Good News Bad News
This is what Americans say: 14 percent said “None of these” when presented with a list of ways churches serve their communities. But 86 percent said something.
You could take that as good news/bad news. We could have this conversation probably about any of our statistics. This is probably a good one to think about.
If you’re writing on this, or you’re blogging on this, or you’re going to talk to a friend about this, you have a choice. Are you going to take the positive and say, “Wow, 86 percent of Americans have heard something in the last six months where a local church is serving. They’re helping people,” or you can take the, “Wow, 14 percent of Americans think churches are doing nothing.”
Both are legitimate. Those are both real numbers, but completely different headlines, as far as how we’re starting a conversation.
Across the board, with all Americans, feeding the hungry was the highest level of awareness.. That’s what they had heard about churches doing in the last six months. The smallest was providing tax preparation. I was surprised that that even hit eight percent, because I’m not really aware of that, not as familiar with that.
Thirty-three percent of Americans have heard of local churches sheltering the displaced or homeless. Fewer had heard of offering after school programs.
If people have certain interests or beliefs, they tend to be more likely to hear those things that they have an interest in. We see that, like with people who have a graduate degree. That’s not a large number of Americans, but people with a graduate degree are more likely to say their local churches are tutoring school kids.
They’re more likely to say churches are teaching English to immigrants. They’re more likely to say churches are offering tax preparation, even though it’s still a small number. Because they have in interest in those areas, they notice them more when they hear somebody in their community talking about it.
People aged 65‑plus, the things they tended to be high on were feeding, clothing, and shelter, which is that thing you learn real early on is the basic human needs.
They’ve gone their whole lives assuming churches are helping with those basic food, clothing, shelter type of things. That comes through with what they say they’ve heard churches are doing.
(See the full transcript for the episode –with links–on next page)