Christianity Today (CT) and Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company (BMIC) recently conducted the joint nationalOutlook for Outreach study. Responses collected during the summer of 2012 from 1,486 church leaders and volunteers involved in outreach reveal that nearly all churches (96%) are serving those in their local community, especially in feeding and clothing the poor. Results show that churches meet — and even exceed — the need for food and clothing at the local level, however, they’re providing less hands-on assistance in addressing unemployment and preventing crime and gang-related violence than the perceived need. Along with providing disaster relief, more than half of the churches send teams on in-country mission trips (54%) and are engaged in housing construction projects. Churches are involved in international outreach efforts (70%). Fully 60% of them fund building projects overseas, including homes, churches, schools, medical clinics, and orphanages, and 53% travel abroad to physically assist with the construction work. Nine in ten churches allow other organizations to use their facility for outreach programs, so churches are opening their doors for others to serve too. The survey also shows that churches are taking care to select suitable volunteers and provide adequate training before doing hands-on ministry. “Churches engage in all kinds of outreach efforts,” says Dave Lantz, vice president, claims, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. “Church leaders need to be aware of the risks associated with outreach and recognize the importance of managing those risks. It’s encouraging that many are already taking steps to minimize them.” The majority of churches say that finding enough funding and volunteers are the two biggest obstacles to doing outreach locally, nationally, and internationally. At the same time, 41% of churches report that volunteerism is up for outreach ministries, and nearly half (45%) expect their church budget for outreach to increase in the coming year. According to 62% of respondents, the number one result of serving others is a sense of maturing discipleship among those involved. Another added benefit: more than one-third (35%) of the respondents say that more previously unchurched people now attend their church as a result of their outreach efforts. “Outreach and compassion are important hallmarks of church life,” said Marshall Shelley, editorial vice president of Christianity Today. “The results of this study show the high percentage of churches and church members that are involved in serving their neighbors locally, nationally, and internationally. If faith must be exercised to remain healthy, then most churches see outreach as the fitness center for faith.” An executive summary of the survey findings is available onYourChurchResources.com and at BrotherhoodMutual.com. What is YOUR church determined to do in 2013 that you’ve never done before?Where would Americans be if churches didn’t make outreach a priority? Many would feel the pain of unmet needs for basics such as food and clothing, not to mention a slow-down in disaster recovery efforts. For many hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, it was churches that provided the first signs of relief. In fact, a new survey —Outlook for Outreach — shows that of the 58% of churches in America that provide hands-on assistance for causes throughout our country, 75% of them engage in national disaster relief efforts. To better quantify how churches engage in outreach ministries to provide for physical needs within their local communities and the world at large,
‘Jesus Killed My Church!’ | Christian.co.uk. Have you ever planted a church that failed? How did you know when to quit? Which was harder? Starting the church, or pulling the plug? ToddInteresting piece from Christian.co.uk: Self-described experts on church planting would have predicted great success for Randy. Him and his wife Kelsey had felt a strong call to plant. Their vision was a seeker-friendly and Holy Spirit led congregation. There was also financial backing as the team moved into a booming Cincinnati suburb. “It had every reason to succeed but it didn’t,” Randy says looking back. “We were shocked and stunned because we had poured everything we had into this thing for years. To see it die was sad and embarrassing. I didn’t want to talk about it. I felt like I had wasted people’s time and money. I felt like I had heard from the Lord to do it but something had obviously gone wrong and I figured that must have been me.” But the end wasn’t messy. There was no big blow up or falling out. “It didn’t explode. It coasted off to the side of the road and coughed,” Randy says. A Call to Quit The team had gathered around 70 people to their weekly meetings. While pastors of some UK churches would be delighted with such a number, (and celebrate that revival was on the way) Randy wasn’t as impressed. “Here in the US you almost ought to be able to gather 70 people with good donuts and decent music. This is not the hardest, darkest place in the world. “The church expression was not invalid, it was pleasing to the Lord but the things the Lord had put in our hearts for outreach, we were nowhere near accomplishing. I found myself using a lot of energy to maintain what we had built rather than to expand in the way the Lord had laid on my heart to do.” The quitting is never fun because it’s never fully understood. Was the calling to leave the fledgling church plant as strong as the earlier call to start it? “As strong but definitely not as fun! It’s always more exciting to be starting something than to quit something. The quitting is never fun because it’s never fully understood. Even when it’s the Lord there are people who pull slogans out like ‘God isn’t a quitter’. They are preaching at you with bumper stickers!” // Read more via
- nearly half say parodies of Muhammad should be prosecuted criminally and offenders given punishments up to the death penalty
- 68% planned to vote for Obama, 7% for Romney, 25% were undecided
- 40 percent of Muslims in America believe they should not be judged by U.S. law and the Constitution but by Shariah standards.
- Nearly 55 percent of the American Muslim voters say the U.S. is on the right track, and another 13 percent are uncertain.
- One in eight respondents said they think those Americans who criticize or parody Islam should face the death penalty
- Four in 10 said Muslims in America should be judged by Islamic law, Shariah.
- In the CAIR poll, 66 percent said they are closer to the Democratic Party, while affiliation with the GOP was about 9 percent.
- While 39 percent of Muslims said they believe existing U.S. courts should consult Shariah law when adjudicating cases involving Muslims, a plurality of 45 percent said they do not agree with this idea. Asked if the U.S. should establish separate courts based solely on Shariah law to adjudicate cases involving Muslim, 21 percent said it should. Two-thirds of respondents – 66 percent – said that separate courts are not necessary to adjudicate Muslims
- One in five say Muslim men should be allowed to follow their religion in America and have more than one wife, and 58 percent said criticism of their religion or of Muhammad should not be allowed under the Constitution.
- While 43 percent said they disagreed with the idea of Christians evangelizing Muslims, another 27 percent said they were undecided. Only 19 percent said they “strongly agree” with the idea that Americans have a right to invite Muslims to consider another faith.
- Nearly one in three said Israel either has no right to exist or they were uncertain whether it does.