Top 10 Books of 2015

Welcome to the sixth annual edition of my top books of the year. To qualify for the list, the book must be published in 2015, I must have read the book, and the content of the book resonated with and significantly enriched me and/or my understanding of the subject. Diana Butler Bass Grounded: Finding God in the World - A Spiritual Revolution Ron Clark Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life John Dominic Crossan How to Read More …

May 2015 Book Recommendations

This month my reading list included many volumes that challenged my thinking and expanded my knowledge. Shown below are my ratings for the new volumes (those published in 2015): (5+) Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam (Simon & Schuster) (5) How to Read the Bible by Harvey Cox (HarperOne) (4.5) The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade by Philip Jenkins (HarperOne) (4.5) Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church  by Read More …

Education Level & Declining Church Attendance

As I read W. Bradford Wilcox's recent Acts of Faith article in the Washington Post I found myself drawn to a graph illustrating a decline in church attendance.  While the decline in American church attendance in America since the mid-1970s is well documented and much discussed by lay religious folks and scholars alike, few have given any real consideration to how the rate of decline differs based on education. A few years ago I shared W. Bradford Wilcox's finding that "since the 1970s, white Read More …

Why People Choose Your Church

According to the Faith Matters Survey (2006) of 3108 people, the top reasons people chose their current congregation (according to reasons they indicated were "very important) are Theology or religious beliefs (60%) Liturgy or style of worship (45%) Marriage, spouse, or partner (40%) Family [other than spouse] (40%) Clergy (39%) Location (32%) Childhood congregation (27%) Friends Political or social views So What? Liturgically speaking today is the first Sunday of 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 …