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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.

Few Churches Back to Pre-COVID Attendance Levels

Lifeway Research - Wed, 21/10/2020 - 3:50am

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The vast majority of U.S. Protestant churches say they are holding in-person services, but churchgoers have yet to attend in the numbers they did before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

According to the latest survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research, 87% of Protestant pastors in the U.S. say their church met in person in September, while 13% did not hold physical gatherings.

Since the beginning of March, LifeWay Research has been tracking how COVID-19 is affecting churches. While few Protestant churches gathered physically in April, most began meeting in person again by May with more than 7 in 10 pastors saying they did so in July.

“More and more churches across the U.S. have found ways to meet again, but things are not back to normal,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “The impact of regulations, caution and hardships mean more than 1 in 10 churches are still not meeting in person for any type of worship service. Churches are living organisms, and when more than a third of their members are missing, they are not whole.”

A majority of African American Protestant pastors (60%) say their congregations did not meet in person last month.

Mainline pastors (31%) are more likely than evangelical pastors (7%) to say they did not physically gather in September. Denominationally, Methodists (22%) and Presbyterian/Reformed (23%) are more likely to say they did not meet in person than Lutherans (12%), pastors in the Restorationist movement (10%) or Baptists (9%).

Pandemic attendance

Social distancing may be easier in churches, as most pastors say their congregation has less than 70% of their pre-COVID crowds.

One in 10 churches (9%) say their attendance in September was less than 30% of what it was in February before the pandemic spread to the U.S. Another 20% say attendance was between 30% and less than 50% of what it was.

A third of pastors (34%) say it has reached 50% to less than 70% of previous levels. For 1 in 5 (21%) attendance is between 70% to less than 90%.

Few pastors say attendance is close to what it was earlier in the year. One in 10 pastors (11%) say September’s attendance was 90% to 100% of February’s, while 4% say their current attendance is more than what it was pre-COVID.

“In most churches, there is definitely room to spread out,” said McConnell. “It would not be surprising for 30% or more of a congregation to be in a ‘high-risk’ group needing to continue to take precautions. Since some at-risk members are attending, it only highlights further that there are also churchgoers who have resumed other activities without returning to church.”

Prior to the pandemic, 45% of pastors say their typical weekend worship service attendance was less than 100. Now, almost 3 in 4 pastors (72%) find themselves with a worship service crowd below triple digits.

In February, 20% of Protestant churches had crowds topping 250 people. In September, only 6% drew attendance levels that high.

Pastors of churches that were drawing more than 250 in February are the most likely to say their current attendance is less than 30% of what it was earlier this year.

“Since many large churches are not used to functioning with so few people, they may need to reconnect with small churches in their area for ideas. Churches of all sizes have much more in common this year and likely can be learning from each other,” said McConnell.

Long-term consequences

Many pastors may not know the extent to which the pandemic has altered their church for months or years to come, but some say it has already brought long-term changes.

The most common shift pastors had to make due to COVID-19 was delaying a large planned capital expense, with 12% of pastors saying they had to put off a construction project or similar expenditure.

Some churches (8%) say they were forced to delete a ministry. Overall, 2% of pastors say they cut their outreach ministry, 2% got rid of their children’s ministry, 2% stopped Sunday School or small groups, 1% ended student ministry, and 1% deleted other service times like Wednesday and Sunday nights.

Church staff were impacted at some congregations, as 6% of pastors say their church reduced the pay or benefits for staff members, and 6% say they were forced to delete a staff position. African American pastors are the most likely to say they had to cut staff pay or benefits (21%) and delete positions (18%).

Another 6% of pastors say they reduced giving levels to their denomination, while 5% stopped supporting a missionary or outside ministry.

Still, almost 3 in 4 Protestant pastors (73%) say their congregation has avoided any of these long-term issues to this point.

“Most churches have not had to make drastic cuts to their ministry to this point, but the effects of the pandemic are also not over,” said McConnell. “From pastors’ perspectives, some of the suspended ministry activities already feel long term even if they hope to resume those activities soon.”

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. For phone interviews, the calling list was a stratified random sample, drawn from a list of all Protestant churches. Quotas were used for church size. For online interviews, 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.

Download the research

The post Few Churches Back to Pre-COVID Attendance Levels appeared first on LifeWay Research.

Half of U.S. Protestant Pastors Back Trump

Lifeway Research - Wed, 14/10/2020 - 3:50am

By Aaron Earls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Almost all Protestant pastors plan to participate in the 2020 election, but around a quarter still haven’t decided who will get their presidential vote.

In the latest election survey, Nashville-based LifeWay Research found 98% of Protestant pastors in the U.S. say they plan to vote in the presidential election.

When they cast their ballot, 53% of pastors likely to vote say they plan to do so for Donald Trump. Around 1 in 5 (21%) say they are voting for Joe Biden. A similar percentage (22%) say they are still undecided. About 4% say they are voting for a different candidate.

“Pastors vote like any other American,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “The large number of pastors who are still undecided may reflect difficulty in finding a candidate who aligns with their overall beliefs. Also, some pastors are intensely private about their political preferences and may prefer to respond ‘undecided’ than to even confidentially share their voting intentions.”

Presidential votes

Compared to 2016, the president has much higher levels of support among pastors this year.

In a 2016 LifeWay Research survey, 40% of pastors were undecided midway through September. Around a third supported Trump (32%). Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party nominee, garnered 19%, while Libertarian Gary Johnson had 4%.

For the 2020 election, support for the Democratic and third-party candidates remains similar, but around half of the number of undecided pastors in 2016 now say they will vote for Trump.

“There were a lot of unknowns in 2016, including Trump being an outsider candidate and little sense of how others would respond to supporting his candidacy,” said McConnell. “Pastors know their options for 2020, and a majority are willing to vote for him.”

Among self-identified evangelical pastors, Trump’s support is similar to that of evangelicals across the country. Almost 7 in 10 evangelical pastors (68%) say they plan to vote for the president, compared to 20% of mainline pastors. In a recent LifeWay Research survey, 6 in 10 Americans who hold evangelical beliefs (61%) pick Trump over Biden (29%).

Among African American pastors, 61% choose Biden, while 6% say they plan to vote for Trump. Younger pastors, age 18 to 44, are the least likely age demographic to back the president for reelection (41%).

Denominationally, Pentecostal (70%) and Baptist pastors (67%) are more likely to vote for Trump than pastors in the Restorationist movement (49%), Lutherans (43%), Presbyterian/Reformed (24%) or Methodists (22%).

The same percentage of Protestant pastors in the U.S. and American evangelicals by belief identify as Republican (51%). Around 1 in 6 pastors (16%) say they are a Democrat, while 23% see themselves as an independent.

Both major party presidential candidates retain the support of pastors who identify with their party. More than 4 in 5 Democratic pastors (85%) plan to vote for Biden. Similarly, 81% of Republican pastors support Trump.

Motivating issues

Unlike Americans with evangelical beliefs, Protestant pastors say abortion and religious liberty are two of the most important issues driving their presidential choice this November.

When asked which characteristics of the candidates are important in deciding how to vote, clear majorities of pastors say the candidate’s position on abortion (70%), their ability to protect religious freedom (65%) and their likely Supreme Court nominees (62%) are key factors.

Close to half point to an ability to improve the economy (54%), ability to maintain national security (54%), personal character (53%), their position on immigration (51%), ability to address racial injustice (51%) and their position on the size and role of government (47%).

Around a third (35%) say the candidate’s ability to slow the spread of COVID-19 is important.

Pastors also selected the single issue most important to determining their vote. Only the candidate’s position on abortion (25%), their personal character (22%), ability to protect religious freedom (16%) or likely Supreme Court nominees (10%) are seen as the primary issue by at least 1 in 10 Protestant pastors.

In a recent LifeWay survey of all Americans, voters with evangelical beliefs are most likely to point to an ability to improve the economy (22%) and an ability to slow the spread of COVID (16%) as the primary issue in deciding their presidential vote. Fewer say abortion (11%) or religious freedom (11%) are their primary issue.

“A microcosm of the national debate about COVID-19 has been directed at pastors this year as they have made decisions about necessary precautions for their own church,” said McConnell. “Despite the drastic changes the pandemic has caused to ministry and church practices, most pastors give much higher priority to other national concerns than a candidate’s ability to slow the spread of this virus.”

Evangelical and mainline pastors have different values they believe are important in this election.

Protestant pastors who identify as evangelical are more likely than mainline pastors to see as important in determining their vote: abortion (82% to 38%), protection of religious freedom (72% to 41%), likely Supreme Court nominees (70% to 53%), maintaining national security (58% to 47%) and the size and role of government (52% to 36%).

Mainline pastors, on the other hand, are more likely than their evangelical counterparts to say addressing racial injustice (73% to 44%), the candidate’s personal character (73% to 46%) and slowing the spread of COVID-19 (55% to 28%) are a key part of their presidential choice.

In terms of the most important issue in determining their vote, evangelical pastors are more likely than mainline pastors to say abortion (33% to 5%), while mainline pastors are more likely to point to personal character as the most vital issue in this election. (44% to 14%).

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

Methodology:
The mixed mode survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors was conducted Sept. 2 to Oct. 1, 2020 using both phone and online interviews. For phone interviews, the calling list was a stratified random sample, drawn from a list of all Protestant churches. Quotas were used for church size. For online interviews, 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.

Download the research

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What is enlarging leadership?

McCrindle - Thu, 08/10/2020 - 11:57am

The post What is enlarging leadership? appeared first on McCrindle.

In U.S. and UK, Globalization Leaves Some Feeling ‘Left Behind’ or ‘Swept Up’

Pew Research - Tue, 06/10/2020 - 2:49am

Focus groups held across the two nations reveal the degree to which Americans and Britons see common challenges to local and national identity.

The post In U.S. and UK, Globalization Leaves Some Feeling ‘Left Behind’ or ‘Swept Up’ appeared first on Pew Research Center.

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