Archive for the ‘worship’ Category

Lessons from Amazon: Being open to change can spur congregational vitality, growth

The majority of congregations are at a crossroad today: They must adapt to a culture where churchgoing is increasingly more of a choice than an obligation, or face a future of sustained decline. Yet many congregations have been reluctant to embrace any major changes in outreach to attract new members or retain younger generations. Instead, they appear to be cutting back, research indicates.

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The gift of life, helping the stranger and a 'honeymoon effect?' for pastors

Who is more likely to be nice this holiday season? New research sheds light on the relation between religion and blood donation, how one’s image of God influences an individual’s sense of moral obligation and likelihood to volunteer and whether being new to a congregation can lower or heighten stress levels for clergy.

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Studies reveal 5 ways faith matters in the struggle to place spiritual before material goods

It is not just Western Christians in this Advent period who are tempted to ignore their faith’s warnings to focus on spiritual rather than material goods. New studies are revealing the ways members of different global faiths may transcend – or fall prey to – consumer cultures willing to co-opt even their most sacred festivals to move merchandise.

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As politicians go low, faith can combat body shaming, new research finds. Do you consider yourself 'fearfully and wonderfully made'?

Faith may play a powerful role in relation to the continuing widespread acceptance of body shaming in America, according to new research. People who consider their body, in the words of Psalm 139, “fearfully and wonderfully made,” were significantly more likely to report feeling good about their bodies, one study found. However, believers who consider the body to be basically sinful were more likely to be ashamed of their body.

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When believing in miracles may be harmful to your health

Are there times when too much control can be ceded to God? When it comes to health, the answer in many cases may be yes. Placing too much control in divine hands may lessen efforts to seek treatment or take preventive measures such as quitting smoking or following a healthy diet, a new study indicates.

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Saying 'I do' may reduce religious ties, but parenthood boosts rate of return for couples AND singles

Even as young adults increasingly put off marriage, the traditional assumption that saying “I do” at the altar can help pump new vibrancy into congregational life no longer appears valid, new research indicates. What does bring young adults back to religious congregations is having children. And it is not just married couples with children that are filling pews.

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The weekend activity that can help you feel happier throughout the week

People who attend Sunday worship not only feel better during the time they are in church, but they are happier throughout the week than non-churchgoers, according to two new studies. The explanation for the happiness gap goes beyond the finding that non-churchgoers spend more time in passive activities such as watching TV and less time with family and friends in social situations. Spending time in social rituals that reinforce their faith also seems to provide individuals with meaning and positive coping skills that contribute to better mental health.

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Worshipping alone: Studies find divorce retains its sting in faith communities

The religious stigma surrounding divorce remains a powerful source of anguish for believers, but few congregations have ministries for people recovering from failed marriages, new studies find. Believers are finding solace in a personal relationship with the divine, but many report feeling alone and judged at communal services across faith traditions, the research indicates.

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Saving grace: The leadership virtue that can help congregations work through conflict

Science is suggesting an effective pastoral response to working through conflict. Humility. Intellectual humility in particular. New research projects are finding the more pastors are perceived to be intellectually humble, the more likely they are to be forgiven by people who took offense at something they said or did. This was especially the case in one study for perceived transgressions in the area of religious beliefs, values or convictions, core areas of religious identity that have the potential to tear asunder congregations.

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The '1 percent' in mainline Protestantism? Congregations attracting young adults

Is there a point of no return for the resurgence of mainline Protestantism? As the movement enters its second half-century of precipitous decline, new research suggests that not only is there no end in sight, but there are few signs of hope for revival in rapidly aging, shrinking groups such as the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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