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What Works for New Churches

New churches and traditional churches operate somewhat differently than established ones, according to a study conducted by The Ecumenical Partners in Outreach and The Center for Progressive Renewal. The study focused on 262 churches that have started since 2000.

The study had 8 main insights:

  1. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. The study revealed that pastors with organizational skills and traditional evangelism methods can actually hinder relationships with young adults and the unchurched. For new churches, pastors with skills in outreach are the most beneficial.

skill level

  1. GIVE IT TIME. Church growth is slow. It takes, on average, eight years for attendance to blossom in a new church.


  1. FOCUS ON VISION. Churches need to cast vision for the future. New churches focus on vision, even more than established churches. New churches also spend more time on things like outreach, community and networking. Established churches tend to spend more time on worship and teaching.

time spent

  1. TELL THE STORY. Marketing is essential to getting the word out about churches in general. The Internet was viewed as a helpful way to connect with people. However, telephone calls were seen as detrimental to church growth.
  1. GET OUT. Pastors of new churches tend to focus more time on outreach and promoting vision than pastors of established churches. Outreach that specifically centered on establishing relationships with the unchurched was seen as the most helpful.
  1. GIVE NEW LEADERS A CHANCE. Prior pastoral experience was found to not be related to church growth in new churches, and was even considered to be negatively related to attracting the young or unchurched.
  1. WORSHIP MATTERS. The time church pastors spend on worship was positively correlated to church growth in both new and established churches, but too much attention to worship was seen as negatively impacting one-to-one relationships with young adults.

What does this research indicate about how we should focus our time and energy in churches?

View the full report here.

Racial Diversity Among Religious Groups

A new study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that racial diversity among various religious groups varies widely.


The study, which included Christianity, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu religions, scaled each denomination or religion on an index. A 10.0 would mean that each of the five racial groups (Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites, blacks, Asians and another category of other or mixed ethnicities) was evenly distributed. A religion with one racial group would have a 0.0 on the index. For comparison, the racial average in the United States is a 6.6 on the index.




Seventh-day Adventists are the most racially diverse denomination with a score of 9.1 percent. This is defined as 37% white, 32% black, 15% Hispanic, 8% Asian, and 8% other or mixed ethnicities.

Muslims, Jehovah Witnesses, and Muslims were the next three most racially diverse religious groups, at 8.7%, 8.6%, and 8.4%, respectively.


The least racially diverse groups are the National Baptist Convention, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, with .2%, 1%, and 1.2%, respectively.
What do you derive from this study?
How can we bolster racial diversity in our churches, synonagogues, temples and mosques?

Below is a link to an interactive map of racial diversity by state, region, and metro areas.


Related Posts

Dominant Christian Groups by US County

Useful Demographic Tool

Christians Shouldn’t Be Culture’s Morality Police

reblogged from Relevant


Cara Joyner

By Cara Joyner

July 13, 2015

Cara Joyner is a freelance writer and work-from-home-mom living on the East Coast with her husband and three sons. She loves hanging out with college students, watching Scrubs and eating choc… Read More

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Restored and Remarried

Restored and Remarried

an Interview with Gil and Brenda Stuart

(reblogged from Project Patch)

Every family is dysfunctional, some families get away with it while others can’t because more is required of them.  Blended families, single parent homes, homes with illness, homes with any kind of job loss or a host of the challenges requires the family to have a higher level of “family skills” than a “normal” family.  It isn’t fair.

Actually, I don’t think there is such a thing as a “normal” family.  At some point every family will experience a season that requires more communication, problem solving and dealing with conflict.

Some families can’t predict when they will be called upon to be less dysfunctional.  However, for blended families, even before the “I do” is said, they know dysfunction is near and have to elevate their game.

This podcast interview is with Gil and Brenda Stuart who’s mission is, “Encouragement for remarried couples in a stepfamily.”  They are all about helping step families discover God’s purpose for their newly formed family and the skills to live them out.

About our guests:Stuart

I met Gil and Brenda several years ago and my first impression was that I not only liked them, I also felt like I had known them a long time.  They are a couple with a lot going on.  They have seven children between them and now have two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.  Gil is an insurance broker and Brenda leads a team building organization.  They are popular speakers and lead seminars to help other couples like them who are remained.  They also have developed a seminar called “Rearview Mirror” which helps all couples focus on what matters.

Key Points from Interview:

  • Foundation of honesty
  • Necessity of forgiveness – especially for yourself
  • How your marriage is strengthened through community and information.
  • Importance of parents taking time to trust and rely on each other, especially for discipline of kids
  • How it is a long term focus rather than need for immediate results


Their website:
Their books/materials:  Visit their store

Top 10 Blended Family Points

  1. There are 67 types of stepfamilies
  2. 72 differences between first marriages and remarriage
  3. 40% of all marriages today are creating stepfamilies
  4. New Stat (6/2014: from The Good News About Marriage by Shaunti Feldhahn)  Remarriage divorce rate is 34% not the 60% previously thought. Some stats state 40-50% of remarriages end in divorce. 80% of those marriages that failed could have been saved with information/education and support small group/fellowship with other stepfamilies.)
  5. Churches are reluctant to engage in a Stepfamily ministry for fear of condoning divorce
  6. Many remarried couples do not ask for the help/encouragement they need because of the “shame factor”
  7. Kid issues: grieving, schedules, POW swap, holidays, jealousy, parenting styles
  8. The step parent/step child relationship creates more threat to the remarriage than money, sex, work stress or in laws than in first time marriages
  9. Co-parenting: child support, schedules, two different life styles/values
  10. Modeling a healthy remarriage can reduce the divorce rate for kids in a stepfamily; which can change the legacy of the family

Related Posts:
Blended Families Podcast
The Opportunities of a Blended Family: Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Minimizing Domestic Violence

A telephone survey of 1000 senior pastors by LifeWay Research in Protestant churches in America revealed that most of them are aware of domestic violence in their congregations, but 42% of them “rarely, if ever” address the issue.


In addition, the majority of pastors (52%) do not believe they have sufficient training to address situations of domestic violence.


Most pastors said that less than 5% of people in their congregations have been victims of domestic violence. When in reality, more than 1 in 3 (35.6 percent) women and 1 in 4 men (28.5 percent) have “experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime”, according to a report from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This statistic is virtually the same for Christians and non-Christians.


As the above chart illustrates, only 5-10% of pastors correctly identified the percentage of domestic violence in their congregations.

Clearly, pastors are not aware of the extent of domestic violence in their churches. The Lifeway study revealed that over half of senior pastors (52 percent) do not feel that they have sufficient training to deal effectively with domestic or sexual violence.  And most (81%), say they would do more to reduce domestic violence if they had more training.

Domestic violence can take many forms. Commonly, we think of domestic violence as only being physical or sexual. The Duluth Model shows some of the other forms.


For example:

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.

Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.

Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include  – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

These forms of abuse can be equally harmful to people.

We need to address domestic violence, both inside and outside of our churches. What can we do?

  1. Get domestic violence training. The National Center for Domestic and Sexual Violence provides training, as well as several community agencies. This applies to pastors, church members, and anyone that works with families. I get trained two times a year with the Northwest Marriage Institute.
  1. Provide training in schools. One of the best ways to avoid problems is to be proactive. This means addressing potential problems with children. Many of them are already either victims of domestic violence or they have witnessed domestic violence firsthand.
  1. Keep your eyes open. We should not assume a family is not struggling with domestic violence issues. According to the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

What would you like to add to this discussion?

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