Congregations more divided over armed congregants
LifeWay Research found that 62% of Protestant pastors say their churches have an intentional plan in the case of an active shooter, but less than half—45%—have armed church members. Of pastors surveyed, 23% say their churches have armed private security on site, and 6% have uniformed police officers. Just over one-quarter meet in a building with a no firearms policy.
“While methods vary, most churches start with the resources they have to prepare for what they hope will never happen,” said LifeWay Research’s Scott McConnell. “With planning, a church can be prepared without being distracted or paralyzed by the threat. Pastors are trying to balance two responsibilities—protect those on the inside, while being as welcoming as possible to those on the outside.”
Largest Christian adoption agency will halt international adoptions
Bethany Christian Services will no longer facilitate international adoptions, the largest Christian adoption agency in the U.S. announced Jan. 21. The policy change follows nearly two decades in which the number of international adoptions to the U.S. dropped from almost 30,000 in 2004, to just over 4,000 in 2018, Christianity Today reports.
Evangelicals are having fewer children, just like other Americans
The fertility rate in the U.S. has hovered since the 1980s around two lifetime births per woman, Christianity Today reports. Evangelicals had maintained higher than average fertility rates, but research shows that, between 1972 and 2016, conservative Protestants went from having 6% more children than mainline Protestants to roughly the same number. “Painted in broad strokes,” CT reports, “what this means is that evangelicals now seem to be having about the same number of children as anybody else in America.”
Graham moves ahead with U.K. tour, despite cancellations
Several venues in the United Kingdom have cancelled planned summer appearances by Franklin Graham, the evangelist posted on social media last week. The cancellations over Graham’s views on homosexuality haven’t deterred the son of Billy Graham from moving ahead with tour, set to begin in late May.
“Hundreds of churches are praying & planning to be a part of these evangelistic outreaches,” Franklin Graham tweeted Jan. 31. “People everywhere are searching for something to fill the void in their lives. Jesus Christ is the answer.”
Research measures religious traditions’ most used phrases
A recent study by Pew identified the words or sequences of words most distinctive of sermons in several religious traditions during a two-month study period. Atop the list for evangelicals: word sequences or phrases including hell, salvation, sin, heaven, and Bible.
Sources: LifeWay Research, Christianity Today, Christian Post, Pew Research