Your address will show here +12 34 56 78
Jack Schaap, the former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN, was charged yesterday in federal court with taking a minor across state lines.  According to prosecutors, Schaap has signed a plea agreement. According to the Chicago Tribune: Schaap had a relationship between June 1 and July 30 with a girl who had not yet turned 18, and took her from Indiana to Illinois and to Michigan, according to the criminal information. Schaap took the girl “with the intent that she engage in sexual activity for which (Schaap could) be charged with a criminal offense,” according to the information. Prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of several items Schaap is alleged to have used in committing the crime, including an iPad, an iPhone, a digital camera, a voice recorder and two computer flash drives, according to the information. In his plea agreement, which also was filed in federal court today, Schaap admits that he had sex with the girl, the girl was under his care or supervision, and he used a computer to persuade the girl to have sex with him illegally. Schaap is scheduled to appear in court at 3 pm today.  We’ll see what happens. Ed Stetzer has written a great piece on the situation here. Todd
2

Trends
What will the church need to deal with in the next 10 years? Ed Stetzer gives some thoughts: 1.  Churches that used to been ‘seeker targeted’ will find that many people just aren’t seeking that much anymore.  They have no ‘religious memory’ as Ed calls it.  That will force churches to come up with a new model to engage people like this. 2.  Churches will need to concentrate on the gospel.  That’s accomplished by a church thinking through what the gospel is and actually living it out.  It’s time to reassess and reorganize since we may find ourselves a little off track. 3.  Christians will rethink discipleship.  Stetzer argues that discipleship doesn’t need to be re-invented, but rather re-defined. 4.  Churches will need to be innovative and implement new ways of doing church.  Some churches are already doing that through things like multi-site and global initiatives.  But these things are still new to myriads of churches. My apologies to Ed for the synopsis.  You can read his actual thoughts here. But… what are YOUR thoughts?  What are the big things on YOUR church’s agenda for the next decade?
5

Trends
A recent LifeWay Research study found that Americans with even a slight curiosity about an ultimate purpose to life are more likely to participate in worship services, while half of those who never attend church never wonder about life’s ultimate purpose. Approximately 75 percent of the 2,000 adults surveyed nationally indicate that they either agree or strongly agree with the statement, “There is an ultimate purpose and plan for every person’s life.” However, 50 percent of respondents who never attend worship services disagree with the statement. “This contrast has significant implications for churches,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. “It is no wonder that many of the unchurched are unengaged in church activity when they don’t believe an exclusive purpose exists for their own lives – in other words, why go to church to learn about God’s plan if you don’t think there is one.” The study examined three other aspects of meaning and purpose. More than two-thirds of Americans agree (strongly or somewhat) that the pursuit of meaning or purpose is a priority, but only half wonder about it each month. Seventy-eight percent agree “It is important that I pursue a higher purpose and meaning for my life” while 67 percent agree “A major priority in my life is finding my deeper purpose.” When asked, “How often do you wonder: ‘How can I find more meaning and purpose in my life?'” 51 percent of Americans indicated at least monthly, including 18 percent who wonder about it daily. Thirteen percent wonder about finding more meaning and purpose yearly and 28 percent never think about it. The study asked two questions about how often people think of specific aspects of the afterlife, the first being, “How often do you wonder: ‘If I were to die today, do I know for sure that I would go to heaven?'” Thirty-one percent of Americans wonder about this at least monthly, including 8 percent wondering about it daily. Eleven percent think yearly about personally going to heaven and 46 percent never think about it. via Ultimate purpose and meaning: Some say they pursue it, others do not. // How does this study influence the people you are trying to reach that are far from God?
1

Trends
The majority of Americans have a favorable impression of Southern Baptists, according to a recent LifeWay Research study. However, 40 percent of respondents have an unfavorable view of the denomination, more than a third strongly assume an SBC church is not for them, and the negativity is higher among the unchurched. The study was conducted in September 2011 after the president of the Southern Baptist Convention appointed a task force to consider a possible name change for the 166 year-old convention. The study indicates a segment of Americans have unfavorable opinions of Southern Baptists in comparison to other faith groups. However, with 53 percent being favorable toward Southern Baptists (including 15 percent very favorable), both sides need to be considered, said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “On one hand it does look like the SBC has higher negatives than other faith groups – and the unchurched numbers are particularly disconcerting,” Stetzer said. “But on the other, most people don’t seem to be concerned either way because there is a level of indifference to denominations or religion in general.” In fact, two-thirds of Americans are without strong feelings in regards to all the Christian faith groups included in the survey with a third or less either very favorable or very unfavorable to them. via Study: Americans have mixed impressions of Southern Baptists’ identity.   Thoughts?
4

Trends
Most pastors believe pornography has adversely impacted the lives of their church members, but almost half cannot estimate what percentage of their congregation views porn. That is the finding of a newly released survey by LifeWay Research of 1,000 American Protestant pastors. When presented with the statement, “Pornography has adversely affected the lives of our church members,” 69 percent of pastors surveyed agree. That includes 42 percent who strongly agree and 27 percent who somewhat agree. Nine percent somewhat disagree and 8 percent strongly disagree. Fourteen percent do not know or preferred not to answer. “Most pastors know pornography’s poisonous effects,” LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer said. “They’ve seen it destroy marriages, wreck lives and warp America’s moral compass when it comes to sexuality.” When asked to estimate the percentage of men in their congregations who view pornography on a weekly basis, 43 percent are unable or unwilling to respond. Of those able and willing to estimate, a majority (62 percent) say less than 10 percent, 24 percent say 10-24 percent, 10 percent say 25-49 percent and 4 percent say 50 percent or more. via Baptist Press – Pastors: porn a big problem among members – News with a Christian Perspective. QUESTION:  What do you think the percentage of porn use in your church is?  among men?  among women? How has porn affected your ministry in your church? Todd
2