I am fairly active in the Women’s Ministry at my church. We have a diversity of race, marital status, spiritual growth, career, age, and about every demographic area you could think of. Therefore, it has become a challenge for us to plan for these women so that we are being effectual (having an eternal effect on each woman) rather than just temporarily fun, or interesting.
To this end, I have begun researching the state of Christian women in the US, and have in the process come accross some interesting research about the church as a whole. I am hoping to post some of the information I find about women specifically here, but surprisingly, I am having difficulty coming up with research that is as specific as I would like.
Research guru George Barna commented on his “top twelve” interesting research facts about the church. “These results point out some of the areas in which the Church needs to devote greater attention. Among the major challenges to churches are the 4 Cs: commitment, comprehension, caring and communication. A lot of people attend church services, but relatively few have a deep commitment to their church, to personal ministry and to spiritual maturity. People hear a lot of religious teaching and buy millions of religious books, but there is as much theological confusion as understanding. Compassion is a term that most believers endorse but surprisingly few practice. Better communication is necessary not only to teach people more effectively, but to build more meaningful and lasting relationships and to help people stay focused on the things in life that really matter.”
As our congregations change and shift in the people who are attending, the list below might help us know where to focus some additional attention. It creates some interesting benchmarks that we can use to measure whether we are being effective or not in our programs, after all, if a program is not being effective for Christ, what is the point?
(1) Children’s programs: Is evangelism a focus?
(2) Youth Programs: Do kids choose to attend church once they have graduated from your program? What do they know by the time they have graduated?
“Fewer than one-third of all teenagers are likely to attend a Christian church once they are living independent of their parents. Although two-thirds of all teenagers say they know all the basic teachings and principles of the Christian faith, two-thirds of them reject the existence of Satan, three-fifths reject the existence of the Holy Spirit, and half believe that Jesus sinned during His lifetime.”
(3) Administration: Can the community count on you to be available for help?
“40% of Christian churches are virtually impossible to reach by telephone, no matter how many calls are made to those churches.”
(4) Young Adult program: Are they saved? Are we reaching the unsaved young adult?
“The share of 18-29 year olds within the born again population has dropped from 20% in 1991 to just 14% today.”
(5) Marriage/Couples Ministries: What is our divorce rate?
“Born again adults are more likely to experience a divorce than are non-born again adults (27% vs. 24%).”
(6) Women’s programs: Are we adequately feeding and supporting our women?
“Women make up 60% of church membership. Although women are more active in church life than are men, their levels of participation in many aspects of church life – from worship attendance to volunteerism – are significantly declining.”
(7) Lay Leadership Development: Are we adequately training/mentoring our leaders?
“Among adults who are lay leaders in their church, more than nine out of ten prioritize their faith in their life goals. However, large proportions of the lay leaders in Christian churches hold a range of unbiblical religious views regarding the holiness of Christ, the reality of Satan, the existence of the Holy Spirit, the reality of the resurrection, and the means to salvation.”
(8) Members: A challenge – where is our money going? what are our life goals?
“Born again Christians spend seven times as much time on entertainment as they do on spiritual activities. In a representative nationwide survey among born again adults, none of the individuals interviewed said that the single, most important goal in their life is to be a committed follower of Jesus Christ.”
(9) Evangelistic Missions – “Half of all unchurched and non-Christian adults admit that they are seeking meaning and purpose in their life – providing a meaningful entry point for evangelizers.”
Just some food for thought!