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What’s on pastors’ minds? It’s not religious liberty

first_img The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Submit an Event Listing Press Release Service Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Submit a Press Release Curate Diocese of Nebraska TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Rector Hopkinsville, KY Rector Pittsburgh, PA Rector Shreveport, LA Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET By Emily McFarlan MillerPosted Feb 11, 2020 Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC [Religion News Service] What’s on pastors’ minds? It may not be what you think, according to a report released last week by Barna Group.A new survey by the California-based Christian research firm found that Protestant pastors are worried less about hot topics like religious liberty than they are about the decline of religion in America.The report is the first of a series of monthly releases from Barna Group’s State of the Church 2020 that will analyze how Christianity in the United States has changed and where it is headed, president David Kinnaman said.It’s the first time in 10 years that the research firm has publicly released the data from its annual State of the Church survey.“I felt like we’d been learning a lot over the past 10 years that allows us to more clearly communicate the big cultural trends that are taking place and what they mean for the church,” Kinnaman said.According to the report, three-quarters (72%) of Protestant pastors identify the impact of “watered-down Gospel teachings” on Christianity in the U.S. as a major concern. That’s especially true for pastors in non-mainline denominations (78%). Mainline pastors (59%) are less concerned.About two-thirds (66%) of pastors say a major concern for Christianity is “culture’s shift to a secular age,” followed by 63% who identified “poor discipleship models” as a major concern and 58% who named “addressing complex social issues with biblical integrity,” the survey says.In their own churches, most pastors reported that the major concerns they face are “reaching a younger audience” (51%) and “declining or inconsistent outreach and evangelism” (50%), according to the report.What doesn’t worry pastors very much: religious liberty — the stuff of Supreme Court cases, executive orders, campaign promises and a recent task force and summit. Only 23% of Protestant pastors identify it as a major concern or issue facing the Christian church today in the U.S., and 32% said it was not a concern or issue at all, according to Barna Group data.Other issues low on pastors’ list of major concerns include keeping up with technology and digital trends (7%), online churches and other challenges to the traditional church model (11%), “celebrity pastors pulling people away from the local church” (19%), the declining influence pastors have in their communities (20%) and the role of women in the church (23%).Barna Group’s survey also includes a small group of Catholic priests — not enough to be nationally representative, according to the research firm — who also place increasing secularism at the top of their concerns for the church nationally (along with addressing scandals and the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and reaching a younger audience) and reaching a younger audience for their parishes.The research firm also is launching tools that allow churches to survey their own members. Kinnaman said it felt “more important than ever to give churches the opportunity to see the state of their church” — not just of the church, or Christianity, in general.“There’s so much information about big, broad trends. In order for trends to be relevant, they have to be contextual,” he said.Data in the first report of the State of the Church 2020 is based on 547 interviews with Protestant senior pastors on Barna’s PastorPanel conducted online between November and December 2019. The sample error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points, according to Barna Group.This article was originally published by Religion News Service. Submit a Job Listing Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Featured Jobs & Calls Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Rector Smithfield, NC Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. 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It’s not religious liberty An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ last_img read more