WANT AN ADDED TREAT THIS HALLOWEEN? TRY CHURCH, SAY AMERICA’S PASTORS

By Bob Smietana
Lifeway Research

161026halloweenNASHVILLE, Tenn. — This Halloween, millions of Americans will carve pumpkins, dress up in costumes, decorate their yards, and gobble down the candy they get while trick-or-treating.

America’s preachers also hope they’ll consider coming to church, according to a new phone survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

Two-thirds of Protestant pastors say they encourage church members to ask their neighbors to a church-related event like a fall fair or trunk-or-treat. [Read more…]

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EVANGELICAL DIVIDE SEEN IN ELECTION

Baptist Press

161021evangelicalsNASHVILLE — Americans with evangelical beliefs share a great deal in common. They trust in Jesus alone, evangelize their neighbors, and believe the Bible is the final authority in their lives.

But when it comes to voting, race and political affiliation still divide evangelicals, according to a survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research taken just before the second presidential debate. [Read more…]

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STUDY SHOWS AMERICANS FUZZY ON THEOLOGY

By Bob Smietana
Baptist Press

161019sin-survey1NASHVILLE — Americans apparently don’t know much about theology, according to a study released Sept. 28. Most say God wrote the Bible. But they’re not sure everything in it is true.

Six in 10 say everyone eventually goes to heaven, but half say only those who believe in Jesus will be saved. And while 7 in 10 say there’s only one true God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — two-thirds say God accepts worship of all faiths. [Read more…]

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TBC MINISTERS’ SALARIES ABOVE AVERAGE

Baptist and Reflector

 Office and Custodial Personnel: Compensation = Salary (Part-time salary is calibrated to reflect 50 weeks per year at median number of hours: 18) Pay Package* = Salary + Retirement Benefits Paid by the Church + Insurance Paid by the Church *The Employer portion of Social Security is not included in the figure for Pay Package. The study assumes that the church pays the Employer portion of Social Security for these employees. Ministerial Personnel (Non-Ordained Ministers): Compensation = Salary (Part-time salary is calibrated to reflect 50 weeks per year at median number of hours: 10) Pay Package** = Salary + Retirement Benefits Paid by the Church + Insurance Paid by the Church **The Employer portion of Social Security is not included in the figure for Pay Package. The study assumes that the church pays the Employer portion of Social Security for these employees. Ministerial Personnel (Ordained Ministers): Compensation = Salary + Housing Allowance + Fair Rental Value of Church-owned Housing + Utilities for Church-owned Housing (Part-time salary is calibrated to reflect 50 weeks per year at median number of hours: 20) Pay Package*** = Salary + Housing Allowance + Fair Rental Value of Church-owned Housing + Utilities on Church-owned Housing + Social Security Equivalent + Retirement Benefits Paid by the Church + Insurance Paid by the Church ***While the Social Security Equivalent could be included with compensation since it is taxable, the Compensation Study has chosen for a number of years to treat the Social Security Equivalent as a benefit so as to be consistent with the general treatment of Social Security for non-ministers. It is suggested the church pay the same percentage for Social Security for the minister that they would pay for a non-minister. Thus it should be budgeted and classified the same way as the regular FICA employer Social Security for non-ministers. The only difference for ministers is that it does become taxable. This study assumes all ministry-related expenses are paid by the church using an accountable reimbursement plan and are NOT INCLUDED in the “Pay Package.” These include travel expense; expenses for conventions and continuing education; expenses for ministry-related books and periodicals; and ministry-related hospitality expenses. Amounts paid to cover these ministry-related expenses are IN ADDITION TO the above amounts. Report Date: 9/26/2016

Office and Custodial Personnel:
Compensation = Salary (Part-time salary is calibrated to reflect 50 weeks per year at median number of hours: 18)
Pay Package* = Salary + Retirement Benefits Paid by the Church + Insurance Paid by the Church
*The Employer portion of Social Security is not included in the figure for Pay Package. The study assumes that the church pays the Employer portion of Social Security for these employees.Ministerial Personnel (Non-Ordained Ministers):
Compensation = Salary (Part-time salary is calibrated to reflect 50 weeks per year at median number of hours: 10)
Pay Package** = Salary + Retirement Benefits Paid by the Church + Insurance Paid by the Church
**The Employer portion of Social Security is not included in the figure for Pay Package. The study assumes that the church pays the Employer portion of Social Security for these employees.
Ministerial Personnel (Ordained Ministers):

Compensation = Salary + Housing Allowance + Fair Rental Value of Church-owned Housing + Utilities for Church-owned Housing (Part-time salary is calibrated to reflect 50 weeks per year at median number of hours: 20)
Pay Package*** = Salary + Housing Allowance + Fair Rental Value of Church-owned Housing + Utilities on Church-owned Housing + Social Security Equivalent + Retirement Benefits Paid by the Church + Insurance Paid by the Church
***While the Social Security Equivalent could be included with compensation since it is taxable, the Compensation Study has chosen for a number of years to treat the Social Security Equivalent as a benefit so as to be consistent with the general treatment of Social Security for non-ministers. It is suggested the church pay the same percentage for Social Security for the minister that they would pay for a non-minister. Thus it should be budgeted and classified the same way as the regular FICA employer Social Security for non-ministers. The only difference for ministers is that it does become taxable.

This study assumes all ministry-related expenses are paid by the church using an accountable reimbursement plan and are NOT INCLUDED in the “Pay Package.” These include travel expense; expenses for conventions and continuing education; expenses for ministry-related books and periodicals; and ministry-related hospitality expenses. Amounts paid to cover these ministry-related expenses are IN ADDITION TO the above amounts.

Report Date: 9/26/2016

BRENTWOOD — The average compensation (salary and housing) and pay packages for senior pastors and staff ministers in Tennessee Baptist Convention churches exceeds the national average in most categories.

The 2016 SBC Church Compensation Study, a joint project of state Baptist conventions, GuideStone Financial Resources, and LifeWay Christian Resources, was released in early September. The biannual study collects compensation and congregational data anonymously from ministers and office/custodial personnel of SBC churches and missions. [Read more…]

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MOVIE’S TICKET SALES TOP $1 MILLION

Baptist Press

-LifeWay Films

-LifeWay Films

NASHVILLE — Ticket sales for an encore showing of “The Insanity of God” in theaters Tuesday, Sept. 13, pushed box office receipts to $1.1 million.

“Due to the success of the film’s two one-night theater showings,” Trey Reynolds, manager of LifeWay Films, said, “we are planning a church simulcast for the film the first or second week of November, with a consumer DVD and church license DVD to be released Nov. 21.”

The feature documentary film produced by the International Mission Board and Cooke Pictures and distributed by LifeWay Films tells the story of missionaries Nik and Ruth Ripken. After the death of their son, the couple traveled to 72 countries, into the depths of the persecuted church, to find out if God actually makes a difference in difficult places.

The film is based on a best-selling book of the same name  from B&H Publishing Group.  

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LIFEWAY STUDY: SKIP ENDORSEMENTS IN CHURCH

By Bob Smeitana
Baptist Press

160920endorsementsNASHVILLE — Since the 1950s, the IRS has banned preachers from endorsing candidates during church services. According to a new study, most Americans seem to like it that way.

Eight in 10 (79 percent) say it is inappropriate for pastors to endorse a candidate in church. Three-quarters say churches should steer clear of endorsements. Yet fewer than half want churches to be punished if they do endorse candidates. Those are among the findings in a new report on religion and politics from LifeWay Research.

Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, says there’s little enthusiasm for political endorsement by pastors or churches.

“Americans already argue about politics enough outside the church,” McConnell said. “They don’t want pastors bringing those arguments into worship.” [Read more…]

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IMMIGRATION: A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

By Rondell Treviño
Evangelical Immigration Table

silhouette-man-behind-fenceAs Christians, we know the Bible is the breathed out Word of God (II Timothy 3:16), and our blueprint on how to morally live vertically in relationship to God and horizontally in relationship to others in the world. We know God Himself has graciously given us the Bible, comprised of 66 books filled with more than 750,000 inspired and relevant words so we might be informed on a plethora of topics, one being immigration.

Therefore, when it comes to the hot topic of immigration in the United States, which has dominated a huge portion of this election season, one of the healthiest things we can do as Christians is simply open up the Bible and see what God has to say about it. Now, although we have the right to have different perspectives on immigration politically and economically, we must seek to have a biblical perspective, first.  [Read more…]

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LIFEWAY PROVIDING ASSISTANCE TO FLOOD-RAVAGED LOUISIANA

By Aaron Earls
LifeWay Christian Resources

As Louisiana recovers from historic flooding, LifeWay Christian Resources wants to help churches, pastors and other victims. Part of the effort includes restoring Bible study material and pastoral libraries lost in the floodwaters. -Photo provided by Baptist Message.

As Louisiana recovers from historic flooding, LifeWay Christian Resources wants to help churches, pastors and other victims. Part of the effort includes restoring Bible study material and pastoral libraries lost in the floodwaters.
-Photo provided by Baptist Message.

NASHVILLE (BP) — As Louisiana recovers from historic flooding, LifeWay Christian Resources wants to help churches, pastors and other victims.

Part of the effort includes restoring Bible study material and pastoral libraries lost in the floodwaters.

“LifeWay provides biblical solutions for life,” said Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. “We want to support these pastors and churches during the good times, but even more during the difficult times. Replacing some of what was lost is a way for LifeWay to stand with pastors and churches through these heartbreaking circumstances.” [Read more…]

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WHAT ARE YOU TALKING TO OTHERS ABOUT?

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Lonnie-WilkeyPeople love to talk, whether it is at home, work, or church. But what are we talking about?

According to a survey recently conducted by LifeWay Research, six in 10 Americans prefer to talk about politics instead of God. The numbers do improve for evangelical Christians. Research shows that Christians prefer talking about God over politics by a 2-to-1 margin.

Scott McConnell, a member of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage, and the head of LifeWay Research, observes that “people tend to discuss the things that matter most to them. For evangelicals, that is their faith,” he suggested.

But do we (Christians) really talk about our faith as much as we should?

Other than at church and occasionally with friends, my best guess is we don’t talk about our faith nearly as much as we should. [Read more…]

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AMERICANS PREFER TO TALK ABOUT POLITICS RATHER THAN GOD

By Bob Smietana
LifeWay Research

160803religion-politics1NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Politics trumps God for most Americans when it comes to conversations with their friends.

Six in 10 Americans are more comfortable talking about politics than their spiritual beliefs. And most say they aren’t interested in having more spiritual conversations.

By contrast, evangelical Christians prefer talking about God over politics by a 2-to-1 margin.

Those are among the findings of an online survey of 1,004 Americans about their views on spirituality and politics from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said Americans like to talk about both politics and religion, which are sometimes considered off limits in polite conversation. But they often prefer one to the other.

“People tend to discuss the things that matter most to them,” he said. “For evangelicals, that is their faith.” [Read more…]

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