the host church, Calvary Chapel Treasure Valley, said this second annual interdenominational event drew over 50 people representing 10 churches. The group included pastors, ministry leaders, marketplace professionals who prayed over specific demographics in small groups. One participant responded, "The times of prayer were fast paced, well organized, and well executed. I will definitely put the next scheduled Concert of Prayer on my calendar."

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CRC Holds First Denominational Prayer Summit

ImageThe Christian Reformed Church held its first-ever denominational Prayer Summit hosted by the Korean Council at All Nations Church in Lakeview Terrace, Calif. in April. For three days, 900 denominational leaders, pastors, prayer leaders, intercessors, and representatives from every congregation gathered for keynote sessions, prayer seminars, and evening concerts of prayer conducted Korean style. Daily webcasts allowed additional members to participate from their churches via the internet. The CRC introduced two prayer initiatives: a call to mobilize members to pray weekly for leaders and the denominational ministries, and a call for congregations to establish an annual 24-hour day of prayer.

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Global Day of Prayer Spans 10 Days

May 17 - 27, Worldwide

The Global Day of Prayer (GDOP) is Pentecost Sunday, May 27, but it is more than a one-day event. Following the example of ten days in the upper room before the first Pentecost, the event begins May 17. GDOP has produced an organizer guide and a prayer guide can be available to download or order in booklet form. GDOP has added links on the website for each daily prayer and it encourages participants to share via social media.

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Austin Gathers for Cross-Denominational Prayer

ImageIn April, 2400 people from the Greater Austin area filled the worship center of Great Hills Baptist Church for a cross-denominational community prayer event. Rev. Jim Cymbala, Pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York, spoke from Genesis 18 and 19 about Lot's family who was saved from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah through the prayers of Abraham. Cymbala reminded the audience of the importance of interceding for unbelievers and he invited participants forward to pray. Rob Harrell, Senior Pastor at First Evangelical Free Church, said, "What we are seeing is historic. For the first time our congregations are feeling that the pastors are together."

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Prayer - CARE - Share

Target Sells Sandals Benefitting Ugandan Women and Children

ImageBuyamba Soles footwear, now sold at Target stores, benefits needy women and children in Uganda, with a portion of sales going to Uganda Buyamba, a non-profit group involved involved in building God Cares Schools and providing education and a future to many children in need. The unique beads that adorn the Buyamba Soles sandals are hand-rolled out of discarded paper by women in Uganda. The program has provided over 200 jobs, bringing 6 months of work and much-needed income for the women. Target corporation has generated $100,000 for Uganda Buyamba.

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Austin Street Ministry Serves Homeless Young Adults

ImageThe Austin Street Youth Ministry's mission is "to get to know, love, and serve street-dependent young people to reach them for Christ." The group offers support to young homeless men and women on the streets of Austin. It serves up to 80 young people every week, typically ages 17 to 25, many of whom have conflicts at home and have been abused. It also provides education for community and church groups on how to understand the homeless. One recent client said, "The best thing was that you listened to me as a person for an hour. Thank you for that gift. I treasure it."

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A Year After Tornadoes, CSM Continues Mobilizing Volunteers

ImageOne year ago, Christian Service Mission (CSM) mobilized thousands of volunteers from many churches and organizations to aid tornado victims after the devastation in the Birmingham, Ala., area. At the one-year anniversary, CSM is still at work. In the last three months, volunteers refurbished 14 homes, renovated 3 others, and built one new home. In conjunction with a remembrance event in April, CSM collaborated with the Pratt City Community and the City of Birmingham to mobilize volunteers to continue restoring Pratt City through a day of service."

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Prayer - Care - SHARE

New Evangelism Methods for Oral Learners

An April Lausanne Movement article outlines the issues of "orality" - communicating stories and ideas orally from one person to another. The article says that for the 70% of the world that cannot read, appropriate methods of evangelism are needed for telling the story of the Bible orally. The subject of orality will be addressed in the Affinity Consultations at Mission America Coalition's Leadership Consultation in Denver in October.

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Palau Reaches Thousands, Makes Historical Visit to Congress

World evangelist Luis Palau and son Andrew joined hundreds of churches to host an evangelistic campaign in two Paraguayan cities in late April. Palau told the crowds of 70,000 on Friday evening, and 80,000 on Saturday, that he hoped to inspire young people under the age of 25, a group comprising more than half the audience. Early reports indicate that more than 12,000 committed their lives to Jesus Christ. During the visit, Palau and his team visited the Paraguayan National Congress at the invitation of Jorge Oviedo Matto, president of the Congress. The visit marked the first time any public figure was allowed to speak while Congress was in session.

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New Book Rebutts Atheist 'Reason Rally'

ImageA new book, True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism, has been published in response to the "Reason Rally", a gathering of atheists held on the National Mall in Washington D.C. in March. The goal of the rally was to demonstrate that reason is displacing religion in society. The new book, written by Tom Gilson and Carson Weitnauer, is a rebuttal to atheist claims and asserts that Christianity is built on a foundation of evidence and thought, citing examples of great Christian thinkers in history. The book was compiled in 77 days by drawing on the expertise of the Christian Apologetics Alliance, a Mission America Coalition partner network, and commissioned writers.

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EvanTell Celebrates 39 Years of Evangelism Training

ImageThrough evangelistic events and training seminars, EvanTell has empowered more than 450,000 believers across six continents to share the message of Jesus Christ, which has resulted in more than 26 million presentations of the gospel. The group celebrated its 39th anniversary in April. It has built strategic partnerships with other missions organizations and has 15 international training hubs around the world. In April, CEO Dr. Larry R. Moyer announced plans to increase language resources - currently, outreach tools are in 56 languages and training materials are in 25 languages.

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Linking Leaders

City-Wide Prayer Movements, Topic for May Teleconference

May 17, 10 AM CDT

This month's Mission America Coalition City/Community transformation monthly conference call will feature Thomas Bush and Gail Dudley sharing exciting updates on how God is using City-wide Prayer Movements to birth and build city-wide and county-wide PRAYER-Care-Share movements. To join the 10 a.m. CDT call, dial (712) 432-0075 and use code 9310472. Details on the May 17 conference call and guests along with previous conference calls can be found at

Atlanta 4/14 Window Conference Leads to Korean - Hispanic Cooperation

ImageThe Latin American Regional 4/14 Window Conference, hosted by Korean Community Presbyterian Church of Atlanta in April, resulted in the formation of a new Korean 4/14 Window Alliance. More than 400 people, including Latin American and Korean leaders, and Korean missionaries to Latin America, and others representing 24 countries, attended the conference. The resulting alliance will connect Korean pastors and leaders throughout the US for strategic collaboration with Latin Americans in their efforts to raise up a new generation from the 4/14 Window to transform the world.

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Movements and Cities Unite in Reaching Diaspora

The Southeast Regional City Impact Roundtable held in conjunction with the Ethnic America Network (EAN) Summit in April focused on reaching and researching the diaspora in U.S. and global cities for more effective and intentional evangelism. The Mission America Coalition, the EAN, a growing collaboration of ministry and church partners, and 10 communities nationwide are actively moving forward with this focus. They have established specific long-range cityreaching goals spanning the decade. Videos of the sessions are available on the MAC Cityreaching website.

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PEN to Host Evangelism Training

June 26-29, Bangor, Maine

The Proclamation Evangelism Network (PEN) will host a regional E-School for evangelism training June 26-29 in Bangor, Maine. How-to sessions will cover starting an evangelistic ministry, preparing an evangelistic message, planning an evangelistic event, financing a ministry, and more.

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Urbana 12 Conference Urges Young People to Global Missions

December 27-31, St. Louis

Since InterVarsity started the Urbana Student Missions Conference in 1946, it has influenced more than 250,000 people to devote their life to God's global mission. The mission of Urbana 12 is to compel this generation to give its whole life for God's global mission. Participants have opportunity to speak with hundreds of missions organizations, attend seminars and tracks, study the Bible inductively with other students, and are challenged by missions leaders.

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Tools for Accelerating Evangelism

New Approach to Training Pastors

In a Lausanne Movement article, Mark Snowden examines modern congregational oral learning styles in comparison with traditional training given to pastors in literacy-based programs. Snowden addresses a technique called Bible Storying and explores methods for teaching to build disciples.

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Launch a Community Evangelism Plan

The Go! Project has added a video training series and accompanying printable guides on its website. The Go! Project is an initiative among churches in Gurnee, Ill. to saturate the community with the Gospel to provide community members opportunities to respond to God. These materials can be a resource for other communities to adapt to launch similar projects, including prayer walks in their community.

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Online Resources for Evangelism, Discipleship, and Ministry

Global Media Outreach is a global ministry presenting the good news of Jesus Christ online 24/7. Its goal is equip Christians with tools to share Jesus and help believers grow in their faith worldwide. Global Media Outreach has many resource sites for evangelism, discipleship, and ministry.

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Book Addresses Global Mission Issues in the Third Millennium

In MissionSHIFT: Mission Issues in the Third Millennium, David Hesselgrave and Ed Stetzer edit a compilation of conversational essays from Charles E. Van Engen, Paul Hiebert, and Ralph Winter addressing global mission issues in the third millennium followed by editorial responses from contributing experts on each essay.

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Training to Equip Leaders for Stronger Relationships

Train the Trainer, a 2-day event sponsored by Walk Through the Bible for pastors, ministry professionals, and business leaders seeks to equip them to improve relationships in every area of life and learn how to maximize strengths, motivate, and encourage others based on their unique personalities.

More info


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the summer of 1990, the leaders of the U.S. Lausanne Committee met together to seek God's will and guidance for our future ministry together. As we prayed and visited with one another, we sensed the Lord asking us to spend the next year praying and seeking His guidance.

As we met together a year later, we shared several observations of what God was doing in the United States. One was that we sensed the Lord was initiating a prayer movement across the nation.

Over the years, we have seen the prayer movement expand in incredible ways. Our Lord has been calling His people to pray. As a result, literally hundreds of prayer ministries and movements have come into existence or have significantly expanded over the past 20 years.

This month of May is a wonderful expression of the significance of a number of prayer ministries. For example, The National Day of Prayer took place on Thursday, May 3, in tens of thousands of locations across America.

During this week, thousands of prayer leaders from around the world are gathering in Indonesia for an International Prayer Assembly. The gathering will conclude with some 100,000 Christians gathering for a prayer service in a large stadium.

Finally, on Pentecost Sunday, May 27, hundreds of thousands of Christians will gather in stadiums and other meeting places around the world for the Global Day of Prayer. This is a movement that began in Africa and has spread to scores of nations including the United States.

We rejoice and give God thanks for these prayer ministries and so many others. Without a doubt, God is calling His people to pray. It is within this context that we invite you to join us in the prayer-care-share lifestyle. Let us begin by praying regularly for as many people as we can to come to personal faith in our Lord Jesus Christ! As we are praying, our Lord is answering.

Prayerfully and expectantly,

Paul Cedar


Evangelism Research and Cultural Trends

Movie "October Baby" Gains Popularity
OCTOBER BABY earned a 91 percent positive rating from audiences on the Rotten Tomatoes movie review site, the second-highest audience score of the top 20 films currently showing. The film has earned nearly $4 million at the box office. The film tells the story of a young woman who discovers she's adopted and the survivor of an attempted abortion. []

Survey of Prison Chaplains Finds Religion Critical to Rehabilitation
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, state prison chaplains consider religious counseling and other religion-based programming an important aspect of rehabilitating prisoners. Nearly three-quarters of the chaplains say they consider access to religion-related programs in prison to be "absolutely critical" to successful rehabilitation of inmates. Among chaplains working in prisons that have religion-related rehabilitation or re-entry programs, more than half say the quality of such programs has improved over the last three years and inmate participation has increased. []

Study Reveals How Americans Feel the Christian Faith Impacts Society
A 2012 study reveals that most Americans believe the Christian faith has a positive impact on society when it comes to the less fortunate being helped and children being raised with good morals. However, Americans are about as likely to feel the Christian faith has a negative impact as a positive one in the areas of racism, how the U.S. is viewed by other countries, how people view others with different beliefs and perspectives, and others. []

Study Explores Why Some Believe, Some Don't
A new study from the University of British Columbia in Canada shows that one reason some people are less inclined to believe in God is that they choose to think analytically rather than depend on their gut feeling. The research found that religious belief is a result of intuitive thinking, which can be undermined by analytical thinking. []

Equal with the Bible?
46% of Americans believe the Bible, the Quran and the Book of Mormon are different expressions of the same spiritual truths. An equal number disagree, according to a Barna Group study on behalf of the American Bible Society. 47% believe the Bible has too little influence in society today while 16% believe it has too much influence, with 37% expressing neutral opinions. 55% claim to read the Bible to be closer to God, but that's down 9% from just a year ago. And although 79% believe they are knowledgeable about the Bible, 54% were unable to correctly identify the first 5 books of the Bible. 62% of adults 66 and older believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know about living a meaningful life. This compares with 54% in the 47-65 group, 44% among 28-46, and 34% of 18-27. 85% of U.S. households own a Bible, averaging 4.3 per household. 36% read the Bible less than once a year or never while 33% read it once a week or more. (Charisma News 4/17/12)

Revival in Iran
Despite the Iranian government's ongoing crackdown of Christians living in the primarily Islamic country, the number of Muslims converting to become Christians is growing at an explosive rate, according to Open Doors USA. Open Doors estimates there are 370,000 converted Muslims in Iran today vs. just 200 40 years ago. A house church movement within Iran is part of that revival and has triggered "many secret meetings." Although conversions are happening in all regions, most are taking place in larger cities. Iran is ranked 5th on the Open Doors 2012 World Watch List of the top 50 worst persecutors of Christians. Open Doors suggests the growth of Christianity is much the result of Iranians getting to know the real face of Islam, the official religion of Iran, and the mistrust of the people toward the government and leaders following the fraudulent 2009 presidential election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Also Iranians are very outgoing and want to speak about their faith. This is why discipleship training (with elements of outreach and communications) for Iranian believers is successful. (Christian Post 3/23/12)

Regular Bible Reader Stats
A recent LifeWay Research study finds 37% of regular Bible readers read their Bible nearly every day and typically use one primary version of the Bible. 22% read their Bible 3 to 5 times a week, 22% read it 1 or 2 times a week, 11% do so 2-3 times a month, and 8% about once a month. 75% also read along with others each month as Scripture is read in church worship services, 49% read it as part of Christian education or Sunday school classes at a church, and 42% do so as part of a small group Bible study or prayer group. On average, U.S. Bible readers personally own 3.6 copies. 84% have more than one Bible. 74% have one primary Bible they use most of the time while the other 26% tend to use different Bibles for different situations. 80% of regular Bible readers stick with one translation all or most of the time and only 20% use a variety. The higher the reader's education and household income, the less likely they are to use one primary Bible most of the time. 75% of regular Bible readers personally chose the version they use most, 19% had it selected for them, and 6% don't recall. 90% are satisfied with the version they use most for personal reading. Regular Bible readers are also often involved in other religious activities. (Charisma News 3/16/12)

One Way
77% of U.S. Protestant pastors strongly disagree with the statement, "If a person is sincerely seeking God, he/she can obtain eternity through religions other than Christianity." 7% somewhat disagree, 7% somewhat agree, 5% strongly agree, and 3% aren't sure. LifeWay Research finds Protestant parishioners weren't as unanimous. Just 48% strongly disagree, 9% disagree somewhat, 13% some-what agree, 13% strongly agree, and 16% aren't sure. Large city pastors are more likely to believe other religions lead to eternity than their counterparts in other settings. Evangelical pastors (2%) are less universalistic than mainline pastors (11%). Pastors with a graduate degree are more likely to strongly agree (7% to 3%) and less likely to strongly disagree (70% to 90%) than those with a bachelor's degree. (Facts and Trends, Spring 2012)

U.S. Church Membership Decline
The Southern Baptist Convention reports a decline in membership of 0.15% to 16,136,044 members last year, the 4th consecutive year of decline. At the same time, the Catholic Church had a membership decline of 0.44% and American Baptist Churches in the U.S. dropped 0.19%.The Assemblies of God grew 3.99% as did the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (up 1.62%) and the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., (up 3.95%). Other churches that posted membership gains are Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh-day Adventist Church. However, total membership in the top 25 churches was down 1.15%. (2012 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches)

Givers Are a Minority
Just 39% of members in most churches contribute financially. (Mega-Church Myths, Scott Thumma, Jossey Bass, 2007)

102,000 Fewer People
are occupying Churches of Christ pews since 2003, according to a new 21st Christian study. This is a 6.2% decline. Also, the denomination's total number of churches is now 12,447, down 708 or 5.4% from 9 years ago. (Christian Chronicle 2/12)

Religion Can Influence Suicide Rates
This finding is based on data from Prussia in the 1800s when the country was divided into Catholic and Protestant regions and local authorities kept good records on the causes of death. At the time, the vast majority of Prussians adhered to the predominant religion in their region. Suicide rates in the Protestant regions were 3 times higher than in the Catholic regions. Their study concludes Protestantism itself increases suicide rates compared to Catholicism. Their study cannot answer why this is the case, but they offer three hypotheses: 1) Protestants are more individualistic, or place greater emphasis upon individual autonomy, whereas Catholics are more communitarian, or place greater emphasis upon church communities. 2) Catholic teachings on suicide are stricter and those teachings become internalized among Catholics. 3) Protestants do not recognize the sacrament of confession. Since suicide is the only sin that could never be confessed to a priest, a Catholic who finds confession important to avoiding Hell may be less inclined to commit suicide. (World 3/27/12)

State of the Plate
Churches suffered from plummeting donations after the recession began in 2008. But in the past year, a majority of congregations experienced giving increases because of a better economy, higher attendance, and more church teaching on giving, according to the 4th annual State of the Plate survey. Trends in 2011 included higher budgets, which brought more church spending on salaries, missions, facilities, and benevolence. Trends also included greater attention to fiscal transparency and board governance and a rise in electronic giving via cell phone apps and automatic bank withdrawals. 51% of churches saw giving increase in 2011 vs. 43% in 2010 and 36% in 2009. A collaborative research project by MAXIMUM Generosity, Christianity Today, and ECFA found giving increases were greatest among larger and heartland churches. Among churches that saw giving increases, 50% attributed it to higher attendance. 42% credited financial/generosity teaching initiatives. As a result, churches are allocating the extra funds to staff pay raises (40.3%), missions (36.5%), church buildings (35.3%), and benevolence (31.1%). (State of the Plate Survey, Brian Kluth, 3/27/12)

Pregnancy Discrimination
Disdain for pregnant women in the workplace is at a record high in the U.S. Pregnancy discrimination cases are on the rise. In the past 10 years, the EEOC has resolved pregnancy discrimination cases totaling $150.5 million in damages for over 52,000 women. (LifeSite News 4/16/12)

Most & Least Religious States
59% of Mississippians are very religious and 11% nonreligious, while 23% of Vermonters are very religious and 58% are nonreligious. New Hampshire ties Vermont with 23% classified as very religious and slightly fewer (52%) nonreligious. Rounding out the 10 most religious states are Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and Utah. By contrast, the 10 least religious states are Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, District of Columbia and New York. (Church Report 3/29/12)

American's View of China
Americans continue to believe in overwhelming numbers that China is an economic threat to the U.S. 25% still regard the Asian giant as an enemy of America, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. Just 9% of American adults view China as a U.S. ally. 25% view China as an enemy, while 64% rate it somewhere in between. (Rasmussen Reports 3/20/12)

Future of the Internet
A new Pew Research survey about the future of the Internet finds many young people are growing up hyper-connected to each other and the mobile Web. They are counting on the Internet as their external brain to be nimble, making them quick-acting multitaskers who will do well in key respects. Many analysts argue it is a myth that Millennials have a special aptitude for digital media because they've grown up digital. Good research has shown that even especially bright kids are less productive when multitasking, a finding resisted by plenty of grown-ups as well. The immersive nature of 24/7 connectedness creates the illusion that Millennials can somehow tap into a form of collective intelligence just by being online while looking impatiently for messages every 3 minutes. (Center for Media Research Brief 3/14/12)

Going Cashless
43% of American adults have gone through a full week without paying for anything with cash or coins, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey. Only slightly more (47%) have not done so. (Rasmussen Reports 4/11/12)

could rise as high as 15% by late next year or early 2014, says the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) if the Federal Reserve is unable to drain more than 25% of the reserves in the banking system. The threat is being driven by the unprecedented amount of money the Federal Reserve pumped into the economy to combat the recent recession. To combat inflation, the Fed now has to drain substantial excess reserves from the banking system, which may not be possible. (One News Now 3/24/12)

Population Growth Stalled
The sluggish economy has put the brakes on population growth in the U.S., according to recent government reports. Since 2009, the population increased by only 0.7% a year, the lowest increase since the Great Depression. The drop is due to fewer births and decreased immigration. People are also delaying having children because of the poor economy. "It's an indicator of an unhealthy economy," said Carl Haub, demographer for the Population Reference Bureau. (Charisma News 3/22/12)

Grads Not Ready
A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds only 21% of American adults think most of those graduating high school have the skills needed for college. 64% disagree and say graduates don't have the necessary skills for college. 16% are not sure. However, Americans tend to believe students who are home-schooled learn more than those in the public schools. (Rasmussen Reports 3/27/12)

Low Cost-Reader
The government of India, in October 2011, announced the launch of the Aakash tablet, which will be sold to students for $35 and the public for $60, a fraction of the cost of the iPad and other devices. The goal: to give students a way to read books and other items digitally, as well as to be connected to the larger world. (Pentecostal Evangel 4/12)

No Deduction Gift
Nearly 2 in 3 Americans believe removing the charitable gift tax deduction would decrease giving to non-profit organizations, according to a new Gray Matter Research survey. 30% feel there would be no change while 6% think giving would rise. (ECFA Church Tax, Legal and Financial Updates 3/27/12)

Digital Natives
(consumers in their 20s) switch media venues about 27 times per nonworking hour -- the equivalent of more than 13 times during a standard half-hour TV show according to a recent Time Inc study by Innerscope Research. In contrast, digital immigrants (consumers who grew up with TV, radio and print and adapted to new technologies) switched media venues just 17 times per nonworking hour. Put another way, natives switch about 35% more than immigrants. (Advertising Age 4/9/12)

Parents Prefer Print Books
Two-thirds of U.S. parents indicate they would prefer to have their children reading print books than e-books. (Adweek 3/26/12)

Social Networkers
There are now 146 million "Social Networkers" in the U.S. -- adults age 18 and older who have used a social networking site at least once in the last month. 36% use it to stay in touch, 25% for entertainment, 20% for information, 15% for self expression and 4% for dating. (Center for Media Research Brief 4/16/12)

Texting Teens
63% of U.S. teens were text-messaging daily as of 7/11, up from 54% in 9/09. The volume of texting has also grown from 50 messages a day to 60 for the typical teen. Much of that increase is among older teens (14-17) ramping up from a median of 60 texts in 2009 to 100 last year. The daily exchange of texts among almost two-thirds of teens far surpasses other types of daily communication, including calling by cell phone (39%), face-to-face socializing outside of school (35%), social network messaging (29%), instant messaging (22%), talking via landline (19%), and emailing (6%). (Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project 3/12)

Connected Kids
An estimated 15% of children under 11 own a mobile phone, and that number is expected to grow to 22% by 2015. (Adweek 3/26/12)

Deeper Digital Divide
When Gen-Yers communicate, they are likely to do it through text or video, not voice. They think e-mail is slow and dumb. They don't sit and watch TV; they snack on video as they are doing other things. Many of them don't have landlines or watch normal TV. (Marketing Daily 4/18/12)

Most Music Free
Only 42% of music that is consumed every year is paid for today; 58% is acquired free. As a result, the Christian music industry is about half the size it was 10 years ago. (Christian Retailing 4/12)

Too Much Information
In an effort to thoroughly vet job applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond reviewing a person's social networking profile by asking to log in as the user to get a look at their personal profile page. Questions have been raised about the legality of the practice, which is also the focus of proposed legislation in IL and MD that would forbid public agencies from asking for access to social networks. In response, many Facebook users have their profiles set to private, making them available only to selected people or certain networks. Some employers also now require workers to sign non-disparagement agreements. (AP, USA Today 3/20/12)

People and Transitions:
  • Painter of Light" Thomas Kinkade, 54, died 4/6/12 of natural causes at his home near San Francisco.
  • Christian singer Jason Crabb won artist and male vocalist of the year awards at the 43rd annual Dove Awards. (Church Report 4/21/12)
  • Natalie Grant was named female artist of the year and Laura Story won song of the year with 'Blessings. (Church Report 4/21/12)

Pastor Impact A new Barna Group study examined how pastors of Protestant churches plan to improve the strategic, operational, and administrative aspects of their ministries. Pastors are most interested in getting clarity about their organization's vision and mission. 59% are "definitely" going to assess their church's vision and mission in the next year. 38% also plan to assess their church's reputation in the community and 31% plan to measure the demographic and spiritual needs of their community. With regard to ministry capacity, 25% of pastors intend to focus on safety and security issues while another 25% will revamp the budgeting and spending process. 22% will invest in facilities and equipment for children, 19% in audio and visual equipment, 18% in facilities and equipment for youth and teens, and 18% in technology and digital media. Although 72% rely on at least one outside consultant each year, getting such assistance for fundraising and staffing were generally perceived to be rare needs. Just 6% will definitely "work with an organization to help increase giving" and only 2% will "hire a search firm to help them hire the right person." (Barna Update 2/27/12)

World's Largest Congregation There are big churches, and then there's the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea. Started with 5 people in 1958, it puts the "mega" in megachurch with a membership of 800,000. On a typical day 200,000 will attend 1 of 7 services along with another 200,000 to 300,000 watching on TV in adjoining buildings or satellite branches. The main sanctuary holds 21,000 people. Each service has its own orchestra, choir, and pastor and there are hundreds of assistants. Each service is translated into 16 different languages. The church has missionaries in 67 different countries. At 4:30 each morning people come to church to pray for 1–2 hours and all night on Fridays. Most members tithe 10% of their income to the church. 60 years ago, there were about 50,000 Christians in South Korea vs. more than 10 million today. Almost 1 in 10 was baptized in the Yoido Full Gospel Church. (Religion & Ethics Newsweekly 1/27/12)

Church Foreclosures, something extremely rare in America for decades, represents a new wave of distressed property seizures triggered by the 2008 financial crash. Since 2010, 270 churches have been sold after defaulting on their loans, with 90% of those sales coming after a lender-triggered foreclosure. In 2008, 24 religious foreclosure sales occurred. In 2011, a record 138 churches were sold by banks and trends show no sign religious foreclosures are abating. All denominations have been affected, but small to medium size churches have been hit the worst. Most have been purchased by other churches. (Church Report 3/9/12)

Parents Resist iPads According to an iYogi Insights survey, 67% of parents are not willing to buy their kids an iPad. 67% of these parents would rather buy a more traditional computing device (desktop, laptop, or net book), and 27% preferred to buy an e-reader. Of parental concerns: 50% say owning an iPad would keep their kids from enjoying the outdoors and 34% worried the devices would keep them from making more friends. (Marketing Daily 2/29/12)

Marriage is Best Though polygamy has existed throughout history and is still accepted in some pockets of the world, a team of authors working in the fields of anthropology, economics, and psychology write that it doesn't benefit children, women, individuals, or cultures the way married monogamous relationships do. (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society)

Un-enduring Relationships Among unmarried couples living together in the U.S., such relationships are more than twice as likely to dissolve as marriages. Likewise, two-thirds of couples living together separated by the time their child turns 10. (NY Times 2/17/12)

Divorce Effect Comparing long-term studies worldwide, Marriage and Religion Research Institute's Patrick reports among U.S. children, 47% do not reach the age of 17 without a family split. Divorce can decrease the ability of a child to function well in five areas of society; family, school, church, marketplace, and government. In contrast, children who have an intact married family are less likely to: Think their father is not warm and loving; get in a fight with a family member; lie, steal or damage school property; hurt someone, get drunk or skip school; have sex before age 14 and have an unwed pregnancy; and have a 2.9 grade point average or higher. (Baptist Press 3/2/12)

Coming Generational Change Today 41% of births in the U.S. are outside marriage and 53% for children born to women under 30, according to 2009 National Center for Health Statistics. 73% of black children are born outside marriage, compared with 53% of Latinos and 29% of whites. Educational differences are growing as well. 92% of college-educated women are married when they give birth vs. 62% of women with some post-secondary schooling and 43% of women with a high school diploma or less. Among mothers of all ages, 59% are married when they have children. But the surge of births outside marriage among younger women (nearly two-thirds of children in the U.S. are born to mothers under 30) is both a symbol of the transforming family and a hint of coming generational change. (NY Times 2/17/12)

Teens View on Christ's Return 49% of Christian teens don't believe Jesus will return within their lifetimes. 13% refuse to even venture an opinion on the subject. Non-denominational youth are most likely to say they expect Jesus to return in their lifetimes (54%). 64% of Catholic students are convinced Christ will not return in their lifetimes. Among Christian students who are skeptical of the Bible's trust-worthiness, 77% reject the idea that Christ will return before they die. (The Jesus Survey, Mike Nappa, Baker Books 2013)

Do Christian Teens Read the Bible? 73% of Christian teens indicate they value daily Bible study as a part of the Christian life. Of these, 31% "strongly agree" with this view. Yet, nearly all Christian teens fail to open their Bibles outside church. A meager 5% study it on a daily basis. More than 1 in 4 Christian students in a church youth group actually reject the idea that Christians have an obligation to study the Bible daily. Belief in the trustworthiness of Scripture has enormous impact on whether or not Christian students place value on studying the Bible daily. Among the overall U.S. youth group population, only 31% believe daily Bible study is very important, although among teens who believe the Bible is trustworthy, that number more than doubles to 63%. (The Jesus Survey, Mike Nappa, Baker Books 2003)

Why Teens Leave the Faith A 2007 LifeWay Research study found that 70% of young adults who attended church in high school subsequently stopped attending church for at least a year during their college years. Only 20 percent of those who left the church had planned on doing so while in high school. Surveys by Barna and Gallup have found similar dropout rates, leaving youth and teens experts wondering: What can be done? A new longitudinal study of 500 youth group graduates may provide some answers. Conducted by the Fuller Youth Institute at Fuller Theological Seminary, the study followed the graduates through their years in college or vocational school. The results are compiled in a book, "Sticky Faith: Everyday ideas to build lasting faith in your kids" (Zondervan). Their view of the gospel matters, as well as their connection to the church body, but one result that might surprise some church leaders is that teens who feel the freedom to express doubts about their faith tend to keep their faith. (Baptist Press, 2/20/12)

Religion & Wellbeing Americans who are very religious have a higher wellbeing rating than those who are moderately so or not at all religious, finds a new Gallup poll. "Very religious" respondents earned a wellbeing index of 69.2, compared to 63.7 for the "moderately religious" and 65.3 for the "not religious." Overall, 41% of those questioned said they were "very religious," 28.3% self-described as "moderately religious," and 30.7% were "non-religious." (Church Report 2/17/12)

Losing Ability to Think? There is a good chance young people growing up in today's always-wired world will eventually become bright, nimble decision makers—if they don't wind up intellectual lightweights unable to concentrate long enough to chew over a good book, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of technology researchers. 55% agreed that in 2020 the brains of young people would be "wired" differently from those over 35, with good results for finding answers quickly and without shortcomings in their mental processes. But 42% were pessimistic, agreeing that in 2020 young technology users would be easily distracted, would lack deep thinking skills, and would thirst only for instant gratification. (Reuters 2/29/12)

Advertising's Influences Children 6-month-old babies can visualize corporate logos and mascots, according to the Center for a New American Dream. Brand loyalty begins as early as age 2. The average 3-year-old recognizes 100 different brand logos. Toddlers cannot distinguish a commercial from a TV show. The same is true for stories and puzzles vs. an advertisement. It isn't until age 8 that kids begin to realize advertising can be untruthful or misleading. In 2008, $15 billion was spent on advertising to kids in the U.S. A third of young children have a TV in their bedroom, as do 66% of pre-teens and teens. 40% of 3-month-olds and 90% of kids 2 and younger regularly watch TV, DVDs, or videos.National advertisers claim children under 3 represent a $20 billion market. (Focus on the Family–Parenting 3/2/12)

Age of Independence 67% of parents believe children should become financially independent by 22, while 31% say it need not occur until 25 or later, according to a Pew survey. In 1993, 80% of parents said children should be independent by 22. (Church Report 2/9/12)

Best Financial Advice Source More Americans are willing to take advice from Donald Trump (50%), a man whose companies have filed for bankruptcy at least 4 times, than from the Bible (32%), the bestselling book of all time, finds a study by Harris Interactive for the American Bible Society. Yet the Bible has more than 2,000 verses that relate to money. 1 in 10 Americans 18–34 would be most inclined to take financial advice from Kim Kardashian. 86% do not follow what the Bible says about money management. 24% who do not follow what the Bible says about money think they would have more money if they followed its advice. (Church Report 3/6/12)

Facebook Facts Strategic Services research finds Facebook captures 1 in every 11 Internet visits in the U.S. as well as 1 in every 5 page views. The average visit time on Facebook is 20 minutes. Its audience skews slightly more female than the online population as a whole. There is a remarkably even age-range spread among users. Facebook is the most searched term in the U.S., and Facebook-related terms account for 14% of the top search clicks. 96% of visitors to the social site were returning visitors in January 2012. Facebook ranks in the top 2 websites in every market except China, where Sina Weibo, Baidu Zhidao, and Renren are the dominant social networks. (Center for Media Research Brief 2/27/12)

Counting on Uncle Sam The share of Americans' income that comes from government benefit programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security more than doubled over the last 4 decades, rising from 8% in '69 to 18% in '09. (NY Times 2/11/12)

Tattoo-mania Currently 21% of U.S. adults have at least 1 tattoo, up from the 16% and 14% in 2003 and 2008. 31% of adults in the western states have at least 1 compared to 21% in the East, 21% in the Midwest, and 18% in the South. 38% 30–39s have a tattoo compared to 30% of 25–29s, 22% of 18–24s, 27% of 40–49s, 11% 50–64s and just 5% of those 65 and older. For the first time, women are slightly more likely than men to have a tattoo (23% vs. 19%). Among those with a tattoo, 86% have never regretted getting one and 30% say it makes them feel more sexy, 25% more rebellious, 21% more attractive or strong, 16% more spiritual, 9% more healthy, 8% more intelligent, and 5% more athletic. However, among those without tattoos, 45% say people with tattoos are less attractive or 39% less sexy, 27% less intelligent, 25% less healthy, and 25% less spiritual. (Harris Interactive 2/23/12)

Fast Facts:
  • 86% of Americans who are active in religious groups are cell phone users vs. 80% of those who are not active.
  • 75% of Americans who are active in religious groups are e-mail users vs. 68% of those who are not active.
  • 75% of church members read the Bible electronically (PC, laptop, smart phone, iPad, e-reader, etc.)
  • 92% of U.S. churches make their financial statements available upon request to their members.
  • 89% of U.S. churches provide copies of their annual budget to their congregation or make them available upon request.
  • 86% of U.S. church boards are made up of 5 or more people, with at least 3 of those people not a pastor or staff member, or related to either.
  • Millennials are the least religious generation in American history, according to researcher Thom Rainer.
  • Between 1968 and 2006, giving received for the church budget decreased from 2.45% to just over 2.17%.
  • Giving in the U.S. for external benevolence causes dropped from 0.66% to just over 0.37%.
  • 82 million U.S. adults regularly attend church.
  • It is estimated religious lobbyists or religion-related advocacy organizations in Washington D.C. spend $390 million annually trying to influence national public policy.
  • 79% of Americans who are active in religious groups are Internet users vs. 74% of those not involved.
  • Amazon now has about 65% of the e-book market, while Barnes & Noble has 20% and Apple 10%.
  • 1 in 3 new tablet owners are Millennial women.
  • 35% of adult Millennials own a tablet.
  • Nearly half of all male Gen-Yers own a tablet -- more than any other gender/generation cohort.
  • Over 80% of employees are more likely to trust a firm where CEOs communicate through social channels.
  • 71% of Millennials share opinions online because they feel other consumers value those opinions.
  • 51% of Millennials want to start a business in the next 5 years.
  • 33% of U.S. consumers expect to eat more healthful snacks in the coming year.
  • American businesses spent $171 billion on advertising in 2010.
  • The American love for pets triggered a 40% increase in chain pet store numbers between 2005 and 2010.
  • 54% of U.S. Hispanics say the economy has hurt Latinos more than other groups.
  • 29% of U.S. Hispanics are under water on their mortgage.

News and Trends information compiled and edited by Gary Foster, President of Gary D Foster Consulting, a firm that assists Christian ministries and product companies in solving management, marketing, donor/customer service and product development problems. Contact Gary at: 419.238.4082, or go to


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