(from FotF's Pator's Weekly Briefing)

Bible reading, small group participation and adult Sunday school attendance are religious activities that have seen an increase in the last decade, according to The Barna Group's annual tracking of religious behavior, which can be found at http://www.barna.org.

The most prolific jump in activity relates to Bible reading. Bible readership plummeted to a 20-year low of just 30 percent in 1995. But after several years of stalled growth, it has now hit a high of 47 percent of adults reading the Book during a typical week, other than when they are at church. This is the highest readership level achieved since the 1980s.

Church attendance has increased slowly in recent years. While we have not returned to the 49 percent of adults who attended in a typical week as recorded in 1991, there has been a significant rebound from the 37 percent recorded in 1996, climbing to 47 percent in 2006.

Involvement in small groups that meet for Bible study, prayer or personal relationships — other than Sunday school or Christian education classes — has reached a new high in 2006.  Currently, nearly one out of every four adults (23%) is engaged in such a gathering during a typical week. A decade ago, one out of every six adults (17%) did so.

Church volunteerism has returned to its 1991 level of 27 percent. Volunteering at a church has been one of the more stable measures during the past 15 years, ranging from a low of 20 percent to the current high.

Adult Sunday school attendance has risen in recent years from 17 percent (recorded in 1995 and 1996) to 24 percent in this year's tracking survey.

The only two religious behaviors which did not reflect significant change were prayer — slightly more than four out of five adults claimed they had prayed in the past week — and evangelism — with six out of ten Christians claiming to have shared their beliefs about Jesus with someone whom they knew believed differently.

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