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Christianity Increasing in Russia

over time
Christianity is Russia is increasing. Between 1991 and 2008, Russians who self-identified as Orthodox Christians rose from 31 to 72 percent, according to a study conducted by the International Social Survey Programme.

Russians that did not identify with any religion during the same time period decreased from 61 to 18 percent.

believe in God

Religious beliefs among Russians also increased between 1991-2008. The percentage of Russians that believe in God rose from 38 to 56 percent; and, those that describe themselves as at least somewhat religious increased from 11 to 54 percent during the same time period.

men and women

The study also revealed that identification with Orthodox Christianity from 1991 to 2008 rose without regard to gender, age, or education. In contrast to American Christians, younger Russians (16-49 years old) who self-identified as Orthodox Christians increased at a higher percentage from 1991-2008 than those 50 or over. Further, Russians that have a college degree self-identified as Orthodox Christians increased at a higher percentage from 1991-2008 than those with less education.

What can be ascertained by this data? One observation is that Russians are generally open to the Gospel. As a former church planter in Russia, it is heartwarming to know that the percentage of Russians that believe in God is increasing. Now is the time to focus on mission opportunities in Russia.

What other observations can you make from this study?


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Mission Alive has announced a new partnership with Missio Alliance. Mission Alive is a church planter support network I have been privileged to work with, and Missio Alliance gathers Christian leaders from across North America to engage in theological and practical discussion about the challenges of ministry.

The partnership will undoubtedly complement and bless both organizations. I am excited to see what God will do with this new ministry collaboration.


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According to The US Congregational Life Survey (2/17/14 from, two percent of worship attendees are visiting a particular congregation for the first time. What do they look like?

1. The largest age group of first-time visitors was between 25-44 years old and the average age was 41. The majority (54%) of first-time visitors were not married. And over 1 in 4 (27%) had never been married.

First-time visitors are typically younger people who are not necessarily married. Perhaps this indicates that they are in a life transition, or that they are looking for spiritual significance in their lives.

2. Slightly less than half of first-time visitors (48%) were attending services at another church before their visit; however; 52% were visiting a new church.

First-time visitors are attracted to new churches. This bolsters the significance and attractiveness of church plants. Often, new churches offer a freshness and vitality that older churches do not. (See the video, Why Plant Churches?)

3. 13% had never attended anywhere before their visit and another 15% said they had not attended another congregation for several years.

Non-believers and jaded Christians are still searching. We should never neglect this segment of the population by assuming that visitors are familiar with our worship styles or church “lingo”. And, we need to ramp up our evangelistic efforts to reach non-believers. This means serving people outside of our church “walls” and being involved more in our communities.


What other observations can you draw from this research?


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Happify has come out with some fascinating statistics on the science of happiness. Did you know that you can increase your happiness by nurturing your relationships, having new experiences, helping others and being grateful? The most important factor in achieving happiness is finding social support, or others that we can count on in times of trouble. It is also interesting to note that people who are spiritual or religious tend to be happier.

What other observations can you make about happiness?



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