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Verse of the Day

US Religion Census Maps Changing Churches, Declining Denominations

The 2020 project shows shifting complexity of organized religion.

Church historians, sociologists, and statisticians are going county by county, denomination by denomination, group of believers by group of believers, to compile the most complete record of organized religion in the country: the 2020 US Religion Census.

The official decennial census conducted by the United States government does not measure religious affiliation. Most data about religion in America comes from polling, but polling has its limits. So every 10 years, the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB) counts and maps religious congregations in the US.

The project is a massive undertaking. In 2010, the organization counted 236 religious groups, with 344,894 congregations and 150,686,156 regular participants, releasing its results in a 726-page book with 31 color maps.

In 2020, they’re counting again: Southern Baptists and American Baptists, plus National, Progressive, Independent, Fundamental, Full Gospel, Free Will, and Original Free Will Baptists. They’re counting Grace Gospel Fellowships and Fellowships of Grace Brethren. Twelve types of Lutherans. Thirty affiliations of Amish. They’re counting churches without buildings and churches that meet in multiple locations, congregations with no denomination and congregations that belong to more than one.

In the process of coming up with the numbers, the census takers wrestle with the complexity of organized religion. They just want clean stats, but these data obsessives end up mapping denominational decline and transformation, migration, reorganization, and the seemingly endless shifts in the shape of church.

“There really is a feeling that maybe denominations have seen their day,” said Richard H. Taylor, a retired United ...

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A Gift to the Church: International Students at Our Doorstep

God’s gift to us is the opportunity to touch the nations and be touched by them in a very warm, close, and personal way.

It was an unusual opportunity. A new role, just ten hours a week, had been created at my local church and now it was my job to help our congregation welcome the nations through a ministry to international students.

We began with a small group of volunteers and students. Sixteen years later, in cooperation with other local churches, we offered friendship, practical helps, and Bible discussion groups to more than 1,000 students each year.

These international students were eager to have friends. And they brightened our lives with their ideas and cultures. We learned so much from one another.

Consider some of their stories.

A student from Sri Lanka arrived wearing a cross necklace. When I inquired about it, she quickly responded, “I am a follower of the Christian God.” I asked if she had ever read the Bible or knew anything about Jesus. She said “no” but she had been praying to the Christian God and he frequently answered her prayers. She was eager to find out more about him.

Three students from Iraq were grateful for our friendship. In getting to know these guys, we learned they came from the cities of Ur, Babylon, and Nineveh! This prompted many meaningful discussions together.

Another student from China came already eager to serve in the ministry. Her grandfather, several generations back, had been led to Christ and discipled by Hudson Taylor. Her family was still walking with the Lord.

At one sports night in the church gym, a group of students from Saudi Arabia invented a game bouncing a soccer ball from their heads and feet into a basketball net. It was fun to watch and cheer them on.

Welcome parties were held at the beginning of each semester. It was common to greet students from more than 30 countries. ...

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Jan
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January 30
Thursday 7:00 PM
The association of Bible study and prayer is an important one. Christians do not merely study the Bible as an academic disciple, but with the desire to know God better. Therefore, they frequently pray that God will give them understanding of the passage being studied.
Westside
Jan
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January 31
Friday 7:30 PM
Feb
06
February 06
Thursday 7:00 PM
The association of Bible study and prayer is an important one. Christians do not merely study the Bible as an academic disciple, but with the desire to know God better. Therefore, they frequently pray that God will give them understanding of the passage being studied.
Westside
Feb
07
February 07
Friday 7:30 PM
Feb
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February 14
Friday 7:30 PM
Christian Association of Nigeria asks probing questions of government after killing of its leader

The Christian Association of Nigeria issued a damning indictment this week of the Nigerian government's failure to save its leader, who was kidnapped in early January and executed by Boko Haram on Monday.

The post Christian Association of Nigeria asks probing questions of government after killing of its leader appeared first on Worthy Christian News.

Death Toll From Eastern Turkey Earthquake Climbs to 29

The death toll from a strong earthquake that rocked eastern Turkey climbed to 29 on Saturday night as rescue crews searched for people who remained trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, officials said.

The post Death Toll From Eastern Turkey Earthquake Climbs to 29 appeared first on Worthy Christian News.