When we get the age breakdown of the Presbyterian Church's General Assembly, it’s nothing short of horrendous. 91 percent of the laity are 50 and older. 67 percent of the Clergy are 50 and older. A mere 23 percent of all commissioners are under 50. What can we do about it?
In a recent interview, someone asked me, “What did you write in Tribal Church that you regret? Is there anything that you would change?” The question reminded me of the fact that we’re always predicting and observing things that may not prove to be true a few years later. Here are three myths that I often hear about ministry that I question.
It’s scary. Sometimes, we Scrappers have to swallow our pride in order to start working with the institution that turned us away. Often, Scrappers develop autonomy and a certain voice that we fear we'll lose if we move into partnership with an established organization. We worry that the structure will steal our ideas and they'll have the money and power to pull them off—without us.
Marva Dawn excels at demonstrating how good worship and good liturgy meet the very needs that drive us to their substitutes. The genuine splendor of worship can free us from our preoccupation with consumerism, our addictive behaviors and our anxieties. At worship one does nothing more nor less than to give oneself fully to God.
All the lonely people, where do they all come from? That question from “Eleanor Rigby” might serve as the epigraph for the works of Douglas Coupland. Coupland is the Canadian writer who burst on the scene in 1991 with Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, thereby coining the term for his generation.
A statistic: only about 30 percent of people born between 1964 and 1978— that is, 30 percent of so-called Gen Xers—belong to a church. Ubiquitous media reports say that’s not because we aren’t spiritually inclined. We are.
Willow Creek Community Church, originator of the famous “seeker service” model of outreach, has been fabulously successful at wooing members of the baby-boom generation. But it never reached too many people born after 1968. So in 1994 Willow charged Dieter Zander with the task of reaching out to Gen Xers.
Since Ernest Hemingway famously quoted Gertrude Stein in the 1920s, “You are a lost generation,” Americans have been fascinated by the idea of generational difference. Characterizing an entire generation involves a mammoth generalization, of course, and the generalizations are as likely to be resented as embraced by members of the cohort in question.
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