Surprising Facts and Stats for Preachers

Often, a simple fact, relevant (and reliable) statistic, or research finding can make a powerful impact on a sermon or message. For instance, the piece below that references the spread of fear in 21st century culture can be a powerful point-maker in a message on anxiety. (Ordinary children today are more fearful than psychiatric patients in the 1950’s.)

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So, for this post, I’ve assembled a variety of 30 facts/stats you might keep in your teaching prep files. I’ve included at least one source for each, since you should always triangulate your research when using this kind of content.

46% of smartphone owners say their smartphone is something “they couldn’t live without”
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/01/6-facts-about-americans-and-their-smartphones/

The average American home contains 5 Bibles. Only 37% of Americans read the Bible at least weekly.
http://www.americanbible.org/features/state-of-the-bible-research-2014

Nearly four-in-ten Christians (38%) are projected to live in sub-Saharan Africa in 2050.
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/02/7-key-changes-in-the-global-religious-landscape/

Less than half of millennials believe Jesus is God.
https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/714-what-do-americans-believe-about-jesus-5-popular-beliefs#.VSG8oLpXdG4

There are more nerve connections in your brain than there are stars in the galaxy.
http://theastronomist.fieldofscience.com/2011/07/cubic-millimeter-of-your-brain.html

62% of American adults say they have made a commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important to them today.
https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/714-what-do-americans-believe-about-jesus-5-popular-beliefs#.VSG8oLpXdG4

In 1993 only 16 percent of atheists and agnostics were women. By 2013 that figure had nearly tripled to 43 percent.
https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/713-2015-state-of-atheism-in-america#.VSG9kbpXdG4

Babies start dreaming even before they’re born.
http://www.patient.co.in/profiles/blogs/medical-facts-did-you-know

There are more stars in our universe than grains of sand on all our beaches.
http://www.universetoday.com/106725/are-there-more-grains-of-sand-than-stars/

The number one reason millennials attend church is that they want to be closer to God.
https://www.barna.org/barna-update/millennials/711-what-millennials-want-when-they-visit-church#.VSG997pXdG4

Lightning strikes the earth about 8 million times per day.
https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/lightning/

The only activity that burns fewer calories than watching TV is sleeping.
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24532996

1 in 3 Americans is worried about money.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/180665/gallup-daily-worried-money.aspx

Muslims are the fastest-growing major religious group (largely because they have the highest fertility rate and the youngest population).
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/02/7-key-changes-in-the-global-religious-landscape/

The United States Government is still paying two civil war pensions to children of war veterans.
http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2012/02/09/us-government-still-pays-two-civil-war-pensions

If the human brain were a computer, it could perform 38 thousand-trillion operations per second. The world’s most powerful supercomputer, BlueGene, can manage only .002% of that.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post/computers-have-a-lot-to-learn-from-2009-03-10/?id=computers-have-a-lot-to-learn-from-2009-03-10

When the civil war began, Union General Ulysses S. Grant owned slaves. Confederate General Robert E. Lee didn’t.
http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/faq/

The designer of the current US 50-state flag, Robert G. Heft, was a 17 year old high school student who constructed the flag for a class project. He got a B- for his design.
http://www.usflag.org/flagdesigner.html

The worldwide child mortality rate has gone down for 50 consecutive years.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melinda-gates/the-most-important-statis_b_3921958.html

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011.
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/01/6-facts-about-americans-and-their-smartphones/

41% of Americans look forward to checking their (snail) mail each day.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/182261/four-americans-look-forward-checking-mail.aspx?utm_source=Politics&utm_medium=newsfeed&utm_campaign=tiles

More than half of American adults believe Jesus sinned during his life on earth.
https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/714-what-do-americans-believe-about-jesus-5-popular-beliefs#.VSG8oLpXdG4

The deadliest large animal in Africa – in terms of human deaths – is the hippopotamus.
http://goafrica.about.com/od/africasafariguide/tp/dangerousanimals.htm

Medical data regarding the crucifixion of Christ.
On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ

If the sun were hollow, it could hold a million earths.
https://answersingenesis.org/answers/books/taking-back-astronomy/the-splendor-of-gods-creation/

Each watermelon has an even number of strips on the rind. Each orange has an even number of segments. Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.
http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/earsize.html

The human brain can read up to 1,000 words per minute.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post/computers-have-a-lot-to-learn-from-2009-03-10/?id=computers-have-a-lot-to-learn-from-2009-03-10

(Despite what we were taught as kids), neurons continue to grow throughout human life.
http://icantseeyou.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/02/100-very-cool-f.html

Ronald Reagan was a lifeguard who was credited with saving 77 lives.
http://www.npr.org/news/specials/obits/reagan/timeline.html

Human bone is as strong as granite. A block of bone the size of a matchbox could support nine tons of weight.
http://listverse.com/2008/06/10/top-15-amazing-facts-about-the-human-body

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