News That Might Matter

I can’t vouch for the total accuracy of all of this news, but I think that it should cause us to think and ask ourselves about what we are doing in our churches to communicate with those who are sitting in our congregations.

The leadership development organization Growing Leaders recently asked focus groups of young adults (ages 16-24) how they prefer to receive communication. Their order of preference: text messages, MySpace and/or Facebook, podcasts, instant messaging, cell phone, CDs, DVDs and Email.

Pastor’s Weekly Briefing 4/4/08

Americans named the Bible as their favorite book of all time, according to a Harris Poll. In addition to being the #1 book overall, the Bible also came in first across the board with all demographic groups. An estimated 92% of Americans own a Bible; the average household owns four. The New Yorker estimates Bible publishers sell 25 million copies a year. But just 45% of Americans read it in a typical week, says the Barna Research Group. In the poll, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind was the nation’s second favorite read, while J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings fantasy series nabbed third.

Christian Post 4/8/08

Evangelical leaders were asked, “What is your preferred English Bible translation?” and were left to write in their response. 49% named only the NIV as their preferred translation, while another 18% named a second translation along with the NIV. Other versions listed included the New Living Translation, The Message, the New English Bible, the New Testament in Modern English (J.B. Phillips, 1962) and the King James Version.

Christian Post 4/11/0

Although hasn’t released sales figures for its e-book reader Kindle, it reports supply is not keeping up with demand. The International Digital Publishing Forum says e-book sales have risen from $6 million in ’02 to $33 million in ’07. Those numbers do not include many smaller publishers or library and educational purchases, so the download market is likely far larger. Publishers are reluctant to discuss sales figures but say they’ve seen double digit increases in e-book sales since the 11/07 Kindle release.

USA Today 4/4/08

A story is told of a South American tribe that went on a long journey. They’d walk for days without stopping, then all of a sudden stop, sit down and rest, and make camp for a couple of days before going any further. They explained to Westerners that they needed the time of rest so that their souls could catch up with them. What about you? Are you working so hard you’ve forgotten to let your soul catch up now and then? Are you feeling like your work is soul-less and little more than a method of producing a paycheck? Make it a habit to embrace Sabbath days and times in your life. Wisdom, peace, contentment and insight about investing your life in fulfilling work will grow in those times. Carve out those times for restoration and spiritual breathing. Even Jesus got away from the crowds periodically.

Adapted from No More Mondays, Dan Miller, WaterBrook 2008

How do any or all of these disparate pieces of news affect the way that Christians are going to share the gospel?  How does it affect the way that seminaries should be training their students?  Some of these issues are here to stay and not using them in the church, or not using them to train new students, is missing a serious opportunity.  The church and seminary should be ahead of, not behind the curve in methods of sharing the gospel.

I am really excited about the direction that Knox Seminary is going.  There are some great things happening here, and I am really glad to be a part of the school.  This is not meant to reflect badly on the old administration or faculty, but things are different and I think a fresh wind is blowing that will help Knox train some great students for the future.  I’ll write more about how this brings me both sadness and excitement in a post in a couple of days, so don’t send any critical letters yet.  Save them up.

For now, I wonder what you think about these news items and how you think that the Gospel is and will be influenced by these new pieces of information.  Put up your comments, I will OK them and put them up as soon as I can (usually within a couple of hours) and agree or disagree this can be a healthy place of discourse.

I really want to hear from you, especially if you disagree with me.