Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CARE ~ A New Web Resource for Citywide Collaboration & Communication

Hi Phi,

You suggested in your last email that I send you some information about CharityTracker for your blog. Listed below is an overview of the impact CharityTracker is having in communities all across America. We are very thankful for the Lord's orchestrated process in enabling us to create this software, which surprisingly, has real community-building power.

Thanks for helping us spread the word.



Simon Solutions is a "marketplace ministry" that enables local communities to mobilize and maximize their caring power. Using up-to-date internet technology, we've discovered a simple and practical way for churches, non-profits, and government agencies to work together in charitable giving.

Hundreds of organizations in 116 cities now use CharityTracker to keep track of the people they love and serve. Together, these organizations help build a 24/7 communication network for information-sharing, shared case management, and area-wide bulletins/alerts. So far they have logged in over 168,000 assistance records.

CharityTracker online community networks are simple to use, easy to implement, and affordable. This makes it easy for care providers to:

  • Securely share valuable information with each other.
  • Prevent duplication of services; saving thousands of dollars.
  • Broadcast area-wide bulletins and alerts.
  • Identify needs and mobilize resources.
  • Encourage collaboration and cooperation.

In a time when we all need to do more with less, it's important that the right resources get into the right hands. CharityTracker helps increase levels of accountability and efficiency, making it easier for care providers to measure their impact and secure contributions.

CharityTracker provides communities with a powerful relational infrastructure on which to build partnerships and unite care networks throughout the city. To learn more how CharityTracker can help mobilize the caring power of your community, check out our website. Take a moment to watch the short video, which briefly explains the simplicity of CharityTracker.




CharityTracker has really saved us time and money.

"CharityTracker has really saved us time and money. It is really a help to be able to interact with other churches and groups. We are able to assist more people and feel like the people we help are the ones that really need the help." Debra Tuten, First United Methodist Church — Florence, AL

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SHARE ~ Do we witness to the way or just the truth of Jesus?

An Excerpt From

The Jesus Way
by Eugene H. Peterson

The ways employed in our North American culture are conspicuously impersonal: programs, organizations, techniques, general guidelines, information detached from place. In matters of ways and means, the vocabulary of numbers is preferred over names, ideologies crowd out ideas, the gray fog of abstraction absorbs the sharp particularities of the recognizable face and the familiar street. My concern is provoked by the observation that so many who understand themselves to be followers of Jesus, without hesitation, and apparently without thinking, embrace the ways and means of the culture as they go about their daily living “in Jesus’ name.” But the ways that dominate our culture have been developed either in ignorance or in defiance of the ways that Jesus uses to lead us. . .

Jesus as the truth gets far more attention than Jesus as the way. Jesus as the way is the most frequently evaded metaphor among the Christians with whom I have worked for fifty years as a North American pastor. We cannot skip the way of Jesus in our hurry to get the truth of Jesus as he is worshiped and proclaimed. The way of Jesus is the way that we practice and come to understand the truth of Jesus, living Jesus in our homes and workplaces, with our friends and family. . .

The local congregation is the primary place for dealing with the particulars and people we live with. As created and sustained by the Holy Spirit, it is insistently local and personal. Unfortunately, the more popular American church strategies in respect to congregation are not friendly to the local and personal. The American way with its penchant for catchy slogans and stirring visions denigrates the local, and its programmatic ways of dealing with people erode the personal, replacing intimacies with functions. The North American church at present is conspicuous for replacing the Jesus way with the American way. . .

Jesus’ metaphor, kingdom of God, defines the world in which we live. We live in a world where Christ is king. If Christ is king, every thing, quite literally, every thing and every one, has to be re-imagined, re-configured, re-oriented to a way of life that consists in an obedient following of Jesus. A total renovation of our imagination, our way of looking at things—what Jesus commanded in his no-nonsense imperative, “Repent!”—is required. . .

We can—we must!—take responsibility for the way we live and work in our homes and neighborhoods, workplaces and public squares. We can refuse to permit the culture to dictate the way we go about our lives. . .

Ways and means that are removed or abstracted from Jesus and the Scriptures that give witness to him amount sooner or later to a betrayal of Jesus. In this kingdom-of-God world, the person that we follow is the primary shaping influence on the person that we become. Christians follow Jesus.

Excerpted from The Jesus Way: a conversation on the ways that Jesus is the way by Eugene H. Peterson (Grand Rapids, MI, Eerdmans, 2007), pp. 1, 4-5, 9, 13, 15. Used by permission.===>Click headline to access Perspectives newsletter . . .

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October 2008 Mission America Coalition Update

News and Trends

Christian Marketplace Influencers Executive Marketplace Intelligence for Ministry Decision Makers!

Time Magazine on Rick Warren Rick Warren says he and his staff have given “purpose-driven training” to 500,000 pastors worldwide, and that 1 out of 20 U.S. churches has done 40 Days of Purpose exercises. In all, says fellow mega-pastor Joel Hunter, Warren’s is “easily the broadest and most influential church network in the world.” He (Warren) got a conventional theology doctorate and an unconventional education from a friend, management guru Peter Drucker, who refined Warren’s organizational gift and offered a secular vocabulary with which to express it.” (Time 8/7/08)

Defining ‘Evangelical’ Ellison Research asked the average adult American what they believe is an “evangelical Christian.” 36% said they had no idea. 18% said it is a Christian who tries to spread his or her faith. 9%: Christians particularly devoted or zealous about their faith (but not to the point of fanaticism) and totally sold-out to their beliefs. 8%: focused strongly on the Bible, believing in the Bible as God’s inerrant word allowing it to guide their lives. 8%: saved by Christ, saved by grace, believe in a born-again experience, and believe in eternal life through Christ, among other theological definitions. 2% gave a dramatically off-base theological definition. 6%: conservative, ultra-conservative or radical right, anti-homosexual, Republican, highly involved in politics, etc. 5%: fanatical about their beliefs. 4%: closed-minded about religion. 3%: focus on money rather than God. 3%: want to impose their beliefs or standards on others. Researchers stressed almost half of Americans cannot give a definition of evangelical that has any substance to it. (The Christian Post 9/4/08)

Avoiding Dropout Further analysis of an earlier released LifeWay Research project on reasons 18-22-year-olds drop out of church finds these views together best predict a young person will stay in church:

  • “I wanted the church to help guide my decisions in everyday life (prior to age 18).”
  • “At age 17 my parents were still married to each other and both attended church.”
  • “The pastor’s sermons were relevant to my life (prior to age 18).”
  • “At least 1 adult from church made a significant investment in me personally and spiritually between the ages of 15 and 18.” (LifeWay Research Insights 7/08)

Amish Growth In the last 16 years, the Amish population has nearly doubled, according to researchers from Elizabethtown College’s Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. Over the same period, Amish settlements have been established in 7 new states (Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Washington and West Virginia), putting them in at least 28 states. (The Associated Press)

Diverse Religion The U.S. is one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world with adherents from all of the world’s major religions. A recent Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey finds the U.S. is on the verge of becoming a minority Protestant country for the first time in its history. The number of Americans who claim they are members of Protestant denominations is now barely 51% vs. more than 60% in the ’70s and ’80s. More than 25% of American adults have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another or no religion at all. (The Pew Forum 8/20/08)

U.S. Religious Affiliations Evangelical Protestant Churches 26.3% Historically Black Churches 6.9% Mormon 1.7% Orthodox 0.6% Jewish 1.7% Muslim 0.6% Other World Religions <0.3%>

Morality 55% of American adults discuss moral issues with others in a typical week. The Barna Group asked adults about 8 moral behaviors. Liberals were twice as likely as conservatives to participate in morally questionable activities. Evangelicals were the most likely to follow traditional morality, while atheists and agnostics most unlikely. While evangelicals averaged 6% participation in each of the 8 behaviors, skeptics averaged 29%. Within the Christian community, there were few differences between Protestants and Catholics in relation to moral behavior. George Barna says, “The consistent deterioration of the Bible as the source of moral truth has led to a nation where people become independent judges of right and wrong, basing their choices on feelings and circumstances.” (The Barna Group 8/25/08)

Divine Intervention When it comes to saving lives, God trumps doctors for many Americans. A Univ. of Connecticut survey reveals widespread belief that divine intervention can revive dying patients. And, researchers said, doctors “need to be prepared to deal with families who are waiting for a miracle.” 57% of randomly surveyed adults said God’s intervention could save a family member even if physicians declared treatment would be futile. And nearly three-quarters said patients have a right to demand such treatment. When asked to imagine their own relatives being gravely ill or injured, nearly 20% of doctors and other medical workers said God could reverse a hopeless outcome. (The Church Report 8/20/08)

Digital World Internet Retailer reports, in early ’07, 12% of all retail sales of consumer media products (books, music, video, etc.) were via e-commerce. This is twice the percentage of all retail products sold through e-commerce. (CBA Retailers+Resources 8/08)

Bible Sales In a bleak retail economy, including many independent Christian retail stores, Bibles continue to be one of the bright spots. Not only do Bibles remain the heart and soul of a Christian retailer’s mission, but they also continue to be in strong demand. (Christian e-Tailing 8/21/08)

Pastor Pay Churches of 101 to 300 people weekly pay their senior pastor $72,664 annually, including benefits. Churches of 310 to 500 pay an average of $88,502, while those with 501 to 750 pay $102,623. On average, pastors who complete post-grad work earn $14,000 more than those with a master’s and $24,000 more than those with a bachelor’s. Presbyterian and Lutheran senior pastors earn the most: $100,751 and $100,593. (The 2009 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff)

Underpaid 51% of Americans feel they are underpaid for their work, finds a Gallup survey. 46% feel they are paid about the right amount, while 3% feel they are overpaid. Middle- and lower-income Americans are more likely to say they are underpaid. 62% of those making less than $75,000 a year agree vs. 38% of those making more than $75,000. 47% of men and 55% of women say they are underpaid. 51% of both whites and non-whites feel underpaid. Also, 49% of those with high school educations or less say they are underpaid vs. 52% of those with at least some college. (Pastors Weekly Briefing 8/22/08)

Childless The percentage of childless women in the U.S. who have reached the end of their child-bearing years has doubled from 10% to 20% in the last 30 years, reports the U.S. Census Bureau. The survey reports, “Women 40-44 will end their childbearing years with an average of 1.9 children each, a number below replacement-level fertility.” This compares to 3.1 in ’76. 36% of the women who gave birth in ’06 were separated, widowed, divorced or never married. 5% were living with a partner. Most women who go on to post-secondary education wait until age 30 to 34 to have children. 27% of women with undergraduate degrees and upwards are childless. Only the U.S. Hispanic and Black populations are replacing themselves with an average of 2.3 and 2.0 children born per woman, making them the only stabilizing force in the population. At this rate, experts say, whites will be the U.S. minority by 2042. (LifeSite News 8/19/08)

Inappropriate A national survey shows more than a quarter of Christian women personally have experienced sexually inappropriate behavior, and a fourth of those said it happened in a church or ministry setting. Not all incidents reported fall under the legal definition of sexual harassment, i.e. “unwelcome attention due to one’s gender.” 53% who have experienced inappropriate behavior say they do not plan to report these instances to avoid stirring up controversy. Nonprofit attorney and CPA Frank Sommerville says, “Juries tend to award larger damages to victims of sexual harassment within churches, because they think a church should be a safe place.” (Pastors Weekly Briefing 8/22/08)

Woman Power The economic power of women is huge: $3.7 trillion in consumer spending and $1.5 trillion in commercial spending each year. Women make most of the consumer decisions about everything, including more than 80% of big ticket decisions like automobiles and homes, as well as everyday decisions. Over 91 % of women feel advertisers don’t understand them. 66% feel misunderstood by health care marketers, 74% by auto makers and 84% investment marketers. (American Marketing Association Newsletter 8/9/08)

Donors cite the #1 reason for ceasing their support is the way they were treated, from not being thanked to an avalanche of needy appeals. It is indeed cheaper to keep a customer/donor than to find a new one. Thank your donors 3 times as often as you appeal for donations. Make your thank-you message personal and show them their impact. (Network for Good Learning Center 8/14/08)

Young Adult Readers Up “There have been significant increases in sales of YA (young adult) books over the past several years,” says Zonderkidz Marketing VP Alicia Mey. A Children’s Book Council Sales Survey finds YA sales have increased from more than 13% in ’01 to more than 34% in ’05. Mey adds, “We know that in the Christian channel, teens want more books to meet their spiritual needs as well as their entertainment needs.” An ’06 Barna Group study says 66% of all born-again Christians make a profession of faith before age 18. Nelson, Zondervan, FaithWords, Multnomah and NavPress have all recently launched or beefed up their YA offerings. (Christian e-Tailing 8/26/08)

VeggieTales characters take to the stage this fall to perform for audiences nationwide during their 50-city, major-market VeggieTales God Made You Special, Live! Tour. Kicked off on Sept. 4 in Austin, TX, other cities include Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Boston, Minneapolis, Nashville, Orlando and Phoenix. (CBA Retailers+Resources Industry Brief 9/2/08)

Home-Schooled Students do just as well or better than their public school peers. They typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests, according to the National Home Education Research Institute. ( 8/25/08)

Church Kids Get Better Grades Church attendance has as much greater effect on a teen’s GPA than whether the parents earned a college degree. 7th to 12th graders who went to church weekly also had lower dropout rates and felt more a part of their schools. On average, students whose parents received a 4-year college degree average a GPA 0.12 higher than those whose parents completed only high school. Students who attend religious services weekly average a GPA 0.144 higher than those who never attend services, found the Univ. of Iowa study. Why do these students do better? • They have regular contact with role model adults from various generations. • Their parents are more likely to communicate with their friends’ parents. • They develop friendships with peers who have similar norms and values. • They’re more likely to participate in extracurricular activities. Other studies have shown regular church-goers breathe easier and live longer. Kids whose parents go to church are better behaved and more well-adjusted. Researchers cite the social-network and psychological benefits of churches. (CR Online 8/23/08)

Teens and Marriage Center for Law and Social Policy research finds almost 70% of white girls ages 15-19 who got pregnant in the first half of the ’60s chose to get married. By the early ’90s, that number had fallen to 19%. Among black teens, it fell from 36% to less than 7%. According to Time’s 9/1/08 issue, 1 of every 3 mothers who gave birth in the past 12 months was unmarried, separated, divorced or widowed at the time. (

Economy Because of higher gas and food price concerns, 48% of U.S. consumers plan to reduce their household spending by more than $100. In addition, consumers will change where and how they shop. The number of people who shopped at club stores such as Costco, B.J.'s and Sam's Club increased 3.6% from 9/07 to 4/08. (Center for Media Research Brief 8/21/08

Debt Burden The average American household is now buried under mortgage debt of $84,911, car and tuition loans of $14,414, home equity loans of $10,062 and credit card debt of $8,565—in sum, outstanding debt totaling $117,952. Federal Reserve data says the average household savings this year are a mere $392. (AARP Bulletin 9/08)

U.S. Not Alone According to a Financial Times/Harris Poll, most people in France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and the U.S. believe their economies are getting worse. Within the past year, 72% of British adults feel their household’s economic well-being has become worse, compared to 56% of Germans and Americans. (Harris Poll Weekly 9/3/08)

Asian Americans Although Asians only represent 5% of the U.S. population, they are among the most educated and affluent U.S. consumers. Census Bureau data reveals the median age among Asian Americans is 34.8 vs. 36.2 for the total population. They spent $459 billion on products and services in ’07. Direct-mail influences 22% of their product purchases. 48% have earned a bachelor’s degree, and they earn an impressive median annual income of $63,900. They are also among the most active in the digital world. (Deliver Magazine Issue 4, Vol. 4, 9/08)

Wealthy The U.S. government estimates 20% of all U. S. households have an income of $100,000+, accounting for more than one half of the nation’s household income. (Center for Media research Brief 9/19/08)

Spain’s “Express Divorce” Law, which has facilitated the dissolution of marriages, has resulted in a divorce rate of 69%, that is, for every 4 marriages celebrated, 3 are broken. (LifeSite News 9/9/08)

Shower Your Pig According to Agence France-Presse, new legislation adopted in Switzerland spells out in detail how all domestic animals are to be treated. For example, live goldfish may not be flushed down the toilet but must be first knocked out and then killed before the body can be disposed. The law applies to pets, farm animals, wild animals in zoos/circuses and animals used in experiments. The law also bans catch-and-release fishing; stipulates that hamsters, sheep and goats should not live alone; and that pigs have the right to a shower. (,

Global Warming Myth Contrary to major media reports, data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center finds a dramatic increase in sea ice extent in the Arctic regions. The growth over the past year covers an area of 700,000 square kilometers, an amount twice the size of Germany. With the Arctic melting season over for ’08, ice cover will continue to increase until melting begins anew next spring. August ’08 data indicates a total sea ice area of 5 million square kilometers, up 13% from a year ago. (Daily Tech 9/3/08)

Social Media Sleuths A new survey finds 22% of all hiring managers have combed through social media profiles (mostly on LinkedIn and Facebook) to help evaluate potential hires, up from 11% in ’06. (Online Media Daily 9/11/08)

Fast Facts:

  • 31% of men who experience major depression have always attended religious services vs. 24% among those who have stopped attending.
  • A Gallup Poll finds 66% of Americans said if they needed a mental health professional, they would prefer going to one with spiritual values and beliefs.
  • More than 80% of Americans prefer to have their own values and beliefs integrated into their counseling process.
  • 56% of Protestants and 62% of Catholics participated in at least some training in the past year. (LifeWay Research Insights 8/15/08)
  • 50% of Americans know a member of the Christian clergy very well, while another 20% know one casually. (LifeWay Research Insights 8/15/08)
  • An estimated 220,000 black students were home-schooled in ‘07, up from 84,000 in ’99.
  • About 78% of women use the Internet for product information before making a purchase.
  • 77% of Hispanics have a bank account versus 98% of general market consumers.
  • 72% of the general consumer market has a retirement account (including 401(k) and IRA) vs. just 4% of African Americans and 32% of Hispanics.
  • Microsoft spends more than $8 billion per year on research and development.
  • There have been 4.3 million births in the U.S. since ’06 (latest data available). This is the highest birthrate since 1961.
  • 14% of self-described evangelicals have no definition of what an evangelical is.
  • 23% of pastors say their congregation has little or no security screening for the people working with young people.
  • Barna Research reports there are 24 million teens in the U.S., and more than half attend a church on a weekly basis.
  • An additional 31% of U.S. teens experiment with attending church but have not committed.
  • 75% of teens discuss matters of faith with their peers.
  • 33% of U.S. young people are members of Christian clubs at their high schools and colleges.
  • 75% of U.S. young adults have participated in at least one psychic- or witchcraft-related activity during their teens.
  • 94% of Millenials say they would accept a lower salary to work with a socially responsible company.
  • Wal-Mart distributes 25% of America’s newsstand products.
  • Gallup data shows people who have TVs in their homes report greater well-being than do those who do not.
  • On average, the effects of owning a TV are stronger in poorer as opposed to wealthier countries.
  • Depression affects about 121 million people worldwide, 17 million in America.
  • 30% of U.S. adults will experience depression at some point in their lifetimes.
  • The World Health Organization predicts by 2020, depression will be second only to heart disease in its impact on global health.
  • Food price inflation averaged just 2.3% from ’96 to ’06 vs. 6.1% from ’07 to 6/08.
  • A Nielsen Mobile study finds 1 in 5 U.S. wireless households could be wireless-only by the end of ’08.
Information compiled and edited by Gary Foster, President of Gary D Foster Consulting, a firm that assists Christian ministries and product companies in solving management, marketing, donor/customer service and product development problems. Contact Gary at: 419.238.4082, or go to

Dear MAC Partner,

Paul CedarWe have just concluded our 2008 MAC Annual Gathering in Minneapolis. It was an outstanding meeting. In fact, I believe that it was one of the best and most powerful of any that we have experienced over the past years.

Our focus was on reaching out to the younger generations of our nation with the good news of Jesus Christ with the prayer-care-share lifestyle. If you were unable to attend, I encourage you to go to our website at and read the conference report.

We pray that you will be able to join us for next year’s Annual Gathering scheduled for October 6-8, 2009. In the meantime, we thank the Lord for you and pray that you will enjoy a significant and encouraging fall season in serving the Lord and sharing His love with others.

Prayerfully yours – in Christ,

Paul Cedar Chairman

Mission America Coalition News

Promise Keepers Revisits Charleston, W. Va.

PKRon Thaxton, city leader for Loving Our Communities to Christ in Charleston, W. Va. sent this report from the recent Promise Keepers convention:

Our local team was essentially the same guys that God had forged together in the wonder of our 2004 (Promise Keepers) Conference - but there was a change in their perspective. They were not seeing the conference as an end in itself, but as part of the means toward community transformation. The bond had not only endured over the four-year interim - it had strengthened!

More than 220 men responded to the invitations to initially commit their lives to Christ, to deepen their relationship with Him or to come to Him as the One who is able to set them free from their bondage. We have established twenty small discipleship groups throughout our region to provide ongoing support--Mountaineer Disciple Keepers. After an initial four-week study we will be encouraging the guys to get involved in the desperate needs of their communities.

- Rev. Ron Thaxton, Church in the City, Charleston, W.Va.

Join the Conference Call to Launch “Ready Church” in Your City Thursday, Oct. 23, 10 a.m. CDT CENJoin a “Ready Church” conference call Oct 23 to find out how to position your city network to play a critical role in responding to emergencies of all kinds. You’ll learn how to restore the church’s role as an agent of positive change in your community, how to strengthen and sustain your city reaching efforts, how to win permission to share the gospel, and learn more about a Biblical collaboration opportunity to transform cities for Christ. Guests on the call include: Mary Marr, Christian Emergency Network Founder and Chairman; Dr. Sam Tillery, Together in Christ (Sonoma county/city leader), John Howland (Local Chapter champion), Dr John Schmitt (Santa Rosa champion pastor). Email for the call-in phone number and code.

The Ready Church Report is available online at

Evangelism News

Making the Leap from High School to College YTNA Youth Transition Network (YTN) website,, offers students connections to 5,450 ministries on more than 3,000 campuses and roommates on more than 4,300 campuses to help students connect with other Christians at college, or as they plan for college. YTN also offers “Be Prepared” campaign offers online and DVD materials to help motivate, prepare, and connect graduating high school students to their next spiritual home. On February 7, YTN will launch a “Live Above” webcast for junior and senior high youth to help them transition to college. Involve your church! More info.

Help for Parents of Teenagers Re-CreateRon Luce, founder of Teenmania Ministries has authored a new book: Re-Create - Building a Culture in Your Home Stronger than the Culture Deceiving Your Kids.

In an interview with CBN, Luce says, “You don't have to look very far to see that the cultural war is hammering our kids. Whether it's MTV, or the garbage just off regular television, the music world, video games and all that. This is the parent answer book. This is the book of hope for parents who are saying, ‘What in the world do I do?’” More info.

Student Views Shift Left in College On issues of morality and religion, college students shift noticeably to the left from the time they arrive on campus through their junior year, new research shows. The reason, according to UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, is the powerful influence of fellow students. More info.

Children’s Pastors’ Conferences To Meet INCMThe International Network of Children’s Ministry is hosting two conferences for children’s pastors. Jan. 5-8, the Children’s Pastors’ Conference will be held in San Diego, and Feb. 4-7 in Nashville. The events will equip children’s ministry leaders with skills to know how to lead children to Christ, to help children and children’s ministry leaders grow in their faith, and to offer strategies for outreach events and church programs that connect with children and families. More info.

The Strategic Importance of Student Ministry. Students The September issue of the Lausanne World Pulse offers five articles on the strategic importance of reaching students. One article by Dana Ryan, International Bible Church, Tempe, Ariz., international church reaching out to skeptical, intellectual grad students. More info. (photo: Lausanne World Pulse)

See You at the Pole Prayers More 'Politically Charged' See You At the PoleEvery year, on the fourth Wednesday of September, Christian students meet at “See You at the Pole” prayer rallies to intercede for their leaders, schools and families, asking God to bring moral and spiritual awakening to their campuses and countries. This year around 2 million students nationwide participated and many sought divine intervention for political issues. More info. (Photo: NNYM)

FOX Picks Up Inspiring Christian Sports Show for Teens Jejuna “The Real Winning Edge” is running on Saturdays this fall in more than 75% of the nation, including New York City, on FOX affiliate stations. The episodes of the show are geared toward teenagers and feature the personal stories of outstanding young people. Introducing the stories is an all-star team of high-profile, professional athletes and celebrities. More info. (

Thousands of California Christian Youth Empowered to Defend Marriage Fine LineThousands of believers across the state of California were encouraged and empowered to take a stand for traditional marriage through an event that was broadcast live to more than 160 churches in California and countless others across the Internet. On Wednesday, Miles McPherson hosted “The Fine Line” at his San Diego megachurch – the city’s largest Christian congregation and one of the fastest growing in the United. More info. (photo: Rock Photo / Brother Joe)

Study: Church-Going Teens Have Higher GPAs Regular church attendance may boost a student's GPA, according to a new study. Students who attend religious services weekly average a GPA of 0.144 higher than those who never attend services. More info.

Leading Like Christ Outcomes Magazine, from the Christian Leadership Alliance (previously the Christian Management Association and the Christian Stewardship Association) has published several articles on partnership and collaboration by MAC partners: “Collaboration Is Key to the Great Commission,” an interview with Steve Douglass, President of Campus Crusade for Christ, International, and “Working Together – It’s a God Idea,” with Phill Butler, Dave Hackett and Bill Sunderland of visionSynergy. More info.

Two Evangelical Groups Announce Global Partnership World Evangelical Alliance, which claims to represent some 420 million evangelical Christian worldwide, and World Vision International, which works in 98 countries and serves nearly 100 million, have agreed to work together on initiatives that bring holistic care to children, promote social justice, and contribute to Christian unity and cooperation. More info.

Mass Distribution of 80-Author Prayer Guide Underway Praying PastorsAn extensive prayer guide, written by 80 different professors and national prayer leaders, is being distributed to clergy nationwide at no cost to help tackle what many see as the top issue facing the church today. America’s National Prayer Committee recently launched The Praying Pastors Project to distribute Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry and other prayer resources to clergy. More info. (image:

Most Protestants Fall Short of Spiritual Maturity One researcher found that most Protestant churchgoers are not where they should be in their spiritual formation. According to Brad Waggoner, vice president of B&H Publishing Group, and his survey findings, only 17 percent of Protestant churchgoers in America demonstrated a "decent" level of discipleship or spiritual maturity. More info.

How to Keep People from Quitting Church When it comes to growing a healthy church, Pastor Larry Osborne doesn't survey the front door to see how he can attract large crowds and wow them with a special program. For the most part, his eyes are glued to the back door. That's because so many churches have been losing people, and some, without even noticing. More info.

Outreach 100: Largest and Fastest-Growing Churches in America For the first time since Outreach magazine has compiled its annual report of the largest churches in America, all 100 largest and fastest-growing churches were listed with 7,000 weekend attendants or higher. More info.

Innovate '08 Urges Churches to Stop Talking, Start Doing Mark Beeson of Granger Community Church says it's time to pop the church bubble many Christians are in - some so long that they have disengaged from the world. Beeson spoke at Innovate 2008, an annual conference hosted at his church in Granger, Ind., in September. All of the speakers were part of some of the most innovative churches in the country and challenged conference attendees to "start doing" for the purpose of transforming lives. More info.

Evangelicals Make Case for Bolder Poverty Response Joel HunterThe Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church in Orlando, Fla., and a board member of the World Evangelical Alliance, was one of a number of prominent American evangelical leaders who called on their government, the United Nations and the Church in September to adopt a bolder, more aggressive plan to combat global poverty. More info. (Photo:

Fireproof Offers Church Resources Through partnerships with ministries like Focus on the Family and 10 Great Dates, resources are available for churches to use following up the powerful message of the movie “Fireproof.” More info.

Missiologist Ralph D. Winter Receives Lifetime Achievement Award Ralph WinterRenowned American missiologist Dr. Ralph D. Winter and founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission recently received the 2008 Lifetime of Service Award that honored his lifetime of service to the cause of global mission. More info. (Photo:

Some Churches Have It, Some Don't Already in its second printing, a newly released book by one of the country's most innovative pastors is fast-becoming a must-read for church leaders who really want to have 'it.' Craig Groeschel, founder of, talks about a transformational agent he calls "it" in his new book It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It. More info.

U.S. Churches Urged to Confront Lukewarm Giving A survey by Empty Tomb, Inc., found that, on average, two cents of each dollar donated to congregations in 2006 funded international missions through the denominations – a level of support for overseas missions that was lower than that in the 1920s. Only $26 a year per evangelical Christian is required to fund over $544 million in efforts toward global evangelization, the report estimates. The estimated cost to stop global deaths of children under five years old is $239 per evangelical Christian, or $5 billion in total. More info.

Non-U.S. Christians Identify Problems in American Missions Christian leaders from around the world recently met in Dallas to share how the American church is viewed by believers in the Global South. Many of the more than a hundred pastors gathered noted that though the support of the U.S. church is still needed, American Christians should help foster local leadership instead of imposing its own model of church overseas. More info.

Lutherans Launch Celebration toward Reformation's 500th Year LutherLutherans in Germany and around the world have begun a decade of celebrations, honoring an Augustinian monk who helped spark the Protestant Reformation. The "Luther Decade" kicked off in Wittenberg, Germany, in September, marked 500 years since Luther moved to the city. More info. (photo: Picture Alliance ZB)

Faith-Based TV Program Finds Success in U.S. Prisons A faith-based television program, “Second Chance,” dedicated to ministering hope and restoration to thousands of men and women incarcerated throughout America is gaining in popularity with correctional officials, according to TBN, the network behind it. More info.

Expelled Released on DVD ExpelledLanding the title as “Top Grossing Documentary” of 2008, EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed made its debut on DVD. Distributed by Vivendi Entertainment, the film opened in the Top 10, achieving the #5 position on a per-screen average. It has already made its place in history as the #12 Top Grossing Documentary of all time and the #1 Conservative Documentary. More info.

Facing Off Against Hollywood FireproofFor a week, Hollywood and the media elite took notice of the movie Fireproof. Stories on ABC News, the New York Times, and Time Magazine told of a church making movies and Fireproof was in the top 10 movies in the country for its first three weeks in theaters – showing to 2.2 million people. The Love Dare, originally a plot device, became the No. 1 bestseller on the New York Times list of paperback advice books and #4 on There is still a short window of time available to see it! More info.

Southern Calif. Church Enters Movie-Making Business A 900-member church in Southern California began filming its first full-length movie in July with the goal of impacting the lives of at-risk teens. Written by New Song Youth Pastor Jim Britts and Executive Pastor Steve Foster, "How to Save a Life" deals with the tragic issue of teen suicide. More info.

First Creation Festival Tour Set to Kick Off in October The first-ever Creation Festival tour kicks off next month, set to hit more than 30 cities across the Northeast, Midwest and South with performances from some of the top names in Christian music as well as local outreach. More info. (image: Creation Festival)

Pro-Life Movie Touted for Potential Political Impact Come What MayA pro-life movie, largely produced by over 40 homeschooled students, is being praised for presenting solid legal arguments against the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision while captivating audiences with an engaging storyline that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. “Come What May” is the maiden project of Advent Film Group (AFG), a faith-based film production and distribution corporation founded by filmmaker George Escobar. More info. (photo: Christian

Emerging Church Spoofs Strike a Chord A spoof of the megachurch phenomenon in America has attracted over 45,000 viewers on YouTube as well as a recently won Emmy award.

“Though we use humor and satire, there is a purpose,” says Steve Gray, co-host, creator and executive producer of The Steve & Kathy Show, which came out with Emmy-winning “Real Preachers of Genius: Mega Church Pastor,” modeled after the Super Bowl commercial of a similar name. “We are exposing the absurdities of religion while bringing hope to the very ones who have been excluded by it.” Gray serves as senior pastor of World Revival Church of Kansas City. More info.

Collaborative Evangelism Calendar

Church of God Pastors Prayer Summit Oct. 21-23, Washington State. More info.

Seeking the Peace of the City - CCDA Oct. 22-26, Miami, Fla. More info.

Toronto Prayer Summit Oct. 23-24, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. More info.

Bottom-Up Approaches to Global Poverty Oct. 23-25, Waco, Tex. More info.

Christian Community Development Youth Conference Oct. 24-26, Miami, Fla. More info.

American Baptist Church Conference Oct. 25, Boise, Idaho. More info.

Tuscaloosa Prayer Summit Oct. 27-29, Tuscaloosa, Ala. More info.

Nashville Prayer Summit Oct. 30-31, Nashville, Tenn. More info.

The Call - California Nov. 1, San Diego. More info.

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church Nov. 9, Worldwide. More info.

New England Pastors and Ministriy Leaders Prayer Summit Nov. 17-20, New England. More info.

Children’s Pastors’ Conference Jan. 5-8, 2009, San Diego, Calif. More info.

Conservative Baptist Pastors Prayer Summit Jan. 11-14, 2009, Arizona. More info.

Live Above Webcast Feb. 7, 2009 More info.

Children’s Pastors’ Conference Feb. 4-7, 2009, Nashville, Tenn. More info.

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