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Public Highly Critical of State of Political Discourse in the U.S.

Pew Research - 13 hours 14 min ago

Majorities of Americans say the tone of political debate in the country has become more negative, less respectful, less fact-based and less substantive in recent years.

The post Public Highly Critical of State of Political Discourse in the U.S. appeared first on Pew Research Center.

Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2019

Pew Research - Fri, 14/06/2019 - 2:24am

Today, 37% of Americans go online mostly using a smartphone, and these devices are increasingly cited as a reason for not having a high-speed internet connection at home.

The post Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2019 appeared first on Pew Research Center.

Unauthorized immigrant population trends for states, birth countries and regions

Pew Research - Thu, 13/06/2019 - 8:45am

In 2017, an estimated 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants lived in the United States, down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007. Explore trends in the unauthorized immigrant population for U.S. states, as well as for birth countries and regions.

The post Unauthorized immigrant population trends for states, birth countries and regions appeared first on Pew Research Center.

Video: Is the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. declining?

Pew Research - Thu, 13/06/2019 - 6:09am

The latest Pew Research Center data estimates there were 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2017, down significantly from a decade prior. In this video, our researchers go behind the scenes to explain the “how” and “why” behind determining these new numbers.

The post Video: Is the number of unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. declining? appeared first on Pew Research Center.

Americans See Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse as an Ongoing Problem

Pew Research - Wed, 12/06/2019 - 2:00am

More than 15 years after U.S. bishops pledged “zero tolerance” for sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, reports of previously unpublicized misconduct continue to receive wide media coverage.

The post Americans See Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse as an Ongoing Problem appeared first on Pew Research Center.

Paul Tripp on How Parents Can Model Mercy

Barna Blog - Tue, 11/06/2019 - 9:00pm

Below is a Q&A excerpt from The Mercy Journey for Families, a workbook included in The Mercy Journey collection. These insights accompany new Barna research exploring the role of mercy and forgiveness in practicing Christians’ households.

Dr. Paul David Tripp is a pastor, international speaker and best selling author with more than 20 books on Christian living, including the award-winning Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family.

Barna: What are some ways that heads of households can treat mercy and compassion (not just efficiency, comfort and so on) as important parts of their decision-making?

Paul: As a Christian parent, you can’t reduce parenting down to having a clear set of rules, accompanied by a corresponding set of punishments. When parents do this, they tend to use “tools”—such as guilt, fear, shame, manipulation, etc.—that don’t produce the environment that God intended for parents to foster. In moments of correction, I shouldn’t be asking myself what the child has done and what punishment they deserve, or what response I want from them in the specific situation. Rather, I am asking a larger, more heart-oriented question: “What is God seeking to reveal right here, right now in the heart and life of my child, and how can I be part of it?”I am not just focused on “fixing ” the situation and holding the child accountable, but on helping them take another step in the life-long process of change in their heart that will result in changes in the way this child thinks, decides, speaks and acts.

Barna: What encouragement would you give to parents to embrace their own need for mercy—even from themselves?

Paul: It is vital to remember that Jesus came to earth and measured up in every way precisely because God knew we would not measure up. God is not surprised by a parent’s failure and has already extended to them his forgiving and enabling grace. You have been blessed by the relationships and help of the body of Christ of which you are part. You do not have to be self-sufficient. Seek the advice of wise and seasoned parents, find people who are willing to be available to comfort and encourage you when you are distraught and be willing to admit your struggle when you’re going through a rough patch. Finally, find families who can extend your family and, in moments, be surrogate parents to your children.

Comment on this research and follow our work:
Twitter: @davidkinnaman | @roxyleestone | @brookehempell | @barnagroup
Facebook: Barna Group

The post Paul Tripp on How Parents Can Model Mercy appeared first on Barna Group.

Paul Tripp on How Parents Can Model Mercy

Barna - Tue, 11/06/2019 - 9:00pm

Below is a Q&A excerpt from The Mercy Journey for Families, a workbook included in The Mercy Journey collection. These insights accompany new Barna research exploring the role of mercy and forgiveness in practicing Christians’ households.

Dr. Paul David Tripp is a pastor, international speaker and best selling author with more than 20 books on Christian living, including the award-winning Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family.

Barna: What are some ways that heads of households can treat mercy and compassion (not just efficiency, comfort and so on) as important parts of their decision-making?

Paul: As a Christian parent, you can’t reduce parenting down to having a clear set of rules, accompanied by a corresponding set of punishments. When parents do this, they tend to use “tools”—such as guilt, fear, shame, manipulation, etc.—that don’t produce the environment that God intended for parents to foster. In moments of correction, I shouldn’t be asking myself what the child has done and what punishment they deserve, or what response I want from them in the specific situation. Rather, I am asking a larger, more heart-oriented question: “What is God seeking to reveal right here, right now in the heart and life of my child, and how can I be part of it?”I am not just focused on “fixing ” the situation and holding the child accountable, but on helping them take another step in the life-long process of change in their heart that will result in changes in the way this child thinks, decides, speaks and acts.

Barna: What encouragement would you give to parents to embrace their own need for mercy—even from themselves?

Paul: It is vital to remember that Jesus came to earth and measured up in every way precisely because God knew we would not measure up. God is not surprised by a parent’s failure and has already extended to them his forgiving and enabling grace. You have been blessed by the relationships and help of the body of Christ of which you are part. You do not have to be self-sufficient. Seek the advice of wise and seasoned parents, find people who are willing to be available to comfort and encourage you when you are distraught and be willing to admit your struggle when you’re going through a rough patch. Finally, find families who can extend your family and, in moments, be surrogate parents to your children.

Comment on this research and follow our work:
Twitter: @davidkinnaman | @roxyleestone | @brookehempell | @barnagroup
Facebook: Barna Group

The post Paul Tripp on How Parents Can Model Mercy appeared first on Barna Group.

BJ Thompson on Communicating Mercy Within Marriage

Barna Blog - Tue, 11/06/2019 - 9:00pm

Below is a Q&A excerpt from The Mercy Journey for Families, a workbook included in The Mercy Journey collection. These insights accompany new Barna research exploring the role of mercy and forgiveness in practicing Christians’ households.

BJ Thompson is an author, speaker, life coach and the executive director of Build a Better Us, a non-profit that provides resources for holistic development of individuals and couples.

Barna: What is unique about the connection between spouses that seems to foster an awareness of mercy?

BJ: Marriage is probably one of the most vulnerable relationships you’ll be blessed to be a part of. It’s a relationship that exposes deep insecurities, fears, worries and anxieties. Marriage will expose the fact that you’re not as self-sufficient or autonomous as you thought. Your spouse, whether they realize it or not, becomes a necessary agent for dispensing mercy. The relationship is so reciprocal that when you are not operating with mercy, it is no longer a healthy relationship.

Barna: How would you encourage people who might not be married to cultivate merciful responses in their intimate relationships?

BJ: Part of being in a covenant relationship with Jesus means you’re a covenant individual. There are things about you that have to be shaped by wrestling in committed relationship with others. That opportunity and encouragement is available for all people who are willing to risk vulnerability, to risk loving someone outside of themselves.

Barna: Married adults are more likely to say forgiving means forgetting. What do you think about that?

BJ: That’s the traditional or conditioned response. I also think it’s a cheapened response, and I’ll tell you why: To forget could also mean to absorb trauma without processing it. I would advise them to set aside their phones and express the range of emotional intelligence, to do their best to put words to their feelings. Instead of just saying they’re angry, they could use more vulnerable language or communicate the impact of what has happened: “I feel ashamed by that.” “I felt very guilty about what you did.” “I was embarrassed by that.” “You dehumanized me in that way.”

Barna: How should people actually voice confession or forgiveness in the home?

BJ: There’s this phrase: “Is that what I’m hearing you say?” It’s used by counselors to ensure what’s being said is being heard correctly. It resolves what was intended to be communicated from the other person. That’s number one, that understanding. Number two is empathy. Empathy has to do with being oneself and living in compassion. When individuals may be self-righteous or don’t have empathy, their apologies don’t mean much. Once you enter into both understanding and empathy, and then you make the apology, it lands the plane onto the runway.

Comment on this research and follow our work:
Twitter: @davidkinnaman | @roxyleestone | @brookehempell | @barnagroup
Facebook: Barna Group

The post BJ Thompson on Communicating Mercy Within Marriage appeared first on Barna Group.

BJ Thompson on Communicating Mercy Within Marriage

Barna - Tue, 11/06/2019 - 9:00pm

Below is a Q&A excerpt from The Mercy Journey for Families, a workbook included in The Mercy Journey collection. These insights accompany new Barna research exploring the role of mercy and forgiveness in practicing Christians’ households.

BJ Thompson is an author, speaker, life coach and the executive director of Build a Better Us, a non-profit that provides resources for holistic development of individuals and couples.

Barna: What is unique about the connection between spouses that seems to foster an awareness of mercy?

BJ: Marriage is probably one of the most vulnerable relationships you’ll be blessed to be a part of. It’s a relationship that exposes deep insecurities, fears, worries and anxieties. Marriage will expose the fact that you’re not as self-sufficient or autonomous as you thought. Your spouse, whether they realize it or not, becomes a necessary agent for dispensing mercy. The relationship is so reciprocal that when you are not operating with mercy, it is no longer a healthy relationship.

Barna: How would you encourage people who might not be married to cultivate merciful responses in their intimate relationships?

BJ: Part of being in a covenant relationship with Jesus means you’re a covenant individual. There are things about you that have to be shaped by wrestling in committed relationship with others. That opportunity and encouragement is available for all people who are willing to risk vulnerability, to risk loving someone outside of themselves.

Barna: Married adults are more likely to say forgiving means forgetting. What do you think about that?

BJ: That’s the traditional or conditioned response. I also think it’s a cheapened response, and I’ll tell you why: To forget could also mean to absorb trauma without processing it. I would advise them to set aside their phones and express the range of emotional intelligence, to do their best to put words to their feelings. Instead of just saying they’re angry, they could use more vulnerable language or communicate the impact of what has happened: “I feel ashamed by that.” “I felt very guilty about what you did.” “I was embarrassed by that.” “You dehumanized me in that way.”

Barna: How should people actually voice confession or forgiveness in the home?

BJ: There’s this phrase: “Is that what I’m hearing you say?” It’s used by counselors to ensure what’s being said is being heard correctly. It resolves what was intended to be communicated from the other person. That’s number one, that understanding. Number two is empathy. Empathy has to do with being oneself and living in compassion. When individuals may be self-righteous or don’t have empathy, their apologies don’t mean much. Once you enter into both understanding and empathy, and then you make the apology, it lands the plane onto the runway.

Comment on this research and follow our work:
Twitter: @davidkinnaman | @roxyleestone | @brookehempell | @barnagroup
Facebook: Barna Group

The post BJ Thompson on Communicating Mercy Within Marriage appeared first on Barna Group.

An update on our research into trust, facts and democracy

Pew Research - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 4:55am

A little over a year ago, Pew Research Center decided to intensify its research focus on the theme of trust, facts and democracy. As part of this initiative, the Center has published more than 30 pieces of related research over the past 12 months.

The post An update on our research into trust, facts and democracy appeared first on Pew Research Center.

Many Americans Say Made-Up News Is a Critical Problem That Needs To Be Fixed

Pew Research - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 3:45am

More Americans view made-up news as a very big problem for the country than identify terrorism, illegal immigration, racism and sexism that way.

The post Many Americans Say Made-Up News Is a Critical Problem That Needs To Be Fixed appeared first on Pew Research Center.

Many Churchgoers Fail to Intentionally Serve Others

Lifeway Research - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 2:50am

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jesus said He came not to be served but to serve, and told His disciples, “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11 CSB). Despite Jesus’ admonition, many Protestant churchgoers find it difficult to serve others.

The 2019 Discipleship Pathway Assessment study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research found few Protestant churchgoers say they strongly agree they are personally taking actions that indicate a life of service to God and others.

The study identifies serving God and others as one of eight signposts that consistently show up in the lives of growing Christians.

“Many churchgoers profess faith in Jesus Christ, but are not putting that faith into action,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “Jesus set an example for His followers through both the beliefs He taught and the way He served others.”

Intentional sacrifices

Fifteen percent of Protestant churchgoers strongly agree they intentionally give up certain purchases so they can use that money for others. Including those who somewhat agree, 41% say they practice that type of intentional generosity.

Younger churchgoers are more likely to take this step of service than older ones. Among 18- to 34-year-olds attending a Protestant church once a month or more, 22% strongly agree they give up purchases to use that money for others. The same is true for 18% of those age 35-49, 12% of 50- to 64-year-olds, and 8% of those 65 and older.

Hispanic churchgoers (25%) are more likely to strongly agree than African American (17%) or white (12%) churchgoers.

Those who attend a worship service at least weekly are more likely to strongly agree than those who attend less frequently (16% to 11%).

Protestant churchgoers are slightly more likely to say they intentionally try to serve people outside of their church who have tangible needs. More than 6 in 10 agree (62%), with 25% strongly agreeing.

Those 65 and older are the age demographic least likely to strongly agree (19%).

Hispanic (38%) and African American (29%) churchgoers are more likely to strongly agree than white churchgoers (21%).

Again, those who attend church services more frequently are more likely to say they serve others in this way, with 26% of those who attend at least weekly strongly agreeing compared to 21% of those who attend less than four times a month.

“Contrary to a common use of the word among Christians, serving is not confined to having a job to do at church,” said McConnell. “Serving includes showing the love of Christ in tangible ways to our neighbors in need.”

Beyond opportunities of service

Three-quarters of regular Protestant churchgoers (74%) see their acts of service as a way to also get to know others. A full third (33%) strongly agree that when they have the opportunity to serve someone, they also try to get to know the person better.

Women (35%) are more likely to strongly agree than men (30%), while Hispanic churchgoers (45%) are the ethnic group most likely to strongly agree.

Regular churchgoers with less than a college degree (36%) are more like to strongly agree than those who have a bachelor’s degree or higher (29%).

Black Protestants (39%) and evangelical Protestants (34%) are more likely to strongly agree than mainline Protestants (26%).

Those who attend worship services four times a month or more (35%) are more likely to strongly agree than those who attend less frequently (28%).

“It is easy to get a ‘fix-it’ mentality when serving,” said McConnell. “While there is most definitely a practical aspect to service, there is also a personal element. Without caring to know the person you are helping, a church’s service lacks the love that is at the heart of all Christian service.”

Serving God and others is one of eight signposts measured in the Discipleship Pathway Assessment and addressed in LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum. For more information, visit DiscipleshipPathwayAssessment.com.

-30-

Aaron Earls is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.

Methodology:

The online survey of 2,500 Protestant churchgoers was conducted Jan. 14–29, 2019. Respondents were screened to include those who identified as Protestant or non-denominational and attend religious services at least once a month. Quotas and slight weights were used to balance gender, age, region, ethnicity, income and denominational affiliation. The completed sample is 2,500 surveys. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 2.0%. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

Download the research

Barna Introduces FaithView, an Online Database of the Spiritual Profiles of Americans

Barna Blog - Wed, 05/06/2019 - 9:00pm

Barna has been tracking cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors for 35 years. Now, for the first time, we’re making the nation’s most powerful database for city, state and national spiritual profiles accessible online in a new, subscription-based tool called FaithView.

What denomination are most residents in your city? How often do they attend church? What are their political leanings? What do they believe about God? How often do they open their Bibles? What’s their age, gender and ethnic makeup? FaithView goes beyond mere demographics and provides instant answers to questions like these and many more based on over 200 unique data points from our research.

“Christian leaders now have a tool to help them better understand the spiritual beliefs and practices of people within their context so they can confidently answer the question, ‘What’s next?’” says Barna president, David Kinnaman. “Data like this makes it possible for churches and faith-based organizations to plan more strategically, act more intentionally and be more effective.”

With FaithView, pastors can:

  • Tailor sermons knowing how many people in their region are engaged Christians, dechurched, unchurched or atheist
  • Provide pastoral support with a deeper understanding and sensitivity to the social, economic, spiritual and lifestyle issues of their particular region
  • Plan outreach based on an informed perspective of the people who live within their geographic area
  • Target best areas to plant new churches

Nonprofit leaders can use FaithView to:

  • Identify top markets for recruitment and donor engagement strategies
  • Discern giving levels in prospective cities and states
  • Develop messaging based on beliefs and attitudes of targeted audiences

For reporters and editors, FaithView provides an invaluable source of trends and storylines, plus instant infographics to augment reporting for local and national stories. Journalists can now easily:

  • Compare and contrast political, social and cultural beliefs and practices based on an extensive selection of data points and filters
  • Develop myriad story angles that can be contextualized for specific local, regional or national audiences
  • Validate anecdotal reporting with credible data that’s simple to access and understand

Rather than combing through online searches or raw data, this new, interactive, customizable database offers clear and relevant insights into the spiritual climate, faith trends and practices in cities and states in every major media market across America, based on over 200 unique data points from Barna’s 35 years of world-class research.

FaithView is a proprietary software available online with an annual subscription. Subscriptions include tutorial videos, exclusive content, ongoing analysis of city and state trends, annually updated data and best-in-class customer support.

Subscribe to FaithView now so you can gain access to this powerful tool for strategic planning.

The post Barna Introduces FaithView, an Online Database of the Spiritual Profiles of Americans appeared first on Barna Group.

Barna Introduces FaithView, an Online Database of the Spiritual Profiles of Americans

Barna - Wed, 05/06/2019 - 9:00pm

Barna has been tracking cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors for 35 years. Now, for the first time, we’re making the nation’s most powerful database for city, state and national spiritual profiles accessible online in a new, subscription-based tool called FaithView.

What denomination are most residents in your city? How often do they attend church? What are their political leanings? What do they believe about God? How often do they open their Bibles? What’s their age, gender and ethnic makeup? FaithView goes beyond mere demographics and provides instant answers to questions like these and many more based on over 200 unique data points from our research.

“Christian leaders now have a tool to help them better understand the spiritual beliefs and practices of people within their context so they can confidently answer the question, ‘What’s next?’” says Barna president, David Kinnaman. “Data like this makes it possible for churches and faith-based organizations to plan more strategically, act more intentionally and be more effective.”

With FaithView, pastors can:

  • Tailor sermons knowing how many people in their region are engaged Christians, dechurched, unchurched or atheist
  • Provide pastoral support with a deeper understanding and sensitivity to the social, economic, spiritual and lifestyle issues of their particular region
  • Plan outreach based on an informed perspective of the people who live within their geographic area
  • Target best areas to plant new churches

Nonprofit leaders can use FaithView to:

  • Identify top markets for recruitment and donor engagement strategies
  • Discern giving levels in prospective cities and states
  • Develop messaging based on beliefs and attitudes of targeted audiences

For reporters and editors, FaithView provides an invaluable source of trends and storylines, plus instant infographics to augment reporting for local and national stories. Journalists can now easily:

  • Compare and contrast political, social and cultural beliefs and practices based on an extensive selection of data points and filters
  • Develop myriad story angles that can be contextualized for specific local, regional or national audiences
  • Validate anecdotal reporting with credible data that’s simple to access and understand

Rather than combing through online searches or raw data, this new, interactive, customizable database offers clear and relevant insights into the spiritual climate, faith trends and practices in cities and states in every major media market across America, based on over 200 unique data points from Barna’s 35 years of world-class research.

FaithView is a proprietary software available online with an annual subscription. Subscriptions include tutorial videos, exclusive content, ongoing analysis of city and state trends, annually updated data and best-in-class customer support.

Subscribe to FaithView now so you can gain access to this powerful tool for strategic planning.

The post Barna Introduces FaithView, an Online Database of the Spiritual Profiles of Americans appeared first on Barna Group.

Facts on U.S. Immigrants, 2017

Pew Research - Tue, 04/06/2019 - 6:54am

There were a record 44.4 million immigrants living in the U.S. in 2017, making up 13.6% of the nation’s population. Explore charts and tables with demographic data on the foreign born population in the U.S. from 1960 to 2017.

The post Facts on U.S. Immigrants, 2017 appeared first on Pew Research Center.

Nearly Half of Democrats Say the Best Age for a President Is ‘In Their 50s’

Pew Research - Wed, 29/05/2019 - 2:27am

When asked about the ideal age for a president, most Democrats say they prefer someone in their 40s through their 60s, with nearly half (47%) saying the best age for a president is “in their 50s.”

The post Nearly Half of Democrats Say the Best Age for a President Is ‘In Their 50s’ appeared first on Pew Research Center.

Josh Chen on the Spiritual Curiosity of Young People

Barna Blog - Tue, 28/05/2019 - 1:00pm

Below is a Q&A excerpt from the Reviving Evangelism report, which accompanies new Barna research exploring the spiritual curiosity of non-Christians, particularly among younger generations.

Josh Chen serves as a missions director for Cru and is passionate about helping young people experience the goodness of the gospel. He leads a team in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy.

Barna: In your work with Millennials and Gen Z teens, what have you observed about how they think about sharing faith?

Josh: Each generation must discover the gospel afresh for itself. What sounded like good news to previous generations often sounds like mediocre news to younger generations.

How older Christians explain the gospel often attempts to answer questions Millennials and teens just aren’t asking. Previous generations asked questions like “How do I get to heaven?” or “What do I do with my guilt?” while younger generations ask entirely different questions, like “What does it mean for me to thrive as a human being?”

A couple of factors influence this shift. One is anxiety. Millennials and Gen Z have higher levels of anxiety than any other generation. According to Dr. Betsy Nesbit, such high levels of anxiety put them in a constant state of “fight or flight”—and as a result, young people have a hard time thinking too far in the future. Like a hiker in front of a bear who’s not thinking about that project due next week or their plans for retirement, for many young people questions like “What happens after I die?” simply aren’t relevant. Yet.

A second reason they are asking different questions is that Western culture is slowly making a shift from a guilt-and-innocence culture to a shame-and-honor culture. The difference between shame and guilt is subtle yet profound. If you make a mistake in a guilt culture, it’s just that: a mistake. If you make a mistake in a shame culture, you are the mistake.

A shame culture asks different questions from a guilt culture— and the gospel speaks differently to a shame culture than it does to a guilt culture. Teens and young adults are asking where they belong, how they are significant, how to deal with anxiety, what to do with their loneliness.

If our gospel can’t answer those questions, it doesn’t feel like good news. On the other hand, if it does answer those longings, they will be much more likely to receive it—and share with others how God has impacted their lives.

Barna: How can church leaders help remove barriers so that young people can consider and share the gospel?

Josh: Church leaders need to release the assumption that the gospel that was good news to older generations is the entirety of the gospel. Have we been presenting the message of Jesus in its biblical and historical fullness? Arguably not. The gospel is robust enough to be good news to every generation.

If our only understanding or expression of salvation is what happens after we die, then our message will not be perceived as relevant to most younger people. But when Jesus talks about being saved in the Gospels, he frequently is talking about right now, not the “after you die” that characterizes some older generations’ gospel presentations. It’s notable that the Greek word for the word “saved” is the word sozo, which does means to be saved, but also means to become whole. What I find fascinating is that when Jesus says, “Your faith has saved you,” the word is sozo— and when he heals someone and says, “Your faith has made you well,” the word is also sozo. This is a balanced, full understanding of what the good news is doing.

For Millennials and Gen Z, the good news of the gospel is that salvation is not only for later, it is something that is happening now—without diminishing the importance of “later.” Jesus wants us to experience wholeness now—physically, spiritually, emotionally and relationally. So when it comes to their felt needs, we need to offer young people more than just platitudes or future promises. We need to walk them through the hard work of spiritual formation and an invitation to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Right now.

Similar is the topic of sin. If the young are increasingly shaped by a shame culture, then when we talk about sin and how God hates it, we inadvertently communicate that they are unwanted or rejected by God. This could not be further from the truth. It’s important that we reframe sin for this generation in a way that is theologically correct, but also that proactively communicates God’s love for people. God hates sin because he loves us so much that he can’t stand to see us finding “life” where there is no life. This explanation provokes the question from someone who hears it: “If there is no life in the things I do, then where is there life?” That’s a good-news question, and it flies with young people

For teens and young adults, compassion—not judgment—is the starting place of the gospel.

If we are serious about reaching new generations, we need to be willing to challenge our assumptions about what the gospel is. We also need to engage people out of compassion and love rather than judgment, because it is the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance. If we can communicate and reflect a Jesus who loves them and meets their greatest felt needs, I believe many young people will decide to follow Jesus—and share a vibrant faith with coming generations.

Comment on this research and follow our work:
Twitter: @davidkinnaman | @roxyleestone | @brookehempell | @barnagroup
Facebook: Barna Group

The post Josh Chen on the Spiritual Curiosity of Young People appeared first on Barna Group.

Josh Chen on the Spiritual Curiosity of Young People

Barna - Tue, 28/05/2019 - 1:00pm

Below is a Q&A excerpt from the Reviving Evangelism report, which accompanies new Barna research exploring the spiritual curiosity of non-Christians, particularly among younger generations.

Josh Chen serves as a missions director for Cru and is passionate about helping young people experience the goodness of the gospel. He leads a team in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy.

Barna: In your work with Millennials and Gen Z teens, what have you observed about how they think about sharing faith?

Josh: Each generation must discover the gospel afresh for itself. What sounded like good news to previous generations often sounds like mediocre news to younger generations.

How older Christians explain the gospel often attempts to answer questions Millennials and teens just aren’t asking. Previous generations asked questions like “How do I get to heaven?” or “What do I do with my guilt?” while younger generations ask entirely different questions, like “What does it mean for me to thrive as a human being?”

A couple of factors influence this shift. One is anxiety. Millennials and Gen Z have higher levels of anxiety than any other generation. According to Dr. Betsy Nesbit, such high levels of anxiety put them in a constant state of “fight or flight”—and as a result, young people have a hard time thinking too far in the future. Like a hiker in front of a bear who’s not thinking about that project due next week or their plans for retirement, for many young people questions like “What happens after I die?” simply aren’t relevant. Yet.

A second reason they are asking different questions is that Western culture is slowly making a shift from a guilt-and-innocence culture to a shame-and-honor culture. The difference between shame and guilt is subtle yet profound. If you make a mistake in a guilt culture, it’s just that: a mistake. If you make a mistake in a shame culture, you are the mistake.

A shame culture asks different questions from a guilt culture— and the gospel speaks differently to a shame culture than it does to a guilt culture. Teens and young adults are asking where they belong, how they are significant, how to deal with anxiety, what to do with their loneliness.

If our gospel can’t answer those questions, it doesn’t feel like good news. On the other hand, if it does answer those longings, they will be much more likely to receive it—and share with others how God has impacted their lives.

Barna: How can church leaders help remove barriers so that young people can consider and share the gospel?

Josh: Church leaders need to release the assumption that the gospel that was good news to older generations is the entirety of the gospel. Have we been presenting the message of Jesus in its biblical and historical fullness? Arguably not. The gospel is robust enough to be good news to every generation.

If our only understanding or expression of salvation is what happens after we die, then our message will not be perceived as relevant to most younger people. But when Jesus talks about being saved in the Gospels, he frequently is talking about right now, not the “after you die” that characterizes some older generations’ gospel presentations. It’s notable that the Greek word for the word “saved” is the word sozo, which does means to be saved, but also means to become whole. What I find fascinating is that when Jesus says, “Your faith has saved you,” the word is sozo— and when he heals someone and says, “Your faith has made you well,” the word is also sozo. This is a balanced, full understanding of what the good news is doing.

For Millennials and Gen Z, the good news of the gospel is that salvation is not only for later, it is something that is happening now—without diminishing the importance of “later.” Jesus wants us to experience wholeness now—physically, spiritually, emotionally and relationally. So when it comes to their felt needs, we need to offer young people more than just platitudes or future promises. We need to walk them through the hard work of spiritual formation and an invitation to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Right now.

Similar is the topic of sin. If the young are increasingly shaped by a shame culture, then when we talk about sin and how God hates it, we inadvertently communicate that they are unwanted or rejected by God. This could not be further from the truth. It’s important that we reframe sin for this generation in a way that is theologically correct, but also that proactively communicates God’s love for people. God hates sin because he loves us so much that he can’t stand to see us finding “life” where there is no life. This explanation provokes the question from someone who hears it: “If there is no life in the things I do, then where is there life?” That’s a good-news question, and it flies with young people

For teens and young adults, compassion—not judgment—is the starting place of the gospel.

If we are serious about reaching new generations, we need to be willing to challenge our assumptions about what the gospel is. We also need to engage people out of compassion and love rather than judgment, because it is the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance. If we can communicate and reflect a Jesus who loves them and meets their greatest felt needs, I believe many young people will decide to follow Jesus—and share a vibrant faith with coming generations.

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