Religion & Self-Identity

Barna recently conducted research into what most influences the self-identity of Americans.  In order, the top three influences are family, country (being American), and religious faith. Religion Matters While religion still ranks ahead of ethnic group, career, state of residence, and city/town of residence, it is a distant third to family and country. While a majority of Americans claim that family and their country are central to their identity, fewer than two out of five Read More …

Retiring Clergy – End of an Era

The youngest Baby Boomers reached retirement age in 2011.   10,000 Boomers a day will hit that milestone every day through the year 2030.  While not all will retire upon turning 65, it is reasonable to expect a good number will retire at some point not long thereafter. Clergy Retirement Boom Charles M. Austin's cover story in the latest edition of "The Lutheran," illustrates the significance of Boomer retirements in the life of the Lutheran church.  More specifically, he cites statistics Read More …

A Proposed Intergenerational Covenant

The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr is an Episcopal priest who serves as Director of Spiritual Formation and Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality at Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, TX.  Recently he wrote about the need for better intergenerational relations. Toward that end, he offers a proposed intergenerational covenant, which includes these words: For Older Generations You are old enough to be "stuck in your ways." You have earned Read More …

Could Church Membership Soon Be A Thing Of The Past?

Will Mancini is an author, pastor, and speaker who founded Auxano – a church consulting group with a unique approach to developing a church’s vision frame before providing traditional consulting services.  He recently blogged about why church membership is no longer as helpful a construct as it once was.  In addition to references to churches that have moved away from church membership in favor of partnership, Mancini suggests five reasons churches should consider making the Read More …

No Generation Left Behind: Social Media in Ministry

Earlier this year I wrote about generational differences in online activity based on data from a Pew Research Center study that showed how many people in each generation participate in various online activities.  The percentage of people who participate in a given category tends to decline from generation to generation, but even the oldest generations still engage in a significant amount of online activity.  Increasingly the digital divide or gap between those who have access and those who lack Read More …

Theology and the Church After Google

"Theology and the Church After Google: How This New Age Will Change Christianity" is both an article about how theology is shifting and must continue to change as well as an example of such change.  It is written by an academic (Philip Clayton, Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Claremont Graduate University and Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology) and was published in an academic journal (The Princeton Theological Review), however, it now appears online in its entirety (The Read More …

The Missing Millennials

Many denominations and local congregations worry about the increasing age of their members.  Differing sources provide a variety of explanations for why fewer young people attend church or choose to affiliate with a religion.  According to the graphic below, provided by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life, the youngest generations have the highest level of  religious non-affiliation.  By generation the numbers for those who claim no religious affiliation climb from 5% for Read More …