Archives For Culture

Hispanic Statistics in the United States

Craig Van Korlaar —  December 20, 2012

Earlier this fall we celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month (mid-Sept through mid-Oct). How familiar are you with the hispanic cultures and traditions of the U.S. residents whose heritage came from Spain, Mexico, and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean? How well, if at all, does your church understand hispanic culture? The Hispanic population may not be a minority for much longer, and it is vital that your church understand their culture if you ever want to reach them.

In honor of the hispanic community, we have collected the following general hispanic statistics.

  • 52.0 Million – The estimated Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2011, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 16.7 percent of the nation’s total population. (Census.gov)
  • 132.8 Million – The projected Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2050. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 24 percent of the nation’s total population on that date. (Census.gov)
  • More than 1 of every two people added to the nation’s population between July 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, were Hispanic (1.3M of 2.3 M total) (Census.gov)
  • 27 – Median age, in years, of the Hispanic population in 2010, compared with 32 for blacks, 34 for Asians and 42 for whites. (PEW)
  • 5 states with the highest percentage of hispanics – CA (27.8%), TX (18.8%), FL (8.4), New York (6.8%), Illinois (4.0%). (PEW)
  • 8 – The number of states with at least 1 million Hispanic residents. These states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas. (Census.gov
  • 2.3 Million – The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in 2010. (Census.gov)
  • 66% - The percentage of Hispanic families consisting of a married couple. (Census.gov)
  • 41% -  The percentage of Hispanic families consisting of a married couple with children under the age of 18. (Census.gov)
  • 25% – Percentage of population under age 5 that is Hispanic, as of 2008. (Census.gov)
  • $38,624 - The median income of Hispanic households in 2011 (Census.gov), a real income  a decline of 4.1 percent from 2009 to 2012. (Washington Post)
  • 26.7% – The poverty rate among Hispanics in 2011, a 4.9% increase since 2005. (Pew)
  • 14.1% – Percentage of hispanics with a bachelor’s degree or higher (Census.gov)
  • 71% – Percentage of hispanics age 25 and older who have at least a high school education (compared with 88% for blacks and 94% for whites) (IES)

FAITH AND HISPANICS

The Barna Group recently launched Barna:Hispanics, an entire section of it’s website dedicated to research specific to the hispanic community. In addition to their great (paid) reports, they have also released several free infographics.

Hispanics & Faith 2012 (a series of 20 infographics)


I Am an Hispanic American

Updated from a previous post

Bob Doll on the Global Economy and the Church

Kent Shaffer —  October 18, 2012

At the Global:Church Forum, Bob Doll, formerly of BlackRock, discussed the global economy and the Church.

Key demographics and economic trends.

As an investor we look at the world primarily divided by developed markets (developed countries), emerging markets (will eventually be developed), and frontier markets (an unknown future where some will be successful and others will disappear).

When we look back 10 years from now, we will see emerging markets making significant progress with important assists by the US.

Cell phone costs have dramatically dropped, which has given mobile access to lower economic areas.

A country’s change is population is the most significant factor on its economic growth. China’s 1 birth policy will slow their economy down. The US has an advantage of having a higher birthrate than the rest of the developed world. US immigration rate is also the highest globally, and those that come to the US tend to be young and very productive. In a decade or two, every country in Europe will be declining.

By 2050, half of the world’s Christianity will live is Africa and Asia. There is little relationship to a country’s rate of growth and its commitment to religion. But there is a big link between a country’s income growth and their religious engagement. Materialism crowds out God.

More Presbyterians were in church last Sunday in Ghana than in Scotland. More Roman Catholics worship in the Philippines than in any country of Europe including Italy.

Half of Christian leaders that have ever lived are alive today.

As representatives of the global Church we must think careful before saying what Christians now believe.

In the global South, churches are appealing to different cultures. They do quite well reaching migrants to cities. By 2025, 60% of the world’s population will live in cities; it will be two-thirds by 2050.

Impact of these trends on the church and its growth.

Who is my neighbor?

We live in an era where travel is easier and international communication is greater than any previous era.

Immigration?

Only about 3% of the world’s population immigrates on a given year. Yet that small percentage can sometimes affect a specific community by at least 15%. Most economists agree that immigrants are positive to a country’s economy, but people don’t like it when their jobs are taken.

Is there a Christian view of immigration? Leviticus 19 says the stranger among you should be treated well. We are told to love our neighbor not love our neighbors born in our country.

Foreign aid?

Globalization brings the suffering of the world more directly to our attention. One billion people today live on less than $1 per day. Outside of China, most of the world has not been able to alleviate poverty well.

The absence of coordination among NGOs (nonprofits) has created a great waste of resources.

Oscar Muriu on 5 Changes to the Global Church

Kent Shaffer —  October 17, 2012

At the Global:Church Forum, Oscar Muriu of Nairobi Chapel (Kenya) discussed 5 changes to the global Church.

We have a lot of university students come to Nairobi Chapel, so we began to ask who else ministers to college students that we can learn from. So we began talking to a ministry in North Carolina, USA. Then we started looking for ministries from all over the world that we could learn from.

I challenge you to go back to the round table of missions and rethink mission and partnerships.

At Nairobi Chapel, we want to reach 10 million people for Christ. We want to disciple 100,000 people. We want to begin a social justice movement that lifts people out of poverty.

5 Major Changes to the Global Church

#1 :: What is happening in the global South. 

The number of people coming to Christ is mind-boggling. The center of Christianity has moved from the northern hemisphere to the South. A century ago 75% of Christians lived in the northern hemisphere, but today around 75% of Christians live in the southern hemisphere. So when we ask, “What does it mean to be a Christian today?”, it is a question that must be answered by the South.

#2 :: The way we do missions today need to be rethought and reevaluated.

While the last century was very fruitful, there were major problems with the model of missions. We from the southern hemisphere are grateful though. There are 2 major models. The North thinks like a business model. The South thinks like a marriage. So when the southern hemisphere partners with the North, we name our children after the partner because they become family. So there are probably a few kids in Africa called “Compassion”.

But when we work in these 2 different models, we wonder why there are problems. Why it lacks trust. Why when the work is done, the northern hemisphere leaves the relationship. The model that Paul uses is in 1 Corinthians 12 – a body. It is not a marriage or a business. There are many parts but one body. This is the analogy we need to define the body of Christ today.

5 Reasons We Must Be a Body

  1. We belong together. We must be linked together as the body of Christ. If your faith is as small as a mustard seed, you will say unto this mountain move, and it will be moved into the sea. And in Genesis 11, God loks at the Tower of Babel and says, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” These 2 verses are the most powerful in Scripture. One concerns the power of faith and the other unity.
  2. As the gospel moves south, there is temptation for the South to be done with how the West treats us. But the only cells that rebel against the body are cancer. True maturity is about interdependence. The church of the South knows it needs the North, but does the North know it needs the South? If I am a member of the body of Christ then I have a place.
  3. We must build into our models of ministry reciprocity. Dependence is created when one part of the body accepts what the other part of the body has to give. In this era, the North must also empower the South to realize that they have something to give. The West must open themselves up to reverse missions.
  4. We must build into the body a sense of neutrality. What about the Japanese Church? We act like it isn’t important. Who ever read a church growth book from Japan? But God says these little churches get the honor, and the large churches do not get special treatment. After China was closed for 50 years and we went in and saw they had possibly 80 million converts to Christianity, we did not go in and ask them to teach us.
  5. We must learn how to operate from a posture of powerless, a posture of learning. When someone from the West comes to me and says, “What can we do for you?”, it is arrogant because it suggests the West has power over me. Instead ask, “What can you teach me?” That posture opens the door to learn from each other and then know each other’s needs. Learn to function from the perspective of powerlessness. We assume that the 2 vehicles of money and power will get the job done. But Matthew 9 says leaves these things behind and submit yourself to the cultures of the people you want to reach.

#3 :: Forget the term partnership.

The word partnership is loaded.

Maybe we need to say corporation. We are in this together. You do your job. I’ll do my part, and the job will get done. Look at Wikipedia.

We can also say co-neighboring. We sit around the table and we work together to get the job done. It is a short-term effort towards a goal.

Partnership is confusing. One side might want a long-term relationship, while the other says I just want to give you money and technology and move on.

#4 :: Mission models are changing.

With a shift to the southern hemisphere, the way we do missions need to change. Let’s look at the early Church. People like Paul didn’t have much of a strategic plan. They’d head off to one place, get a dream, and then obey God’s direction. They didn’t have a strategic plan; they had obedience.

Early Church Missions Depended on:

  1. The early Church had hospitality of Christian community.
  2. Pax Romana gave relative freedom for traveling around.

But the next era of mission largely took place in monasteries. Then mission moved to places like Middle England where Genesis 12 and going to an unknown land was the focus. They’d sail the high seas until God told them to land or until they bumped into land.

Then mission moved into the British Empire where the trade routes helped spread the gospel. William Carey used the trading companies to reach India and Kenya. The old colonial system was part of the missionary system.

Then North America became the center of missions for the last 200 years. Wherever the American dollar went, missions could be done. You raise money because anywhere in the world accepts it. It grants access.

But the South doesn’t have the power of American currency, so what will we do? David was brave enough to say he couldn’t wear Saul’s armor to fight Goliath. The Southern Church will need to have the courage to say, “We cannot fight the fight of the Kingdom wearing the armor of the American Church.”

The Scripture does not say Africans should go where they can get visas for. Scripture says we should go into all the world. Africans, too, have received the full Great Commission. But they lack the income to live like American missions.

3 Advantages Africans Have in Missions

  1. In Africa, 50% of the population is under age 18. Somehow we must empower the youth of Africa, India, and China to reach the world.
  2. It is far to expensive to send American missionaries. They need 3 years to raise support. And they have to keep going back to raise support $100 at a time from churches. But if you can survive the poverty of Africa, you can survive anywhere. This is a gift for the Kingdom because we travel light.
  3. A third gift we have is anonimity. Americans stick out when they travel. But who notices an African? Who notices a Filipino? We can travel to hostile places and patiently convert a whole generation while serving as maids, drivers, and servants.

#5 :: Our faith is in the Lord.

Our faith is not in the instruments of mission but in God Himself. Our faith is not in a proven record. Our faith demands a lot of risk.
If you want to see amazing things happen, you must be willing to give your life. The Church of the West needs to bring back pain and sacrifice and risk into missions. It is not about ROI.
Why was it morally right for Brother Andrew to illegally smuggle Bibles into closed countries, but it is wrong for African and Latino missionaries to illegally immigrate into the US as undocumented workers?

Things to Consider

  1. The US recession is waning Africa off their dependence on the West.
  2. The West is transitioning. The Baby Boomers were generous, but when they pass their wealth onto their kids, their kids will not give because they are not in the Church.
  3. The Church needs to wake up to the fact that Africa is growing. Economists are reporting that African economies are growing faster than all other economies except maybe India and China. Africa is predicted to have 3 decades of lion economies in the near future. Africa is poised to possibly take off like India’s economy did.

What God is Doing in the Middle East

Kent Shaffer —  October 17, 2012

NOTE: These notes have been edited with consideration to sensitive information.

At the Global:Church Forum, Fayez Ishak of Kasr El Dobara Church (Egypt) discussed what God is doing in the Middle East.

In Egypt we aren’t sure how the mess we are in will end. But I want to share another perspective with you – how God sees the Middle East. The Middle East is a paradox of both what you see on the news and what God sees it as.

In the Middle Eastern Church, we are experiencing things we have never experienced in modern history.

When you look in the distance, you think you see a lion. When you come closer, you realize it is a man. And when you come even closer, you realize it is your brother. The West needs to come closer to look at their brothers in the Middle East. It is not the Middle East; it is family.

Prayer

Isaiah 19 is very encouraging. God came and visited Egypt and made Himself known to the Egyptians. God made a highway between Egypt and Syria. We pray for this to be true again today.

We were inspired by and tried to pray like the Koreans, but we lacked their disciplined, organized culture. So we decided to pray like Africans and put our emotions into it. The spirit of prayer is coming out of desperation. We see what God wants to do as well as our limitations, and we know we need God.

Ezekiel went to the valley and saw there were very dry bones. It is like saying, “This guy is very dead.” It doesn’t matter. A miracle is a miracle. Pray and intercede regardless of how impossible it seems.

The young people of Egypt are praying. What God is doing in the Church is amazing.

Unity

The unity is also amazing. People are giving up their dreams to serve God. More churches are working together than ever before.

Priests and bishops are born again and love the Lord. And they secretly come wise us and pray together with us. But over time, we said this can no longer be a secret, so on 11 November 2011 we gathered together 45,000 people in unity from different backgrounds (Protestant, Catholic, Coptic, etc.) praying from 6am to 4am the next day. At 3am the people just kept shouting, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” for 11 minutes. And the leaders of the churches said, “This is the people of Egypt repenting.”

Open Doors

We see doors open one after another. Almost every week we have a baptism. Thousands are coming to Christ. The transformation is as never before.

And all this means is that we cannot do business as before.
We must be wide-eyed and obedient to Christ.

Partnership

When God is challenging you with a big vision, and you look to yourself and see how limited you are, recognize that you need God and the Body of Christ. But it is not about getting people’s help because you can’t do it alone. It is about being a body that must work together.

We need to do more than bridge the gap between Christian groups. We need to shift our paradigm.

Giving and receiving must understand the need. When you give something, you need to first be sure that you are giving what is needed. That is why every partnership must be built upon relationship, understanding, and coming to visit.

Sometimes we insist on honoring you without asking a simple question of, “How can I honor you.”

Giving and receiving must also have evaluation. The win in a partnership is the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

Tanya Walker on the Background and Mindset of Islam

Kent Shaffer —  October 16, 2012

At the Global:Church Forum, Tanya Walker of Ravi Zacharies International Ministries discussed the background and mindset of Islam.

Muslims make up every 1 in 4 people, and statistics show we can see an exponential increase to their adherents. Suddenly this centuries old religion has come to the forefront.

The staggering migration patterns of the last century have caused 46 million Muslims to move to the West. Simultaneously, we are seeing fear of Islam growing.

Because of this, we’ve moved away from a naive unawareness of Islam. But while our awareness has increased, we haven’t seen our compassion for Muslims increase. Christians must start reaching Muslims.

Beliefs of Islam

Christianity is a religion of complex beliefs and simple practices. Islam is a religion of simple beliefs and complex practices. There are five pillars of Islam.

  1. Shahada: This is the creed of Islam, and they believe that if you say it out loud, it makes you a Muslim. They have an emphasis on words and a mystic belief that saying their creed is all you need.
  2. Shallat: daily prayers
  3. Zakat: the giving of alms
  4. Sawm: fasting during Ramadan
  5. Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in one’s lifetime.

While Islam and Christianity can use similar words like fasting and prayer, we cannot confuse the two religions. They are different.

The doctrine of god (Allah) is most important. God (Allah) is thought of in the absolute strictest form of monotheism. They believe that god (Allah) is utterly one without sections. Thus, the Christian Trinity is repulsive because they think God can’t have multiple forms. When a Muslim talks about the trinity they mean god (Allah) entering a sexual relationship with Mary to make Jesus.

Muslims do not believe that god can reveal himself. They believe that Allah is not bound by anything – character, promises, or anything. Consequently, they believe that Allah can change and not be bound by the scales of justice. It leaves Muslims to a state of fear.

Relationship with god (Allah) is a misnomer to them. Heaven is a place where they get pleasures.

Islam claims that the Christian have been corrupted. They believe that the classical Arabic Qur’an to be the real scripture. However, many variations occurred of the Qur’an, and Islamic leaders consolidated them for standardization and burned the early versions by the third generation of leaders after Mohammed.

The Muslim view of humanity is that humans are good by nature. They believe that humans are the pinnacle of creation but are not made in the image of god (Allah). Thus, they feel that they must earn their salvation, which is almost impossible even according to Muslim tradition. The way that Muslims consider sin is not as a fundamental problem but one of getting off the wrong path.

The Qur’an says that nobody including Mohammed can be assured of salvation unless they die as a martyr. The Qur’an says that no one can atone for another on judgment day. It completely refutes what Christ did for humanity through His death and resurrection.

Evangelism by Muslims is rooted in fear and a desire to earn as many good deeds as possible.

Muslims are the biggest unreached people group by Christianity. Yet more Muslims have come to Christ in the last several decades than in the last 14 centuries combined. This is the prominent move of God in our generation.

Don’t forget the persecuted Church. Reality is people are giving their lives for Christ right now. Partner with the persecuted Church at least through prayer.

 

How Consumerism and Objectifying People Kill Ministry

Kent Shaffer —  October 16, 2012

At the Global:Church Forum, Michael Ramsden of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries discussed how the global Church is changing.

Luke 14:12-33
12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers[b] or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” 15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant[c] to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you,[d] none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” 25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

What happens at the end of the world? There will be judgment. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. And western cultures say, “Oh, and there is going to be a banquet!” But what type of banquet? A wedding banquet. And whose wedding is it? Partly ours.

What does it mean to be betrothed? Think of the anticipation. Yet I find it interesting that we often struggle to live as though we are the bride of Christ.

Most people in affluent cultures, find themselves having to constantly increase the pace and volume of consumption in order to maintain the same level of enjoyment. This cycle is called the Hedonic treadmill. Research shows that consumers consistently make self-defeating choices.

Now in Jesus’ parable about the wedding banquet, the servant is not inviting people to the banquet when he goes out. The invitations have already been sent out and accepted. When the servant goes out, he is merely ringing the dinner bell. But everyone made excuses. The first 2 excuses are commercial in nature, and we understand how people get caught up in money. This is what happens with the affluent.

But the 3rd excuse causes a lot of Westerners problems. The 3rd excuse is a man saying, “I have a women at home, and I would much rather be doing something with her than you. The is not an affluent excuse but a sexual one. The modern era has become too focused on viewing men and women as sexual objects. We live in e that tells women that they are empowered if they act as sexual objects. How is that progress?

In the Western world, sexual desire was driven by a sense of spiritual connection. In India, sex has been long thought of as a mystical connection. But today sex is increasingly viewed as a product to consume. Pornography is rampant. And we increasingly think of ourselves as animals.

Slavery reduces people to objects rather than people. Pornography treats people as objects. Sin dehumanizes us. It makes us less human than we actually are. When we treat people as objects, we lose our way.

Is it even possible that today’s Christians treat God as an object that is to be consumed?

One US government analyst said, “Hypocrisy is the new unforgivable global sin.” When you marry objectifying people and unhealthy consumption with our integrity, what do you have?

In Jesus’ parable of the wedding banquet, people had an invitation that they ultimately rejected, so the servant went out and evangelized. The servant sought out who would come. The servant compelled people. He must be compelling.

If you do not pick up your cross and forsake all you have, you cannot be Christ’s disciple. That statement cannot be compelling unless God’s servants live it.

The trouble is we are trying to teach morals of discipleship that do not demand everything. Even some churches treat people as objects that give them money.

Don’t ignore the people in the trenches that are laying down their lives. We have arm chair quarterbacks that are ignoring the pleas of help from those in the trenches as well as their feedback on how to do things better. I’ve known people that would not fund a ministry initiative because they are afraid people will be martyred. But I wouldn’t fund ministry by people who weren’t willing to lay down their lives.

Salt that has lost its saltiness is worthless. If the impurities in salt reach a certain level, it will be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

Poor areas of the world are modeling out an incredible spiritual richness. So since we are in the West, it is not just enough to learn from the theology of the Church of the South and the East. What we need to do is learn from those who are persecuted and willing to die yet keep growing in their passion for Christ.

If as a Church we are willing to pay the cost that the majority of the Church is paying, you will be scared at times, but you will also be more effective.

Affluent cultures are born by sacrifice. When we are poor, we mistake scarcity for spiritual discipline. But when affluence comes and scarcity becomes scarce then peoples lives are destroyed if they lack discipline. The trouble is that in the West, we have been affluent for a very long time. The types of disciplines that we need have been gone for a very long time.

God has a habit of humbling people who trust in themselves. The goal of life isn’t to live as long as possible but to live a life that is obedient to Him. That is the only life worth living.

I think the models of discipleship we have in the West (1) move too slowly, (2) expect to little, (3) promise too much, and (4) expect quick maturity.