Blog Worthy Christian News

Well, at least I think these items are!

The overall marriage rate is in decline- except within the gay community. How ironic is that? At a time when heterosexuals are devaluing marriage and choosing to simply live together, the homosexual community is aggressively crusading for marriage rights and flocking to the states that now allow it.

The Southern Baptists have been padding their numbers. According to the recent issue of Christianity Today, their claim of a 16.2 membership is greatly inflated. In terms of adherents acutally regularly worshipping in SBC churches the number comes in at 6.15 million. And I thought the Churches of Christ had a problem with this! 😉

For all of you baseball fans out there, Brad Ziegler just broke a 101 year old major league baseball record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched to begin a major league career. Brad is a member of the Church of Christ from Odessa, MO where his dad is the preacher. The Christian Chronicle has all the details online.

We expected they’d choose the more contemporary options, but they were clearly more drawn to the aesthetics of the Gothic building than the run-of-the-mill, modern church building. Ed Stetzer, who is director of LifeWay Research made this statement based upon their research which found that unchurched people between ages 25 and 34 were twice as likely as older folks to prefer the more ornate, Gothic type church exteriors. I include this because it is just more evidence of the trend among younger people away from the modern mega-church to the more orthodox churches. (For more on this- see this blogpost.)

It is the economy, stupid! Or is it? According to at least one study released by a group called Giving USA charitable giving rose by 1 percent in 2007. But the Salvation Army is saying otherwise. Used clothing and furniture donations to them have dropped 20%. Some churches of my acquantence are feeling the pinch. Others seem to be doing well. What does all this mean? I really don’t have an answer. 🙂

Do you remember the poem, Footprints in the Sand? Do you remember who wrote it? Probably not, but several folks are now in a very heated court battle to try to determine authorship. I wonder if any of the parties involved ever followed the footprints to Paul’s teachings about lawsuits and personal sacrifice in 1st Corinthians?

And finally- from the “Go Figure” section of Christianity Today: There is a total of 21% of self-described “atheists” who say that they believe in God. Interesting.

Thanks for stopping in. Your input- as always- is welcome.

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11 Responses to Blog Worthy Christian News

  1. Bobby Ross says:

    Interesting post, Danny.

    On the question of membership inflation, I think we in Churches of Christ actually do a pretty good job. Typically, our membership figure and our actual Sunday morning attendance (overall) will be pretty close to 100 percent. That means that by the time you account for members absent or out of town on a particular Sunday, the number of visitors and unbaptized members usually equal the membership total. Maybe that makes sense, but I haven’t come across much padding of numbers. But maybe I’m not looking in the right places!

    Here is a bit of information from Flavil Yeakley with Harding’s Center for Church Growth:

    I think that Tom Ascol was right about the Baptist numbers being inflated. When you compare the number of adherents they report with the average attendance that they report, their numbers do not look very good.

    In the reference book prepared by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, Religious Congregations and Membership in the United States 2000, page 4, the Southern Baptist Convention gives the following report:
    41,514 Congregations
    15,922,039 members
    19,881,407 adherents
    5,535,881 attendees

    Attendance includes children not yet old enough to be baptized, visitors, and non-members who attend regularly.
    That is why the “adherent” statistic is calculated based on the reported number of members.

    The county-level data reported in the ASARB study often indicates that the Baptist have the largest number of adherents. There are, however, counties where the Churches of Christ have the largest attendance even though the Baptist claim the largest number of members and adherents.

    Figures on the Churches of Christ in that 2000 ASARB study are:
    13,027 congregations
    1,264,808 members
    1,645,584 adherents
    1,256,845 attendees

    The attendance average for the Southern Baptist Convention was only 27.8 percent of adherents. For Churches of Christ, the attendance average was 76.4 percent of adherents.

    (end of Yeakley information)

    Some more information from another “expert” who may or may not want his name used:

    “If I understand correctly, the methodology that Baptists use in recording their statistics is similar in some ways to how Catholic figures are recorded. A person is counted “in” upon either birth or baptism/christening, but they are not counted as “out” until the recording congregation or diocese finds that the person has passed away. This can lead to inflated figures, as many may still be “on the roll” long after they have become deceased. The significant difference between their adherent figures and their worship attendance seems to support that.

    “Many years ago, while serving as minister for a Church of Christ in Missisippi, my father once participated in a survey for the local Baptist church, as they were asking for volunteers to go around much like US Census representatives do. He told me that he asked them the question, “What determines whether or not they are a member?” The answer he received was, “If they attend twice each year, they are a member.” That was 40+ years ago. I don’t think they even have that requirement now.”

    (end of anonymous)

    Anyway, you said wanted input. You’ll regret that after my long comment! 🙂

    — Bobby

  2. dannydodd says:

    No regrets here Bobby!

    Thanks for the additional and clarifying info. I am glad to hear the news about the CoC.

  3. Donna says:

    what a plethora of information you are today!

    In every economy there are those who prosper even as most struggle. Maybe contributions are way high where members are employed in energy related fields…

  4. Sharon Bond says:

    Hi Donny,

    Very interesting blog!

    Just a comment on the Giving USA numbers — giving to religion is always the biggest slice of the charity “pie,” but its percentage of the whole pie has been shrinking as people give to other causes, like human services. Giving to religion was estimated at $102.32 billion in 2007, the first time giving to religion has exceeded $100 billion. It is 33.4 percent of total estimated giving in the United States.

    For more information, we have a press release posted in the Media Center at http://www.givingusa.org.

    Regards,
    Sharon Bond
    PR Manager
    Giving USA Foundation

  5. Royce says:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what percentage of those who attend church weekly have been born again? Of course we can’t know that number but we can be sure it is far less than the membership numbers represent in all denominations.

    Those “members” who are expecting their church attendance, giving, etc. to be a means of grace, or an aid to it will be sorely disappointed in the end. Sinners are set right with God because of the obedience of Jesus, not because of their (our/my) own.

    Let’s assume that all of our members are saved and that only 10% of Baptist church members are saved. They have still reached more folks than we have. Perhaps some humility is in order.

    His peace,
    Royce Ogle

  6. yes, Danny, all those Williams boys are my second cousins. Hale was their father and they also have a brother named Hale. Their mother was Maurine. Small world, isn’t it?

  7. Trey says:

    I’ve always thought “membership” was pretty useless. You never had “church rolls” or “placing membership” in the bible. In fact I find humor in membership when people say we’re a congregation with a membership of 300, but only 75 people show up on Sunday mornings. I think it might be better if we just started asking, “How many people do you have at a typical Sunday morning worship?”

    Love the blog!

  8. Jim says:

    That’s my belief. Members of the C of C go to church. However, many are only pew warmers. But, the bolster the attendance numbers. How do you report the numbers of those who attend while serving at the local nursing home or those who attend share groups?
    By the way, we talked about the “Footprints” poem last Wed. in class. The debate on origin has been going on for over 40 years with at least three separate but similar versions.
    Welcome home, big man!

  9. dannydodd says:

    Sharon, thanks for taking the time to stop in and share your information.

    Interesting takes from Royce, Trey and Jim- expressing different thoughts on the same issue. Don’t be so hard on us Jim! lol

  10. J D says:

    I admit…I wrote the Footprints poem. You drug it out of me.

  11. paula says:

    Isn’t just the fact that they’re atheists prove that they don’t believe in God?

    I’m so confused 🙂

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