Those who embrace the prosperity gospel are no more likely to start new businesses than Christians who don’t, Baylor University researchers have found.
Their study, “Prosperity Beliefs and Value Orientations: Fueling or Suppressing Entrepreneurial Activity,” surveyed more than 1,000 working U.S. adults on attitudes, beliefs and values pertaining to prosperity teachings, work and entrepreneurial action.
“As revealed in our findings, a belief that God will provide financial benefit to the faithful is not enough to push someone to launch a business,” lead author Kevin D. Dougherty, an associate professor of sociology at Baylor, said in a university news release. “The relationship between prosperity beliefs and starting a business is indirect and inconsistent.”
Published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, the research uncovered little evidence between prosperity-gospel beliefs and the ability to recognize business opportunities or the willingness to identify and take risks, which are among the key characteristics of entrepreneurs, according to the national study.
However, Dougherty added that entrepreneurial thinking can be enhanced by the positive self-help messages of the prosperity gospel.
“Can prosperity preachers Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes save the U.S. economy? Probably not,” Dougherty said. “But nor are they damning it.”
Study: Millennials more spiritually curious than older adults
They may not be coming to church as much as the members of older generations, but Millennials are more spiritually inquisitive than a lot of their elders, according to the Christian research group Barna.
“Barna data suggests an openness to different forms of faith-sharing among the less religious, and a spiritual curiosity among Millennials in particular,” the organization announced recently.
In a report titled Reviving Evangelism and produced in partnership with Alpha USA, researchers found that Millennials say they have more faith conversations, and even evangelistic discussions, than older non-Christians.
“Though this could be partly due to the greater diversity that exists for young people among their family and friends, this isn’t the whole story,” Barna said in an online summary of the report. “For at least some young adults, there appears to be deeper interest in spirituality in general, and in Christianity specifically.”
CBF church team continues immigrant, refugee ministry at the border
The increasingly critical situation of immigrants and refugees at the U.S.-Mexican border is steeling the resolve of a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregation to continue its long-time practice of ministering to those threatened populations.
CBF’s Fellowship Southwest reported that members of Willow Meadows Baptist Church in Houston make the 700-mile round trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley three times a year to participate with other religious and humanitarian groups serving the waves of stranded people seeking entry to the United States. Their activities there seek to “minister to refugees, provide respite for local volunteers and spread love to staff of relief agencies.”
Willow Meadows team members have adopted Memorial Day, Labor Day and Martin Luther King Day to volunteer at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.
During their most recent holiday weekend trip at the end of May, the volunteers distributed items including diapers, clothes, baby wipes and toiletries to the Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville, a shelter for immigrants. They also joined local volunteers serving asylum seekers dropped off at a local bus station by federal authorities.
A lay team member said the group has witnessed the number of immigrants and refugees skyrocket, Fellowship Southwest reported.
“When we started, a busy day was 200 immigrants, and probably never 300,” said Toni Hill-Kennedy, a co-leader of the team. “In 2014, when the families came to the center’s door, we stood in line to applaud them and welcome them.… Now, with 600 to 700 coming through, I noticed there’s not enough time to do the applause.”