2018 has been an eventful year at Facts & Trends. In our shift to become a digital publication and better meet the needs of our audience, we increased the number of stories we publish, welcomed LifeWay Pastors to our site, and developed the Daily Insights email newsletter.
After all those changes, 2018 brought in the most Facts & Trends readers ever. Much of that came from these 10 stories that particularly resonated with you, our audience.
Here are the most popular stories at Facts & Trends in 2018.
10. When the Downcast Can’t Reach Our Hymns — Keith Getty
Life is not always about rejoicing … it is often about lamenting as well.
And yet, when we come together to sing songs about the greatness of our God and His role in our everyday lives, we rarely sing songs of lament. We lift up lyrics and melodies that soar to the steepest heights of joy and heavenly elation … and unfortunately, our lyrics often soar so high that someone who is drowning on the ocean floor of their personal despair can’t reach them.
9. Why Billy Graham’s Casket Is From Angola Prison
As thousands paid their respects to “America’s pastor,” images of Billy Graham’s pine plywood casket was on prominent display on smartphones, computer screens, and televisions across the nation.
8. 6 Things Your Church May Be Doing Illegally
With all the weighty responsibilities churches deal with, it can be tempting for leaders to view copyright law as a trivial concern compared to the more pressing demands of ministry.
Unfortunately, leaders who bring a casual attitude to copyright infringement put themselves at legal risk. Not only that, they also jeopardize the integrity of their ministries by flirting with the temptation to steal creative property.
7. 10 Most Ridiculous Things Said to Pastors
Recently, a post on a Facebook group asked pastors, “What’s the most unbiblical thing someone has said to you?” Sadly, within 24 hours, the post had accumulated well over 100 comments.
6. 10 Things I Wish Church Leaders Knew About Divorce — Laura Petherbridge
I was a new Christian when we divorced, but I knew enough to ask God to use the trauma, shame, and agony to help others. Over the last 34 years, that’s exactly what He has done.
5. How to Lose a Pastor in 10 Years — Lisa Whittle
When a pastor gets into an integrity-compromising scandal, they have to go home at night, sit in the silence, and face God. They may try to deny, run, hide—or for a time, deflect—but there will be a dead end of truth and Jesus.
I rest in that—and in the counseling that may well have saved me in the aftermath of my father’s public fall: An elderly man with a stern face and a funny last name I can’t completely remember said, “Let your dad be human.”
4. 13 Things You May Not Have Imagined About ‘I Can Only Imagine’
Bart Millard couldn’t have imagined the impact a hastily written song would have on the world when he first penned I Can Only Imagine, alone on a tour bus at 2 a.m.
But the song—composed in just a few minutes—is still being played on airways nearly two decades after it was written. Now, a major motion picture has captured the story behind the hit song.
3. ISIS Accidentally Corroborates the Bible
When fighters for the terrorist organization ISIS destroyed numerous biblical archaeological sites in Iraq, they unknowingly unearthed evidence supporting Old Testament accounts.
2. Hope for Dying Churches — Thom Rainer
Between 6,000 and 10,000 churches in the U.S. are dying each year. That means around 100-200 churches will close this week. The pace will accelerate unless our congregations make some dramatic changes.
1. 4 Church Easter Service Fails You Have to See
For Christians, Holy Week is usually a somber time capped with a joyous Easter celebration, but sometimes you have to laugh at what happens at some churches.
Congregations often use the season to do special services with an eye toward potential guests in the building. Those special services don’t always go as planned.