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The final of four sneak peeks into the main plenary presentations for the 2014 Theological Symposium (September 23-24).
See more here:
A study in juxtapositions: youth and the church
“Wuthnow’s basic contention is that the major sociological reasons why people get involved in religion (marriage, children, higher levels of education, etc.) have not changed. It’s only that they have been delayed or diminished. Significantly.”
On the one hand, there is no denying these sociological reasons, and they can be a blessing for people to reconnect with the church. The question is, are we (the Church and its paid professionals) going to let sociological reasons be the only ones to cause people to “join”? I’m thinking Christ and Him crucified is the only reason we need.
The problem with folks my age (and younger) disconnecting from “organized religious participation” is that the Church hasn’t given them any substantial reason or meaning for participating. It is well-known this generation (and the next) will not adhere to an institution just for the sake of adhering to an institution, but they will participate in an institution, even feel an important part of it, if they have personally found meaning and purpose for doing so – sociological, or, hopefully, christological.
You Lost Me by David Kinnaman is an excellent read into this as well, from a more church view of things than a sociological one.
From a church growth perspective this is a frustrating and frightening time to be a pastor. How can we possibly make the church grow in this context? This movement has been so pervasive in American Christianity that many of us are often touched with some of that frustration and fear.
It is truly wonderful to be called back to a more cruciform perspective as we find peace and joy in striving to be a church with nothing but Jesus.
Patrick: I wholeheartedly agree. I think the changing demographics of the church is also a call to change the “sociology” of the church, to make church more than just where you go when you’re married and having children.
I just finished reading the article and I found it did have some realistic points. Is our culture changing and will it continue to change? Yes. Has the generation between 18-35 (I’m 30 so I must be a part of this too)developed an ”anti-organziation” minset that pits them against the Church. Perhaps for many. But speaking for myself, being 30, I have never wanted to separate myself from the church and have retained a strong desire for confessional, liturgical worship. I also understand that the American mindset is heavily pragmatic, do what we think works to get results-which has flooded many churches.Sound doctrine, faithful preaching/teaching, these are the things that drew me to the LCMS some years ago and I believe this too will draw the younger ones in too because they are looking for something more than skin deep theology in the churches that are ablazed with felt needs, empty hymns that convey little to no doctrine, and CEO-like pastors that wish to run the church rather than shepherd it.
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David Schmitt’s opening plenary at the 2013 Theological Symposium.
The journey from text to pulpit can be a long and winding road, filled with false starts, surprising discoveries, and hard choices along the way. On a semi-regular basis, the homiletics faculty of Concordia Seminary …
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