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Archive for Barna Group

Barna Research has released a new study that ranks the “Bible-mindedness” of American cities. Check out the report complete with info graphic HERE.

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Barna Research has published a new report that reveals some interesting new trends that are the result of our consumption of the internet and social media. Many of their observations will feel obvious to you, but the one that is alarming is our culture’s exchange of depth for surface. In my opinion, this trend began with cable news and the continuous tickering of headlines. We became consumers of headlines versus thoughtful evaluators of stories. Headline news has been exaggerated by Twitter, for example, which instantaneously provides the latest news and information in 140 characters or less, making the full story discretionary.

What does this mean for our faith and discipleship? Trends are trends, and usually what touches culture touches our approach to faith. Our weakened discipleship has resulted in “headline” principles and keys that are more like 5 hour energy shots than good nutrition, exercise and sleep. Jesus spent three entire years with the apostles who in turn changed the world. We are fooling ourselves if we think we can get the same results with nuggets, slogans, and mottos. If you’d like to read the whole article from Barna Research, click HERE.

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There’s a lot of concern today about why the Millennial generation (1984-2002) is leaving the church, thus producing a host of theories about how to reach the generation and get them back into the fold. Barna Group has published a new research report titled 5 Reasons Millennials Stay in Church. Perhaps our concerns are best viewed through the lens of those who haven’t departed. I hope you find this helpful.

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The State of Vacation Bible School

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As long as I can remember, Vacation Bible School has been the main staple of the summer church calendar. Barna research has provided a new report on the state of VBS in American church life. You can read the report BY CLICKING HERE.

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What Americans are Reading

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Barna Research has released a new report on the reading habits of Americans. You can find the research HERE. The research takes into special consideration books that have been made into movies. It is worth noting that fiction outsells non fiction and that Bible reading remains popular across political and religious divides.

Categories : Barna Group, Books
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I came across an important article this weekend that is worth your time. Barna has released yet another study on charitable contributions in America, including comparative numbers between evangelicals and other faiths as well as other useful information. If you have interest in church finances either as a minister or a volunteer you need to check out these IMPORTANT STATISTICS.

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The first airing of The Bible on The History Channel reaped the highest non sports viewer response of 2013. Barna research has released new findings on American’s view of the Bible. Check it out HERE.

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A new report released today by Barna Research ranks America’s Most and Least Bible-minded Cities. Des Moines/Ames, Iowa rests at number 49; right in the middle of the pack. Looking at the list on the infographic provided with the report produced no real surprises. Cities in the deep south rank higher than cities in the Midwest and Northeast. Where does your city rank?

I think the report is helpful and reminds us to pray for our cities. We live in a day when we are tempted to be super impressed with the emergence of the super mega churches that boast thousands in attendance. Barna research reminds us that we still have a lot of Kingdom work to do. I don’t think we’re in danger of running out of unchurched people!

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Barna Group has released its newest research on Temptation and America’s Favorite Sins. The article is self explanatory and well worth the read.

Categories : Barna Group, Temptation
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Why Value Children’s Ministry

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Few books have impacted my thinking about ministry any more than George Barna’s book titled, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions. I recently pulled this book off the shelf to see if it would still make the same impression, and of course, it did. Check out some of the demographical information cited:

One out of every eight children under age 13 is overweight.
One out of every ten children has had sexual intercourse before their 13th birthday.
One out of every ten eighth graders smoke daily, and one out of five in that grade has tried drugs.
During a typical school year, one out of every fourteen elementary school students is threatened or injured at school with a weapon.
In a given year in America, one million children will miss at least one day of school for fear of physical violence.
One out of every eight children under age 13 has no health insurance.
Approximately 7% of children in America between the ages of 6 and 11 have been diagnosed with ADHD.
As many as 17% of children live at or below the poverty line.
One out of every three children born each year in America is born to an unwed mother.
One out of every four children lives with a single parent.
Three out of every five mothers of infants are in the American labor force.
Children between the ages of 2 and 7 consume nearly 25 hours of mass media/technology per week.
Children between the ages of 8 and 13 consume almost 48 hours of mass media/technology per week.
44% of preteens admit to not having any role models in life. For those who do, only one in three name their father or mother as their role model.

Looking at those numbers brings to mind a couple of thoughts. For one, life is extremely messy. Gone are the days when children were sheltered from “adult” problems and issues. Kids today understand the difficult realities of life and are painfully aware of life’s challenges. Second, it is harder today to be a kid today than it was for most of us yesterday. There are more problems, more complexities, and more readily available temptations. There is less structure, less supervision, and less consistency.

But while those statistics are certainly troubling, they aren’t the ones that give cause for alarm. When the same age groups were surveyed and studied, it was discovered that children under the age of 13 were statistically no different that adults regarding spirituality. In short, Barna Research concluded that by the age of 13, a child’s spiritual worldview is largely set in place.

Let me put that into a context that my generation can understand. When I was young, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (and others, for that matter) recognized the value of investing in the spiritual development of teenagers, citing that the likelihood of a person coming to faith in Christ significantly diminished after a person’s 18th birthday. Churches of all denominations responded to that information by investing their programming dollars and resources in youth programs. Youth ministers were trained and hired and provided the financial resources to perform ministry to junior and senior high students. That was then, this is now. In today’s spiritual economy, 13 is the new 18. Youth ministry is still viable and important in our congregations, but wisdom would indicate that today’s church must invest as much if not more in children’s ministry if we’re going to make a difference in future generations.

I’m turning 50 in four months. Two of my children are in college now, and the third will graduate in 2015. I must confess, however, that I have a greater sense of urgency about children’s ministry than at any time in my (nearly) 30 year career. Children’s ministry must be a priority for our churches. It can’t be just another good thing we do among the host of other good things we do. As the adage goes, “When everything is important, nothing is important.” With passion and intent we must rise to the challenge and see it as the greatest Kingdom opportunity that we have before us.

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