Journalists who want to reach beyond local coverage and bring a nationwide and international perspective to religion should be aware of the Evangelical Missions Quarterly and the sample articles posted free on its website (subscriptions to full contents cost $24.95 per year).
The periodical, founded in 1964 and now totally online, is based at the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College and edited by Wheaton missiologist A. Scott Moreau though its writers, like its readers, span the globe.
The quarterly's pieces aim to be practical rather than scholarly. Examples: “Toward a Relevant Theology for the Middle East.” “Modes of Mission in New and Established Churches.” And, turning to domestic aspects, this pertinent theme: “The Religious Pluralization of America: Implications for Preaching, Teaching, Writing, and Reading” with a main focus on U.S. Islam.
Continuing with the U.S. seen as a mission field, this survey will interest religion writers: “The State of the American Church: When Numbers Point to a New Reality.”
Author Ed Stetzer, an oft-quoted source on the beat, is executive director of the Graham Center and former head of the Southern Baptists’ LifeWay Research agency. The article won’t necessarily produce a story but is worth reading as a journalistic tune-up.
Stetzer’s survey is largely about U.S. Protestantism, and much of what he depicts will be thoroughly familiar to religion-watchers, notably the long-running and unprecedented decline of “mainline” and liberal churches, and the growing numbers of “nones” who tell pollsters they have no religious affiliation. He finds it conceivable that the “nones” could even become a majority among Americans someday, and says “the church’s influence on Americans is beginning to fade.”
Nonetheless, he contends that the cup of U.S. Christianity is kinda sorta half full.