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Current Events, Current Events, Start Here
Each week, my friend Matt Steen and I compile the top 50 stories that we think you should be reading in a publication we call Ministry Briefing.  Here’s a sampling of FIVE stories from this week’s edition:

Majority of Americans Seek Deeper Meaning and Personal Calling

A new Barna poll found that 40% of American Christians have a sense of divine calling in their lives, and 48% of Millennials sense a call to do something else with their lives, but they have yet to make the change. Overall, 75% of American adults are looking for ways to live a more meaningful life. Source: Barna Research

Church Stops and Cancels Funeral in Progress Because of Same Sex Spouse

Pastor Ray Chavez of New Hope Ministries in Colorado stopped the funeral for Vanessa Collier when he noticed pictures of Collier with her wife, Christina along with their two children, who were 12 and 8. The funeral was cancelled because Chavez refused to officiate a funeral for a gay couple, and the church has yet to reimburse the family for the funeral expenses. Source: Denver Post
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Trends
Barna has a new survey out.  Most Americans have first-hand experiences in churches or parishes. What happens, if anything, in the hearts and minds of those who attend? Here are some of the findings: (66%) feel they have had “a real and personal connection” with God while attending church. (26%) who had been to a church before said that their life had been changed or affected “greatly” by attending church. Nearly half said their life had not changed at all as a result of churchgoing (46%). (61%) said they could not remember a significant or important new insight or understanding related to faith. (23%) of those with church experience selected the description that church feels “like a group sharing the same space in a public event but who were not connected in a real way.” 40% of adults with church experience said caring for the poor was emphasized “a lot,” while 33% indicated it was “somewhat” of a priority. OK… what surprises you in this new data?  Anything? SOURCE
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Trends
Many adults and teens would like to receive guidance from their churches on media and technology, a Barna Group study revealed. The problem is, most of them aren’t getting any. The study shows that most parents and tweens/teens (children ages 11 to 17) expect churches to address technology, but “most families are not getting any coaching or assistance when it comes to integrating technology into their family life.” “Technology is shaping family interactions in unprecedented ways, but we seem to lack a strategic commitment to the stewardship of technology,” Barna Group President David Kinnaman says in a report explaining the results. (Via Charisma Magazine.) So… is the church missing the boat here.  Do parents really want to hear advice on technology from the church?  Should the church be helping people navigate the computer/tech world.  Why or why not?
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