POLL: GENDER CHANGE NOT A MORAL ISSUE

Baptist Press

NASHVILLE — Most Americans see nothing morally wrong with gender change, a study released July 14 shows.

Six in 10 Americans don’t think it’s wrong for people to identify with a gender different from their birth sex, according to a LifeWay Research survey conducted Sept. 14-28, 2015.

And more than half don’t think it’s wrong to switch genders by taking hormones or having surgery.

The findings indicate most Americans don’t see moral significance in being born male or female, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. A majority of Americans reject the view of a creator giving them a gender that shouldn’t be changed,” he said.

“We freely change many things about ourselves — we have cosmetic surgery, we use teeth whitener, we dye our hair, we get tattoos. Many Americans view gender as one more thing on that list.”

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PASTORS FAVOR PATRIOTISM FOR JULY FOURTH SERVICES

By Carol Pipes
LifeWay Facts & Trends

thanksgiving1NASHVILLE – Americans who attend a Protestant worship service the week of July Fourth are likely to get a good dose of God and country.

Six in 10 Protestant pastors (61 percent) say it’s important for July Fourth worship services to incorporate patriotic elements to celebrate America, according to a survey by Nashville-based LifeWay Research. And while they plan to celebrate the birth of the nation, more than half (53 percent) agree their congregation sometimes seems to love America more than God.

Most of the 1,000 Protestant pastors surveyed say their church will change its worship service to acknowledge America’s Independence Day. Two-thirds (66 percent) plan to include special music honoring America. Sixty-two percent each say they will recognize living veterans and those with family currently serving in the armed forces. Fifty-three percent will recognize families who have lost loved ones in service to our country. [Read more…]

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STUDY: UNCHURCHED WILL TALK ABOUT FAITH

Baptist Press

160630lifeway1NASHVILLE (BP) — Americans who don’t go to church are happy to talk about religion and often think about the meaning of life, according to a new study released today (June 28).

They’re also open to taking part in community service events hosted at a church or going to a church concert, the research revealed. But only about a third say they’d be interested in going to a worship service, and few think about what happens after they die.

Those are among the findings of a new online survey of 2,000 unchurched Americans from LifeWay Research. The survey, conducted in partnership with the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., found more than half of Americans who don’t go to church identify as Christians.

But they are mostly indifferent to organized religion, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

“Unchurched Americans aren’t hostile to faith,” he said. “They just don’t think church is for them.” [Read more…]

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BILLY GRAHAM STATUE TO BE MOVED TO N.C.

Baptist Press

160616graham-statueNASHVILLE — LifeWay Christian Resources is moving a larger-than-life statue of Southern Baptist evangelist Billy Graham from its downtown Nashville location to a LifeWay retreat center in the North Carolina mountains, a few miles from Graham’s home. The move is prompted by last year’s sale of LifeWay’s 15-acre Nashville campus.

The statue has been on its present site since 2006.

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NUMBER OF SBC, TBC CHURCHES INCREASE

By Carol Pipes, Editor, Facts & Trends at LifeWay Christian Resources
and By Lonnie Wilkey, Editor, Baptist and Reflector

160614churchesNASHVILLE — Southern Baptists as a whole and Tennessee Baptists in general may find cause for hope in the latest Annual Church Profile report.

Both the Southern Baptist Convention and Tennessee Baptist Convention added more churches in 2015, due mostly to church planting efforts. Churches also experienced an increase in total giving.

However, according to the Annual Church Profile (ACP) compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources in cooperation with state conventions, other key measures declined. Those included membership, average worship attendance, baptisms, and missions giving. [Read more…]

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PRISON MINISTRY FOCUS AMONG PASTORS, CHURCHES STUDIED

Baptist Press

160602prison1NASHVILLE (BP) — While most Protestant pastors visit correctional facilities and want to help prisoners and their families, their churches often lack the training or finances to run an effective prison ministry.

Those are among the findings of a new phone survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors from LifeWay Research.

Researchers found widespread support among pastors for the idea of prison ministry. Eighty-three percent of pastors have visited a correctional facility. And nearly all believe churches should help families of those incarcerated (97 percent) and provide care for those getting out of jail (95 percent). [Read more…]

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EZELL, RAINER APPOINT DISCIPLE-MAKING TASK FORCE

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, and Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, have appointed a task force on disciple-making.

Consisting of Southern Baptist pastors, the task force will recommend steps that churches can take to improve their disciple-making process and spark a disciple-making movement throughout the Southern Baptist Convention.

Robby Gallaty

Robby Gallaty

“This group will suggest a transferrable process that any church can use in any context,” Ezell said. “The priority will be leading people to the Gospel and then putting them on a pathway toward spiritual growth and maturity.”

Rainer is hopeful that the task force’s recommendations will help churches make the transition to more effective discipleship. [Read more…]

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PASTORS: THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMPLICATED

By Bob Smietana
LifeWay News

160427raptureNASHVILLE, Tennessee – Most Protestant pastors believe Jesus will return in the future. But few agree about the details of the apocalypse.

A third of America’s Protestant pastors expect Christians to be raptured—or taken up in the sky to meet Jesus—as the end times begin. About half think a false messiah known as the Antichrist will appear sometime in the future.

A surprising number think the Antichrist has already been here or isn’t on his way at all.

Those are among the findings of a new telephone survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors and their views on end-times theology from Nashville-based LifeWay Research, sponsored by Charisma House Book Group. [Read more…]

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CHRISTIANS FACE INTOLERANCE; COMPLAIN

By Bob Smietana
Lifeway News Office

160407complain1NASHVILLE — A growing number of Americans believe religious liberty is on the decline and that the nation’s Christians face growing intolerance.

They also say American Christians complain too much.

Those are among the findings of a new study of views about religious liberty from LifeWay Research. Researchers surveyed 1,000 Americans in September 2013 and September 2015 and then compared the results.

Two-thirds (63 percent) say Christians face increasing intolerance, up from half (50 percent) in 2013. A similar number (60 percent) say religious liberty is on the decline, up from just over half (54 percent) in 2013.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed say American Christians complain too much about how they are treated, up from 34 percent in 2015. [Read more…]

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LIFEWAY HOLDS 125TH ANNIV. & GROUNDBREAKING

By Baptist Press

LifeWay’s executive leadership team turned the ceremonial first shovels of dirt for the ministry’s new building. (From left to right) Jerry Rhyne, Eric Geiger, Selma Wilson, Thom Rainer, Brad Waggoner, Ed Stetzer, Tim Hill and Cossy Pachares.

LifeWay’s executive leadership team turned the ceremonial first shovels of dirt for the ministry’s new building. (From left to right) Jerry Rhyne, Eric Geiger, Selma Wilson, Thom Rainer, Brad Waggoner, Ed Stetzer, Tim Hill and Cossy Pachares.

NASHVILLE (BP) — LifeWay Christian Resources celebrated its 125th anniversary, then held a groundbreaking ceremony and prayer service today (April 6) on property in downtown Nashville where it intends to build its new headquarters.

LifeWay announced plans in February to build a nine-story 250,000-square-foot office building in a mixed use development located just blocks from the campus LifeWay sold last November. [Read more…]

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