Top of the Church Shopper’s List: Strong Preaching
Top-notch preaching most attracts people looking for a new place to pray.
That’s the conclusion of a new Pew Research Center study, released Tuesday (Aug. 23), which asked 5,000 people about their search for a new church or other house of worship.
“This is what people value in a congregation — a good message, a good homily that resonates with them and gives them guidance,” said Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director for religion research.
More than 4 in 5 people (83 percent) put preaching at the top of their checklist. Preaching was followed by clergy and lay leaders who make them feel welcome (79 percent) and an appealing style of service (74 percent).
And for those pastors, imams and rabbis who are wondering how a snazzy website factors into potential congregants’ searches, the survey reveals that in-person encounters carry much more weight.
“This may be because some of the factors people say they value the most in choosing a congregation — the quality of sermons, the style of services and a welcoming leadership — are difficult to assess over the phone or on a website,” the researchers concluded.
Why do people look for a new house of worship?
The most common reason given (34 percent) is because a congregant has moved. Far less frequently did respondents cite a theological reason or dissatisfaction with the house of worship they used to attend, or the clergy who led it.
About half of those searching for a new congregation (48 percent) considered switching denominations. But for two groups in particular — Catholics and members of historically black churches — switching is uncommon, with only a third reporting such a change as a consideration.
The survey also found that:
— Half of American adults (51 percent) say they attend religious services regularly — at least once or twice a month.
–Seven in 10 people who have looked for a new congregation say finding one was easy, while 27 percent say finding a new house of worship was difficult.
— Of those who attend regularly, nearly half (23 percent of all U.S. adults) say they have always attended religious services at least as regularly as they do now, but slightly more (27 percent) say they now attend religious services more often than they did at some other time in their adult lives.
The overall margin of error for the survey, which was conducted in spring 2015, was plus or minus 2 percentage points.
How Can Black Lives Matter When 20 Million Black Babies Have Been Aborted, Black Pastor Asks
Clenard Childress, senior pastor for New Calvary Baptist in New Jersey, writes in an opinion column that the Black Lives Matter movement needs to separate itself from Planned Parenthood.
“Yet there has never been a ‘stranger paradox’ than the announcement that Planned Parenthood is in collaboration with ‘Black Life Matters,’ the epitome of oxymoronic examples,” he writes in the column.
“Black Life Matters is partnering with an institution which was designed with the hope of completely eliminating African American people,” he writes in the column for LifeNews.com. “Some would call this genocide, for this same organization is responsible for over twenty million (20,000,000) African Americans missing by sanctioned murder in America.”
Childress says that the partnership with Planned Parenthood will make people question the “true motives of Black Lives Matters.” He suggests re-reading the works of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, whom he calls a “true elder.”
“I am for social justice but the King of Love – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King – showed us the way he had received from the King of Kings. African Americans need to step back, look, and ask for discernment.”
The parents of a young woman who now plays basketball and was the winner of a beauty contest were advised to abort her by their doctor.
According to ChristianToday.com, Eliza McIntosh’s parents were told she would be born with severe disabilities and would probably have to have a breathing tube her whole life, and so abortion was the best option.
McIntosh’s parents, however, were people of faith and decided to trust God with whatever happened.
“My parents are very religious, so are against abortions regardless,” the 21-year-old McIntosh told Life Site News, “and their attitude was, ‘This is the hand we’ve been dealt with, so we’ll play it as well as we can’.”
McIntosh was born with a disability called spinal dysgenesis which means she is paralyzed from the waist down.
However, McIntosh’s parents instilled in their daughter that her disability didn’t have to prevent her from accomplishing things.
They weren’t going to let me die,” McIntosh shared. “They decided to modify our home to make it more accessible and have never treated me any differently.”
She added that her parents taught her that there is a “difference between having a disability and being disabled.”
“Having a disability is something you’re born with, but being disabled means you let it stop you,” she continued.
McIntosh has not allowed her disability to stop her. She became a basketball player and she also was this year’s winner of the Miss Wheelchair America beauty contest.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “What is the meaning of this dream?”
Is God sharing a revelation with you behind all of the symbolism?
Is it a promise of provision or a warning to protect you from danger?
We are actually instructed by God during the night through dreams and visions.
Reproof, correction, encouragement, and Secrets are being downloaded into your spirit and your mind – and we are available to help you decipher the hidden code of dreams.