USA_small Some facts reported in a recent religious survey include the following:

  • 80% of a church's first-time visitors heard about the church through a friend, co-worker, or family member.
  • 52% of pastors who decided as kids to follow Jesus did so at children's summer camp or VBS.
  • 65% of U.S. 18–29-year-olds identify themselves as Christian, 14% as atheist or agnostic, 14% no religious preference, and 8% other religions, according to LifeWay research.
  • 65% of U.S. 18–29-year-olds rarely or never pray with others, and 38% almost never pray alone.
  • 65% of U.S. 18–29-year-olds rarely or never attend worship services.
  • 67% of U.S. 18–29-year-olds do not read the Bible or sacred texts.
  • 72% of U.S. 18–29-year-olds say they're "really more spiritual than religious."
  • 79% of American Christians believe in the second coming, and 20% believe it will take place within their lifetime.
  • Just 27% of Canadians 15 and older attend worship at least monthly, 25.3% a few times a year, 21.1% have no religious affiliation, and 21.9% did not attend at all in'09.
  • Only 22% of Canadians ages 15–29 say religion is very important to them vs. 34% in '02.
  • Just 1 in 5 Canadians under 30 say they are the generation of their family that attends weekly religious services.
  • The U.S. economy has lost more than 8 million jobs in the downturn.
  • In the mid-1970s, there were 239,000 incarcerated individuals in U.S. prisons. Today that figure has increased 10-fold to a staggering 2.3 million.
  • 79% of 8–12-year-olds, 88% of 13–17-year-olds and 90% of 18–24-year-olds spend an hour or more on the Internet in a typical day.
  • Close to 180,000 people move into cities daily, adding roughly 60 million new urban dwellers each year.

News and Trends provided the information above as 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.

According to Facts and Trends (Winter 2011) millennials are America's largest generation, more than 78 million in number. They do not want leaders who scream at each other. Although 65% identify themselves as Christian, which I find really odd to say the least, they are leaving churches in fairly large numbers because they see many Christian leaders as negative and prone to divisiveness. They are repulsed by business leaders with harsh and autocratic spirits.

How can anyone not think that missional-ecumenism, and a deep commitment to working and praying for unity among Christians and churches, is not important in 2011 and the coming decades?