Shifting Stats

Yes, I’m still using this blog!  Sometimes I lament not using it more, but then I realize, Redeem the Commute is technically a blog, and I’m writing, podcasting and video blogging there every day, so no wonder I have little motivation to write on the side!

That said, I do want to use this site more regularly to post ideas on missional ministry.  Here goes!

I attended a workshop last week, put on by World Vision Canada, called Shifting Stats: Shaking the Church.  In the first half of the afternoon they presented some new Canadian stats of interest to church leaders, and in the second half Bruxy Cavey spoke about how The Meeting House is trying to address our changing culture.

Without any commentary, here are some of the stats I found most interesting.  I will note some of them were presented without enough context – I’d regularly find myself questioning what population was sampled.  They provided us with a booklet outlining their sources, but it would be a lot of work to track down an individual stat’s source!

  • 88% of Canadians profess belief in God
  • 32% attended a Christian church at Christmas
  • Average Sunday attendance at Christian Churches is about half that number
  • ~25% of Canadians claim No Religious Affiliation.  That is up from 16.5% in the previous census.
  • Stats Canada measures with a Religiosity index that includes:* Affiliation
    * Attendance
    * Personal Practice
    * How Important They Consider Religion
  • 40% of Canadians score low on the Religiosity Index
  • 31% score moderately
  • 29% score highly
  • The lowest scores are held by young people
  • 43% of immigrants attend religious services monthly versus 22% of native born Canadians
  • There has been a 25% drop in married families, from 92% to 67% in the last few decades
  • Those who claim No Religious Affiliation:29% of those born between 1967 to 1986
    20% of baby boomers
    12% pre 1946
  • 1/3 of those aged 15-24 have never visited a religious service
    Many teens have parents who have never been in church, have only a vague idea of church meaning
  • Canadians spent 1.5 Billion on Christmas in 2011
    Canadians gave an average of $123 in charitable gifts in 2010
  • Median net worth of a family headed by a single female parent is $14,000 – lowest of any family type

There is obviously lots to ponder here, and I’m doing that actively.  I’m just sharing the numbers for now so you can consider it yourself.

Here is a friend of mine, Connie den Bok, discussing with others some of the stats:

What are the implications for the church here?  Good, bad, or neutral?

Almost 400 Attend Outdoor Movie Night in Ajax

Since launching last November, our app Redeem the Commutehas been installed on mobile phones and tablets almost 1,000 times, and our course content is accessed hundreds of times a month.  We’re thrilled about these numbers, since they are great indicators of potential for a local Christian community to form in Ajax.

Our next step was to begin hosting some community-building events to assess our users’ interest in face-to-face gatherings, and to connect with new people. On Sept. 27, Redeem the Commute hosted a free Outdoor Family Movie Night at Lakeside Amphitheatre on the Ajax waterfront, surrounded by commuting households. The event offered scattered mobile users a chance to gather and meet other members of Redeem the Commute’s online community. It was also an opportunity for Redeemer to share what it does with an entire neighbourhood.

IMG_4809The team of volunteers expected about 100 people to attend, and had popcorn donated from the local theatre to feed 200, just in case people were hungry. By the end of the evening, almost 400 people came out. Admission was free, and we collected hundreds of non-perishable food items for a local foodbank whose staff lit up with joy when the saw such a big delivery.

Everyone who came enjoyed a great movie, free popcorn, cheap refreshments and learned what Redeem the Commute is all about from a short video before the film began, and while meeting the snack bar volunteers.  Movie-goers donated hundreds of items for the local foodbank.  The leadership team heard great reviews of the evening, both in person and on social media. “We hope they do this next year!” wrote one, while another wrote, “We’ve lived here 11 years and never seen this amphitheatre used. Thanks!”

Our favourite quote was when a child asked his father why we’d give such a generous gift when if we’d just charged $2 per person, we could have “made a lot of money.”  His father’s response, “I don’t think they’re interested in our money” showed that the event had communicated something very important about our values as a missional Christian community.

support-iPadThis event was worth every dollar we spent, and if you agree, we’d love your help!  We’ve already had personal and business sponsors cover around 50% of the evening’s costs, and the rest has come from our hospitality budget.  But with a gift of $100, or any donation, you will help offset the costs of advertising, film rights, equipment rental and more and can give us the confidence to make this an annual event.

Can you help?   Click here to make a financial gift, and email Ryan if you can help in other ways, or you have specific requests.

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Resources for the Synod of the Diocese of Saskatoon

I had the opportunity to speak to the Diocese of Saskatoon this week, and share the Reimagining Church course with them.

First, if you were there, please tell us how we can improve the course by completing a survey. – The survey is now closed.

Here are all the resources you need to teach the course in your home context:

Videos you saw:

Session 1: Brave New World

  1. Little Mosque on the Prairie
  2. Church on Tap
  3. Fam Jam (New, not in course notes)

Session 2: What in the World is God up to?

  1. Tony Campolo on church for prostitutes
  2. Skater Church
  3. Night Shift * (Instead of in Session 3)

Session 3: The School of Jesus

  1. Sentamu baptisms
  2. Destination Church
  3. reconnect (Not in notes)

Session 4: Changing world, changing church

  1. Cameron House
  2. Somewhere Else *
  3. Zac’s Place (Normally optional)
  4. Building Planes in the Air (Not shown this time)

Session 5: Where do we go from here?

  1. fresh expressions of church: a medieval video
  2. Redeem the Commute – Password is redeemthecommute (Not in notes)
  3. Listening for Mission *
  4. Change the World (Instead of the Colour Purple)

Exact Slides Shown

Please download the whole course package from the link above, and make your own modifications.  But if you’re trying to find or remember something I showed that isn’t normally in the course, go ahead and look over these slides as they are exactly what was shown in Saskatoon.

Workshop: Disciple Making with Technology

I led a workshop at the Vital Church Planting Conference 2013 on Disciple Making and Technology – focused on helping people think through a process from message, to audience, to selecting the appropriate technology.

This workshop was offered on the Saturday Team Day.

Slides & Handouts

Other Resources

Weekly Kit List – September 3, 2012

And more from my link backlog, this time on mission:

Evangelism and the Presence of God

A review of The Sacrament of Evangelism.  I haven’t read the book, but have added it to my wish list now!

The Neighbourhood Mission Start Up

What does missional living look like in your neighbourhood?  This is a good guide.

Turning a Church into a Community Centre

Fascinating story – do you think it’s a good idea?

21 Things They Don’t Tell You About Church Planting

Some wisdom from my friend Darryl.  So true.

Weekly Kit List – August 27, 2012

And more links from my backlog, this time focused on culture:

A Tacky Mess – The Masses vs. Great Design

This really resonated with me.

How Casinos are Failing the Elderly

From the Atlantic.

The Circles of Marketing

More from Seth Godin.

We Built Way Too Many Cultural Institutions

A really interesting exploration of cultural institutions in the US, and whether they are sustainable.  We could think about church buildings in the same way.

Weekly Kit List – August 20, 2012

And here is more of the backlog of links, this time about church, church planting, and change:

What Young Clergy Want You to Know

Some of this rings true – worth the read.

Church Hopping

An exploration of why people church hop (not shop) and why they shouldn’t.

Your Church Will Die

7 life stages of a church are outlined here: Birth, Child, Adult, Parent, Grandparent, Senior citizen, Death.  I can’t help but notice so many churches skip over the grandparenting stage – how can we encourage this more as an authentic choice

From Metro to Retro – Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4

A church planter chronicles his changing approach to planting – very thought provoking.

Everyone Benefits by Including Children in Small Groups

I really like the idea of families worshipping, and doing small groups together.  It’s tough to figure out, but there are some good overviews here.

The United Church

So true.


Not-So-Weekly Kit List – August 14, 2012

I am way behind on posting links of interest!  Here’s some of the backlog, focusing first on statistics and research!

A New Day – The Resilience and Restructuring of Religion in Canada

Reg Bibby’s latest work studying religion in Canada is available free.  Some very unexpected and encouraging results here, although his assessment of the mainline protestant churches seems grim.  He tries to recommend some solutions going forward, but like I found in his other books, these conclusions seem out of touch with reality on the ground, unlike his scientific approach to the data itself.

Is Bigger Really Better? The Statistics actually Say “No”!

Neil Cole looks at the numbers from Natural Church Development, to see if megachurches really do make more disciples than smaller churches.  He recognizes the research is limited, but it suggests “no”.

New Research: Churchgoers Believe in Sharing Faith, But Most Never Do

I can’t say I’m really surprised at this research!

How Churches use Social Media

Some stats on social media and church.  No big surprises here either.

How GTA Residents Beat the Heat

Environics had a little fun during our heat wave.