Entries tagged with “Barna Group”.

This has been an interesting presidential primary season. Our new home holds caucuses which is a new and different concept, we aren’t registered voters here (although I think we could have done it day of). Stories I heard included people parking their cars on the Cross-Town Highway and walking to their Caucus site to make sure their voice was heard.

What has people so riled up about the election this year? Well their are plenty of reasons depending on what you value and believe to be true. The Barna Group released a report recently that highlighted some of them. The Barna snapshot was published January 21, which seems like a century ago in primary terms, but I’m sure the data will still hold up.

In their own words:

A new study from The Barna Group provides a data-driven snapshot of the U.S. population, providing a dose of objectivity to some much-debated, often-misunderstood issues. The Barna research explores matters beyond “who-will-Christians-vote-for” questions – for now – in favor of examining the perceived importance of 10 diverse issues. Those include a pair of elements (abortion and homosexuality) often linked to so-called values voters, as well as other issues that relate to morality, justice, and social concern.

What are the 10 major issues facing the country? Below is a list of them in ranked order:

  1. Poverty (78%),
  2. The personal debt of individual Americans (78%),
  3. HIV/AIDS (76%),
  4. Illegal immigration (60%),
  5. Global warming (57%),
  6. Abortion (50%),
  7. Content of television and movies (45%),
  8. Homosexual political “activists” (35%),
  9. Homosexual “lifestyles” (35%),
  10. “The political efforts of conservative Christians” (23%).

So what makes me sad? Barna segmented their data into Born-Again Christians and then even further down to see what Evangelicals thought. The rankings changed significantly, and sadly in my opinion.

Born again Christians still think poverty is a major issue (78%), but personal indebtedness is of higher concern (79%). That is ok, I think you could easily make a case that personal indebtedness is a concern ranking up there with poverty. The Born-Again group is pretty close to in line with where I would place priorities. It is the Evangelical voters that I am most saddened with.

94% of Evangelical voters think abortion is the most important issue facing America today. Poverty doesn’t even make the top 5. That angers me beyond belief. What do you think a major cause of abortion is? Yup, poverty! We should focus more on reducing poverty and not legislating morality. Why is it like this?? Why have the Evangelicals lost sight of what the Bible so clearly states? We are so focused on “saving the unborn” we don’t care how the born actually live. It makes me irate to think that we spend millions of dollars on preventing an abortion and then sit back and do nothing when the “teenage mom” isn’t able to adequately support her child. Where is the love in that? Did Jesus say, “Save the babies so they can squalor and face starvation and general lack”? No, Jesus and the Bible talk a lot about caring for the poor. Here are a few examples:

To the Rich Young Ruler Jesus said: “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

James says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

We have the power to change the world – it is through loving Christ and loving those He loves.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

 Everyone knows that the future of the church and the world is in the hands of today’s youth.  So it is fairly important that teenagers are involved in and impacted by “church” and more broadly Jesus.

They can also be a hard group of people to target and disciple because of their busy schedules, school, homework, sports, work, family time, and church.  I remember those days.  But for me personally church was a priority that I tried to find time for and enjoyed doing.  Churches are trying almost anything to keep teenagers coming to their programming.  Some even host Halo parties (Halo is a much loved video game) in their church or ministry centers.

It is important to understand what teens want from their “church experience.”  According to Barna teens want

  • “to worship or make a connection with God” (45% described this as very important),
  • “to better understand what I believe” (42%),
  • “to spend time with close friends” (34%),
  • “to get encouraged or inspired” (34%),
  • “to volunteer to help others” (30%),
  • to learn about prayer (26%),
  • to listen to religious teaching (26%),
  • to participate in discussions regarding religion and faith (23%),
  • to be mentored or coached in spiritual development (21%),
  • to discover the traditions of their faith (20%),
  • to participate in a study class about faith (19%), or
  • to study the Bible (18%).

Because you are reading this it shouldn’t surprise you that the same research showed that

…one out of every four teenagers (26%) had learned something about their faith or spirituality online in the last six months. This was true of two-fifths of born again Christian teenagers (39%). Furthermore, one-sixth of teenagers (16%) and one-quarter of born again teens (25%) said they had “a spiritual experience” online where they worshipped or connected with God.

David Kinnaman, the lead researcher and president of the Barna Group, has a new book coming out called unChristian which looks at the differences between teenagers and Christianity. In a concluding statement he says:

“Helping them [teenagers] connect with God, learn about their faith, and serve others, in a loving and relational environment are their top desires from a church. Keep in mind that young people are not spiritually transformed merely by attending a church, knowing a few Bible stories or being friends with the youth pastor. It takes addressing teens on a much deeper, personal level – such as developing their intellect and vocational passions as well as cultivating their curiosity for the complexities of life.”

I think that is what we are trying to do at The Bridge Student Ministries.  We are very relationally focused, but it is so much easier just to plan games and a short message each week.



*pictures are from our 2005 fall kickoff event!


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

That was the question asked this Sunday at Church.  We are in the middle of a series called God Questions, where we are looking into commonly asked questions about God.

What are your personal opinions about the truth of the Bible? Is it the inspired Word, fictional stories?

The Barna Group reports that in 2006 48% of adults agree strongly that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings, there are probably as many different ideas about the Bible as there are people, but to some degree it is important to know the accuracy of the Bible for your personal faith. 

Two major points from the message Sunday really stuck out to me. The first responded to the point that many different authors wrote the Bible (40 authors wrote the 66 books).  I guess the argument is that God didn’t “write” the Bible, 40 humans did.  The Pastor used the illustration of a famous architect such as Frank Lloyd Wright. FLW creates the plan, the blueprints, the design for a building. Does FLW actually build the building? Nope, contractors come in and they take care of the building process.  But if a contractor wants to change anything about the building, they must first talk with FLW about and gain his approval for any modifications.  Now back to God, He created the overall plan for the Bible and used 40 specific contractors to create His Word.  Nothing was written without the “permission” of God.  Pretty cool eh?

The second illustration was a car manual, he used a specific sports car that I don’t remember (let’s say a Corvette).  So you are given this 2008 Corvette with all these fancy numbers and letters after it! You sit down and pull out the car manual.  You begin reading through it, highlighting important parts – making notes about stuff you don’t agree with.  You become so passionate about the car manual that you begin going out and speaking to local groups about it, talking about the power seat functions (his example).  This is great you go around for awhile and everything is great, then one night some young guy comes up afterwards, “that was a great presentation about power seats. I’ve always wanted that car, how does it drive?” This question catches you off guard because you’ve never actually driven it! You got so caught up in the manual that you never “practiced” what it said.  You never acted on all the knowledge.  Some take the Bible and read it ravenously, but never act on what they know or have learned.

The second illustration was more of a practical application, but I really liked both of those points and applications. As a kid I took on faith that the Bible was truly the inspired Word of God.  As an adult I know by both faith and fact that the Bible is the true Word of God.  A good book is More Than a Carpenter written by Josh McDowell.  

There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 The Message

Find out for yourself if the Bible is true by examining some of the information provided at these sites:

International Bible Society

All About Truth

Christian Answers



Technorati tags: , , , ,


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]