Tag Archives: Lifeway
I spend a lot of time during my job talking about “market volatility.” It’s something people know exists, don’t quite understand, and have a lot of questions about. So I spend time explaining it, calming fears, and answering questions. As I thought about “market volatility” I was struck by a couple of articles that made me realize the pastorate is one of the most volatile markets in existence.
When we think of volatile markets we think of ups and downs, gains and losses. If you’re an investor you think of your account value and what the market does to your investment. When the market goes down you incur a loss that can take some time to recuperate. When the market goes up you see a gain that you want to protect. It’s easy to see how the pastorate is very much like the market in its volatility; ups and downs, gains and losses.
But while historically the market has always had periods of volatility – and that doesn’t look to end anytime soon – the pastorate doesn’t have to continue as a place of volatility.
A recent article at The Blaze shared the results of a study conducted by LifeWay Research. The study centered on the main reasons pastors quit the pastorate before retirement age. The study boiled the answers of 734 former senior pastors down to five main reasons:
You are never going to believe this. A new study reveals a major problem among Christians and those who regularly attend church> It’s probably not what you are thinking either.
Sure, we all have problems, no one is perfect and no one goes through a day without making a mistake. But one of the biggest problems plaguing Christians right now could very well be the source of many other issues happening among the family, community, and culture.
According to a new LifeWay Research study, only about 45% of people that claim to attend church regularly say they read the Bible more than once a week. In other words, 55% of people attending church regularly don’t pick their Bible up at any other time than on Sunday. A recent article reports:
In case you didn’t know, Lifeway Christian Stores, the main retail outlet owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, has announced it will pull all “heaven visitation items” from their shelves. This is a great announcement, but one that comes with a bitter side.
If you are wondering what a “heaven visitation item” is, it is simply any book or DVD sharing the personal account of a visitation to heaven. Think: “Heaven is for Real,” or “The boy Who Came Back from Heaven.” These accounts are supposedly the tales of people who for one reason or another (trauma, accident) claim to have visited heaven but came back. They are sharing their accounts via books and movies under the guise of “heaven visitation.”
So why is it a good thing that Lifeway is pulling such items from their shelves? Well, for starters, the accounts given by most people who claim to have died and gone to heaven contradict accounts in the Bible. For this reason such claims cannot be trusted, and should not be given credit by Christians.
Let’s take for a moment the account given by Alex Malarkey. He is the teenager that claimed is his 2010 book “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven” to have died during a medical emergency, visited heaven, then came back. The book was a big success and Malarkey and his family made a lot of money on the back of that account.
But, just recently Malarkey released a statement saying the whole thing was made up. Kind of ironic considering his last name. Or perhaps more apropos. Malarkey’s statement reads in part:
Over the last few years I have sought to become a student of church health and growth. I grew up in churches that were of varying sizes and was always struck by the differences. What exactly makes a church grow? Why do some churches grow strong and healthy while others seem to limp along barely surviving?
The answers to those questions are vital to the health, growth, and longevity of the church.
In my search to understand the difference between a growing, healthy church and a declining church I read a lot. I make it a point to read the research and studies of church health and growth experts. In reading so much I have noticed trends among the experts regarding what it takes to reach younger generations and have a growing, healthy church. Let me share a couple of those trends with you.
I’m just looking at three of the most recent articles I’ve come across relating to church health and growth. But in each of these three articles several consistent trends appear to contribute to the decline and death of the church.