Research from other organisations

Jill Kinnaman’s Passing and What It Means for Barna Group

Barna - Tue, 24/11/2020 - 4:47am

Dear friends and partners,

On October 28, my wife, Jill, passed away from brain cancer. As you may know, it’s been more than a three-year journey for her—and for all of us who were consistently buoyed by her kindness, love and resilience. We knew that her cancer was terminal, and we’ve had 41 months to prepare ourselves, but the loss is extremely difficult.

The depth of the grief we’re experiencing is hard to put into words, though we are finding comfort in time together as a family and with friends. We are holding tightly to the ultimate hope that Jill is with Jesus. (If you’re inclined to do so, you’re welcome to view Jill’s memorial service here.)

One way that Jill and I agreed to fight the good fight was a mutual decision that I continue serving the Church and Christian leaders throughout her ordeal. That includes, of course, leading Barna as president through all the challenges that 2020 has thrown at Christian leaders and organizations. In many ways, my own suffering and loneliness have fostered more patience, empathy and trust in God as I’ve served leaders who are attempting to move forward faithfully amidst the cascading crises of 2020.

Now, I’ve decided to take a number of months of bereavement leave: to grieve, to serve and love my children (Emily, 21, Annika, 19, and Zack, 16), to read and rest, to paint and work with wood and to allow God to fill me up in the many places I feel hollow and empty. That means I’ll be off the rest of 2020 and into the first month or so of 2021. I may pop up here and there to work, as it provides connection and gives me joy. For the most part, though, I’ll be out of pocket.

In the meantime, Barna Group will continue its stellar work, full speed ahead. We’ve built an incredible team, and they love serving Christian leaders.

Which brings me to my request of you: Please engage Barna and our team in the coming months. Subscribe, buy and pursue new work with us, if you’re inclined. That’d be helpful. More than that, let us know if you need something fixed or if you’ve got concerns. You’re not doing me or us a favor by keeping out of our way. The team is willing and eager to work with you!

All of this is undergirded by the fact that Barna Group aspires to play a key role in facilitating a faithful and fruitful Church, especially as we finish such a pivotal year. We consider it a privilege to serve Christian leaders who are trying to navigate change. And this has been a year unlike any other. I believe—our whole team believes—that a new future for the Church is bubbling up in all this crisis and chaos and loss that we’ve experienced. God is at work even and especially in 2020!

At Barna, our team of experts is well equipped to help Christian leaders understand the trends, know the people they are serving, measure their impact, strengthen their teams and discern best practices. These kinds of capabilities are going to be even more essential going forward.

While I am out, Todd White will serve as Barna’s interim president. He’s been our CFO for five years and my friend for 20+ years. In addition, Barna Group will be well supported by several key partners as well. Carey Nieuwhof will continue to host the ChurchPulse Weekly podcast. And we will also continue our partnership with Scott Beck and the awesome team at Gloo, which includes Barna Access Plus and more. These partners (and many others!) have sustained me personally and professionally this year. Now, Carey and Scott are committed to being there for me and for Barna as I take time off.

To be honest, it feels weird stepping back, slowing down and resting when there’s so much at stake for the Church. Yet I’ve come to realize with startling clarity that it’s exactly for this reason that rest and renewal are critical to me as a leader and for the long-term health of the company.

I am heartbroken at the loss of Jill. Beyond her investments in family, home, church and neighborhood, our marriage served as the foundation for 11 years of my leading Barna and 25 total years of my working here. Her death leaves a massive hole in that partnership.

Jill and I decided at the earliest hours of this wild ride—when we first discovered the brain tumor in 2017—that we’d live open and courageously, allowing most of the details of our journey to be “public.” We wanted our faith, strong at times and rickety at others, to be visible for others to see. I am humbled that she and I have been able to offer glimpses into the road of sorrow and suffering, so that Jesus would be glorified.

Despite all we’ve lost, I have deep confidence in the Lord. That today he’s preparing the way for the future Church. That he desires to take each of us even deeper toward himself. That Isaiah 61:3 can, indeed, be my portion and for all of us who have suffered much this year.

To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

The Lord has been comforting me with this scripture since Jill’s passing, and it’s my prayer for you as well.

With grief and gratitude,

David Kinnaman

November 2020

The post Jill Kinnaman’s Passing and What It Means for Barna Group appeared first on Barna Group.

Resilience amidst the pandemic

McCrindle - Thu, 19/11/2020 - 11:42am

The post Resilience amidst the pandemic appeared first on McCrindle.

Guest Column: Amy Crouch’s 3 Tips for Turning Boredom into Wonder

Barna - Wed, 18/11/2020 - 6:00pm

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “Gen Z?”

I bet it might have something to do with technology. As a 20-year-old, I know that my generation has developed a reputation for being obsessed with our phones and permanently glued to the Internet.

Would you be surprised to hear that I think my generation might be the start of a revolution in how we use technology—kicking off a thoughtful, wise approach to screens? In my experience, Gen Z is tired with the way our devices manipulate us. While we’re grateful for the help that our devices can bring, we are also concerned about the ways that screens are making us become more lonely, busy, and bored.

However, I’ve noticed that many of my peers are at a loss to respond to these problems. We don’t want to succumb to the pressures of tech, but many of us don’t know how to avoid it.

That’s why I wrote my new book, My Tech-Wise Life, to share my personal story of growing up in what my dad called a “tech-wise family” and encourage my generation to join me in facing technology with discernment, courage and joy.

Technology makes lots of promises, and I don’t believe it can fulfill all of them. Case in point: its promise to entertain us when we’re bored.

Netflix, YouTube, video games and even news websites are all centered around providing us with entertainment in dull hours. And I’m not surprised there’s such a demand; we all get bored sometimes, and it’s appealing to be able to turn on the TV or unlock our phones for endless entertainment.

But I’m worried that tech doesn’t actually fix our boredom. It only disguises it—and makes us more likely to get bored in the future.

Being bored typically results from too much familiarity. If the same thing has been going on for hours and days at a time, the activities we usually do feel too familiar. Tech is so amazing because it offers us something new every time we hit refresh. Its limitations seem endless, especially as it is impossible for anyone to consume all the content on the internet, no matter how long they live!

So, in a dull moment, it makes sense that we want something new and interesting. That’s what tech offers us.

But here’s the problem—leaning on our devices to help get us through unexciting moments actually makes it harder for us to avoid boredom. The real world will never be able to offer us that kind of interest. It’ll never give us as much flashy, on-demand newness as our devices. Tech wins in those comparisons.

But I don’t think that getting used to the pace of tech, rather than the embodied world, is good for our souls. The world is God’s creation! People are made in God’s image! I fear that tech is pushing us to be less content and less willing to rejoice in what God has made—who God is.

See, the real world isn’t actually boring. But it does require attention. Marvels don’t always jump out at us. Sometimes, we have to go on a detective hunt for joy.

I’m worried that tech makes us less likely to want to go on that detective hunt. But I don’t believe that the rewards of tech are as delightful as the rewards of the real world, because we’re made for the real world—created to experience it. Tech is a good thing, but it’s also human-created. It will never rival God’s own creation.

It’s time for us to embrace boredom. Beyond boredom lies wonder.

Here are my top tips for embracing boredom and rediscovering wonder on a regular basis.

1. Leave your phone behind as much as possible. When possible, don’t bring it along with you when you go out. When you’re home or visiting a friend, leave it out of sight and out of mind. For instance, I like to avoid bringing my phone to church. If I do bring it with me, I leave it in my coat pocket at the coatrack. In my experience, urgent and life-altering news rarely comes on a Sunday morning. Being forced to pay attention to the world around you yields delightful rewards.

2. Make time for regular silence and solitude in the natural world. We need to be cultivating the ability to seek out wonder and joy—that detective hunt I mentioned earlier. We need to work on being detectives and searching for the bright and beautiful. In light of this, I recommend setting aside some time to be silent and solitude in nature. Go for walks without your phone. Sit in silence outdoors. It’s deeply grounding. If you just have one tree in the square mile, find that tree. Sit beside it (or in it), take a deep breath and be still for a time.

3. Observe the Sabbath. Sabbath is good for us in a million ways, and its blessings extend to our use of tech. Turn off or withhold from technology and devices on the Sabbath as well. Instead of being distracted by devices, what could restorative rest look like for you? It may look like wonder—experiencing the world in its beauty and joy.

I truly believe that we need to take time to experience the real world—God’s creation—around us daily. The smell and sparkle of sunshine after a rainstorm, the lump in our throats when we hear tragic news, the way our heart swells when we’re hugged by someone we cherish. In-person presence with others is fundamentally different than maintaining connections via technology. Is it more difficult? Yes. But it is infinitely more rewarding.

Feature image by Pietro de Grandi on Unsplash.

The post Guest Column: Amy Crouch’s 3 Tips for Turning Boredom into Wonder appeared first on Barna Group.

Americans Most Thankful for and to Family This Thanksgiving

Lifeway Research - Wed, 18/11/2020 - 4:50am

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Even though the pandemic may change Thanksgiving celebrations this year, Americans still express thankfulness for their family and friends.

According to a survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research, more than 4 in 5 Americans (84%) say they are thankful for their family.

Sizable majorities also note being thankful for health (69%), friends (63%) and memories (63%).

Around half point to personal freedom (53%) and stability (47%). More than 2 in 5 are thankful for fun experiences (45%) and opportunities (42%).

A third of Americans will spend Thanksgiving being grateful for their achievements (33%), while 1 in 5 (21%) express thankfulness for their wealth.

The average person chose five things on the list for which they are thankful.

“In a year that has been difficult for most, Americans still express a lot of thanks,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “This year of loss and division does not mean people have an absence of good things for which to be grateful.”

Compared to a 2016 LifeWay Research survey, fewer Americans expressed thankfulness for almost all of the options.

Four years ago, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent social distancing guidelines and regulations, more Americans said they were thankful for health (77% to 69% in 2020) and personal freedom (72% to 53%).

Other choices that also saw significant decreases from 2016 to 2020 include friends (71% to 63%), opportunities (59% to 42%), fun experiences (53% to 45%), achievements (51% to 33%) and wealth (32% to 21%).

Compared to other Americans, those with evangelical beliefs are more likely to say they are thankful for family (90% to 82%), health (80% to 66%), personal freedoms (69% to 50%), memories (68% to 61%), stability (56% to 45%), opportunities (56% to 38%) and achievements (38% to 31%).

Thankful to whom?

When Americans give thanks on the last Thursday of November, most say they express their gratitude toward their family and God.

Around 2 in 3 say they typically give thanks to family (68%) and God (67%), while 42% say they are grateful to their friends.

Fewer say they are thankful to themselves (16%) and fate (10%). Even fewer say they don’t give thanks (4%).

“Giving someone else thanks is not a given on Thanksgiving,” said McConnell. “But four times as many people give thanks to family or God than choose to thank themselves.”

This year, both family and friends saw 11-point jumps from 2016 when 57% were thankful to family and 31% to friends.

Thankfulness to myself (8% in 2016 to 16%) and fate (4% to 10%) also grew substantially in the past four years.

The percentage of those who say they are thankful to God in 2020 (67%) is similar to that of 2016 (63%).

Among self-identified Christians, those who attend worship services weekly are the most likely to express thanksgiving toward God this time of year (94%).

Those with evangelical beliefs are more likely than other Americans to say they are thankful to God (96% to 60%).

Protestants (83%) are more likely than Catholics (72%) and those belonging to other religions (62%). A third of religiously unaffiliated Americans (32%) are grateful to God on Thanksgiving.

Younger Americans are more likely to say they are thankful to themselves than older Americans.

A quarter of those aged 18 to 34 (24%) and 19% of 35- to 49-year-olds say they thank themselves on Thanksgiving, compared to 9% of those aged 50 to 64 and 6% of Americans 65 and older.

Aaron Earls is online editor of Facts & Trends and a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.

Methodology:
The online survey of 1,200 Americans was conducted Sept. 9-23, 2020 using a national pre-recruited panel. Quotas and slight weights were used to balance gender, age, region, ethnicity, education and religion to more accurately reflect the population. The sample includes an over-sample of Americans with evangelical beliefs providing additional reliability for breakouts of this group. Totals for all Americans reduce these responses to their correct proportion through weighting.

The completed sample is 1,200 surveys. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error from the panel does not exceed plus or minus 3.2%. This margin of error accounts for the effect of weighting. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. Comparisons are made to a probability-based survey of 1,000 Americans Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 2016.

Evangelical beliefs are defined using the National Association of Evangelicals and LifeWay Research evangelical beliefs research definition based on respondent beliefs. Respondents are asked their level of agreement with four separate statements using a four-point, forced choice scale (strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree). Those who strongly agree with all four statements are categorized as having evangelical beliefs:

  • The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
  • It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
  • Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

Download the research

The post Americans Most Thankful for and to Family This Thanksgiving appeared first on LifeWay Research.

Guest Column: Carey Nieuwhof on Generational Preferences for In-Person Worship Post-COVID

Barna - Wed, 11/11/2020 - 6:00pm

The following is an excerpt from Carey Nieuwhof’s blog. To read the full story, click here.

So how many people are coming back to in-person gatherings when COVID is over?

Apparently fewer than you think. And fewer than you’d hope.

According to a recent Barna study, Six Questions About the Future of the Hybrid Church Experience, only 41 percent of Gen Z say that when COVID is over, they want to return to primarily in-person worship. 42 percent of Millennials say they prefer primarily in-person worship. Which means, of course, that the majority don’t.

Looking at this, it’s easy to think “Well, this is just an unprecedented year. Things will get back to normal soon.”

Maybe, except it’s hard to go back to normal when normal is disappearing.

The very low attendance numbers that many church leaders often dismiss as medical (i.e. caused by COVID) may actually be a much deeper cultural and generational shift than we realize.

A further drill down shows that parents are looking at hybrid options (combination of in person and digital) more seriously than non-parents. And that women are more open to digital church than men.

Crisis is an accelerator, and so many of the trends we’ve been seeing over the last few decades are now happening faster than ever, in real time.

The digital genie is out of the bottle.

Your church is still around. The Church is still around. It’s just  leaving the building.

Here’s the challenge with not changing: vaccines can’t solve cultural and generational shifts. Innovation will, but vaccines won’t.

Now, have a look at the chart above. You know who really desires physical gatherings?

Boomers.

Seventy-one percent of Boomers say they want primarily in-person church attendance after COVID is over. For Gen Z, only 41 percent prefer primarily physical gatherings in the future. That’s a 30-point gap.

A 30-point gap is a large gap… and here’s how it might be impacting your leadership.

First, the average senior pastor is a Boomer. According to a Barna survey, the average age of the senior pastors in America in 2017 was 54. That’s an almost four-year-old statistic, which would now push that average age into the late fifties.

Look at the composition of many church boards, senior leadership teams and key donors (or even volunteers), and you might get some group-think going based around your own personal preferences: doesn’t everybody want to come back to attend in person?  According to this research, that’s exactly how older adults would think.

Except it’s not reflective of anyone under age 55.

If you think Gen Z is an anomaly, again, look at the chart. Only a minority of Millennial, Gen Z— and even Gen X—want to primarily gather in person in the future.

The changes happening right now in church attendance preferences are not just cultural, they’re generational.

So what can you do?

First, get some young leaders around your table. Don’t just get them sharing opinions… get them making decisions.

Second, rethink the allocation of resources you’re spending on in-person gatherings versus online ministry. You’ll make your own choices, but most churches are spending less than 10% of their time and budget on the very thing that will probably give them the greatest potential for the future—a strong online presence.

In many ways, this confirms what you already know. Regular church attendance has been dropping for decades. The crisis appears to have accelerated that.

In person isn’t going away. But it likely won’t play the role it used to even as recently as a year ago.

If your mission is to fill buildings, then keep going with your current strategy. But if your mission is to reach people, it might be time to rethink things.

To read Carey Nieuwhof’s full blog post, click here.

To learn more about to learn more about Barna’s new journal, Six Questions About the Future of the Hybrid Church Experience, click here. Check out Barna’s Digital Church channel on Barna Access Plus to peruse a list of content specifically curated to help pastors and teams navigate the digital or hybrid church space they currently find themselves in.

Feature image by Daniel Morton on Unsplash.

The post Guest Column: Carey Nieuwhof on Generational Preferences for In-Person Worship Post-COVID appeared first on Barna Group.

Half of Pastors See Negative Economic Impact for Church

Lifeway Research - Wed, 11/11/2020 - 4:50am

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After a few years of economic optimism, pastors say the 2020 economy is hurting their congregation.

According to a new survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research, almost half of U.S. Protestant pastors (48%) say the current economy is negatively impacting their church, including 5% who say the impact is very negative.

Around 1 in 6 (15%) believe the economy has had a positive effect, including 4% saying it is having a very positive impact. More than a third of pastors (35%) say there’s been no impact.

Even with a 12-point jump from 2018 to 2019 (14% to 26%), perceptions of negative impact had been trending downward since 2010 when 80% of Protestant pastors said the economy was harming their church.

The 2020 negative numbers are the highest since January 2016, when 51% of pastors said the economy was hurting their church.

“The recovery from the last recession was slow for many churches,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “Even in a good economy, it can be easy to focus on external factors that are hurting your church’s finances. Clearly, many pastors are seeing the recession in 2020 impacting their church.”

Giving levels

Most Protestant pastors say giving has been at or below 2019 levels, as well as at or below their budget for this year. Around a third report giving levels lower than last year and lower than their current budget.

For close to half of churches (45%), giving in 2020 has been about what was budgeted. A third (33%) say it is lower than budgeted, while 21% say giving has been higher.

When compared to 2019, 35% say giving has dropped this year, 32% say it is the same, and 29% say it is above last year’s levels.

Those numbers accelerate a downward giving trend that began last year.

In 2018, LifeWay Research found 42% of pastors said their offerings were up, 37% said giving was the same, and 15% said it was below 2017.

Those number worsened slightly in 2019 when LifeWay Research found 37% said giving was up, 37% said it was the same, and 21% said it was below 2018 levels.

“2018 looks like as good as it gets for positive economic impacts for churches,” said McConnell. “People quickly got used to improved take-home pay from tax changes and were seeing flat wages meaning 2019 was more difficult for churchgoers to maintain 2018 giving. Now in 2020, a recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has set a third of churches behind their 2019 giving.”

When asked about the specific percentage change from 2019 to 2020, 8% of Protestant pastors say their giving is down by 25% or more, 18% say it dropped between 10% and 24%, and 7% say it was a small drop of 1% to 9%.

Of those who say their giving increased in 2020, most say it went up a small amount. Around 1 in 8 pastors (12%) say giving was up by less than 10%, while 13% say giving was up between 10% and 24%. Few (3%) say giving at their church increased by 25% or more this year.

Negative impact felt more strongly by some

Some churches are faring worse in giving than others in 2020. Minority led, mainline and smaller congregations are more likely to say they’ve felt the brunt of the declining economy.

African American pastors are the most likely to say the economy is having a very negative impact on their church (20%).

African American pastors are also more likely to say their giving is lower than budgeted (48%) and below 2019 levels (50%) than white pastors, among whom 31% report giving below budget and 34% who say offerings are down from last year.

Evangelical pastors are more likely than their mainline counterparts to say giving in 2020 is higher than budgeted (23% to 14%). Similarly, evangelical pastors are more likely than mainline pastors to say giving is above 2019’s offerings (32% to 19%).

Pastors of churches with worship service attendance of 250 or more are more likely than pastors of churches with fewer than 50 people to say their giving is up from 2019 (32% to 23%)

“The economic impact of COVID-19 has been very uneven, and that includes churches,” said McConnell. “The types of churches that are most likely to be struggling financially are also the most likely to have not gathered in person in September. The exception is larger churches, but they were most likely to have less than 30% of their pre-COVID attendance in person.”

Aaron Earls is online editor of Facts & Trends and a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.

Methodology:
The mixed mode survey of 1,007 Protestant pastors was conducted Sept. 2 – Oct. 1, 2020 using both phone and online interviews. Phone: The calling list was a stratified random sample, drawn from a list of all Protestant churches. Quotas were used for church size. Online: Invitations were emailed to the LifeWay Research Pastor Panel followed by three reminders. This probability sample of Protestant churches was created by phone recruiting by LifeWay Research using random samples selected from all Protestant churches. Pastors who agree to be contacted by email for future surveys make up this LifeWay Research Pastor Panel.

Each survey was completed by the senior or sole pastor or a minister at the church. Responses were weighted by region and church size to more accurately reflect the population. The completed sample is 1,007 surveys (502 by phone, 505 online). The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 3.4%. This margin of error accounts for the effect of weighting. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

Comparisons are also made to the following telephone surveys using random sampling:

  • 1,002 pastors conducted Nov. 5-12, 2009
  • 1,000 pastors conducted March 1-9, 2010
  • 1,000 pastors conducted Oct. 7-14, 2010
  • 1,002 pastors conducted Jan. 17-27, 2011
  • 1,000 pastors conducted May 18-25, 2011
  • 1,000 pastors conducted May 23-31, 2012
  • 1,000 pastors conducted Sept. 11-18, 2014
  • 1,000 pastors conducted Jan. 8-22, 2016
  • 1,000 pastors conducted Aug. 29 – Sept. 11, 2018
  • 1,000 pastors conducted Aug. 30 – Sept. 24, 2019

Pastors Sept 2020 Economy-offerings Report

The post Half of Pastors See Negative Economic Impact for Church appeared first on LifeWay Research.

More Pastors Endorsing Candidates Apart From Church Role

Lifeway Research - Wed, 28/10/2020 - 3:50am

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Few pastors make political endorsements from the pulpit, but a growing number publicly back candidates when they step away from their church role.

Among U.S. Protestant pastors, 1% say they have publicly endorsed a candidate for public office during a church service this year, while 98% have not, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research. Those numbers are unchanged from a 2016 LifeWay Research study.

Around a third of pastors (32%), however, say they have personally endorsed political candidates this year outside of their church role. That marks a 10-point jump from 2016 when 22% of Protestant pastors made an endorsement.

While the percentage of pastors endorsing politicians has increased in the last four years, most still avoid publicly backing specific candidates, even apart from their role in church. In 2020, 65% say they have not endorsed a politician. Three-quarters (77%) said the same in 2016.

“Pastors are more decided on who they are voting for in 2020, so it’s not surprising that more pastors have shared their opinions with others personally,” said Scott McConnell executive director of LifeWay Research. “The candidates endorsed by pastors may be local, state or national. But those who do so in an official church capacity are a rare exception.”

While the endorsements could have been for a candidate of any political office, pastors who say they are voting for Donald Trump are more likely to say they have made a political endorsement outside of church (45%).

Pastors voting for Joe Biden (34%) and those undecided (10%) are less likely to have personally endorsed a politician away from their church role.

In one area of political activism, Biden-voting pastors are more likely to participate—registering voters.

Around a quarter of Protestant pastors (26%) say their church has worked to get people registered to vote in this year’s election. Pastors voting for Biden are more likely to say they have done this than pastors voting for Trump (34% to 22%).

American views on church and pastor endorsements

Few want churches making official political endorsements or pastors doing so during a church service, but Americans are split on the appropriateness of pastors endorsing a candidate outside of their congregational duties.

Around 3 in 10 American adults (29%) say they are fine with churches making public endorsements of politicians. More than half (57%) are opposed.

Close to half (45%) believe churches that publicly endorse candidates for public office should lose their tax exemption. Three in 10 (32%) disagree.

A quarter of Americans (24%) believe it is appropriate for churches to use their resources to campaign for candidates. Almost two-thirds (63%) are opposed.

Support for churches using their resources during campaigns has grown slightly in the past 12 years. In 2008, 13% saw it as appropriate, while 17% did so in 2015, according to two previous LifeWay Research surveys conducted by phone.

“Americans prefer for churches to remain religious sanctuaries rather than political rallies,” said McConnell. “While church support for politicians is seen as improper by most, Americans are less supportive of legal ramifications for such acts.”

One in 4 American adults (24%) believe it is appropriate for a pastor to publicly endorse candidates for public office during a church service. Six in 10 (61%) disagree, with 47% saying they strongly disagree.

Yet opposition to pastoral endorsements during services has steadily declined since 2008. Twelve years ago, 86% expressed opposition, while 79% did so in 2015, according to the previous LifeWay Research studies.

The public is more divided over the appropriateness of pastors endorsing politicians away from their church role.

More than 2 in 5 Americans (43%) see no problems with pastoral endorsements as long as they are outside their church role, while slightly fewer (39%) say such a move is inappropriate. One in 5 (19%) aren’t sure.

“It may be hard for some Americans to ever see a pastor as being outside of their church role,” said McConnell. “While every American is entitled to their political opinion, some people struggle to separate such personal comments from a pastor’s religious office. Opposition to politically inclined pastors is not surprising considering 24% of Americans say all Christians should be silent on politics.”

Americans with evangelical beliefs and those who regularly attend church tend to be among those more supportive of mixing church and politics.

When asked about churches endorsing candidates, those with evangelical beliefs are more likely to be supportive (41%) than those without such beliefs (26%). Catholics (36%) are also more likely to allow church endorsements than Protestants (29%) and those who are religiously unaffiliated (19%).

Christians who attend a church worship service once a month or more are also more likely to see such endorsements as appropriate (38%) than all other Americans (24%).

Regular Christian churchgoers and those with evangelical beliefs are also more likely than their counterparts to see nothing wrong with pastors endorsing a candidate during a church service, pastors making an endorsement outside their church role, and churches using their resources to campaign for candidates.

African Americans are more likely to believe it is appropriate for churches to publicly endorse candidates (38%) than whites (28%) or other ethnicities (24%).

Party divides

As with pastors supporting the president’s reelection, Americans voting for Trump are more likely than others to see nothing wrong with pastoral and church involvement in political races. The same is true for Republicans compared to Democrats.

Two in 5 Trump voters (39%) believe churches who publicly endorse candidates are acting appropriately, compared to 27% of those planning to vote for Biden and 18% of undecided voters.

Half of Americans voting for Trump (52%) see no problem with pastors endorsing candidates away from the church. Two in 5 Biden voters (40%) and 36% of undecided voters agree.

Meanwhile, those supporting Biden are more likely to believe churches who publicly endorse candidates should lose their tax-exempt status (58%) than Trump voters (39%) or undecided voters (32%).

“When it comes to churches and clergy, the political activities that most concern Americans are also the least practiced,” said McConnell. “But there is not complete agreement across different groups about what is right.”

Aaron Earls is online editor of Facts & Trends and a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.

Methodology
The online survey of 1,200 Americans was conducted Sept. 9-23, 2020 using a national pre-recruited panel. Quotas and slight weights were used to balance gender, age, region, ethnicity, education and religion to more accurately reflect the population. The sample includes an over-sample of Americans with evangelical beliefs providing additional reliability for breakouts of this group. Totals for all Americans reduce these responses to their correct proportion through weighting.

The completed sample is 1,200 surveys. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error from the panel does not exceed plus or minus 3.2%. This margin of error accounts for the effect of weighting. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. Data is also shown from phone surveys (random digit dial) conducted by LifeWay Research Sept. 14-28, 2015 and June 12-14, 2008 of 1,000 Americans.

Evangelical beliefs are defined using the National Association of Evangelicals and LifeWay Research Evangelical Beliefs Research Definition based on respondent beliefs. Respondents are asked their level of agreement with four separate statements using a four-point, forced choice scale (strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree). Those who strongly agree with all four of the following statements are categorized as having evangelical beliefs:

  • The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
  • It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
  • Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

Download the research (pastors)
Download the research (Americans)

The post More Pastors Endorsing Candidates Apart From Church Role appeared first on LifeWay Research.

Housing change on the horizon

McCrindle - Fri, 23/10/2020 - 11:00am

The post Housing change on the horizon appeared first on McCrindle.

Pages