Faith Formation in a Multigenerational Congregation
Faith FormationIn the Multigenerational Congregation
Driving Forces• Declining number of Christians and growing number of people with no religious affiliation.• Increasing number of people becoming more spiritual and less religious.• Declining participation in Christian churches.• Increasing diversity and pluralism in U.S. society.
• Increasing influence of individualism on Christian identity and community life.• Changing patterns of marriage and family life.• Declining family religious socialization.• Aging Baby Boomers.• Increasing use of digital media & web technologies.
No Religious Affiliation• 15% of all Americans claim no religious affiliation• 25% of all 18-29 year• 10% drop in the number of Christians• The challenge to Christianity in the U.S. does not come from other religions but from a rejection of all forms of organized religion
Spiritual But Not Religious• Today, 18% of 18-39 year olds say that are “spiritual, but not religious” compared to only 11% a decade ago• Religious tinkering & developing a religious or spiritual identity
Declining Participation• “Membership growth in UUA slows down” —UU World May 11, 2009• “UUA membership declines for second year” —UU World April 12, 2010• “UUA membership declines again” —UU World May 23, 2011
Increasing Diversity• Diversity of ethnic cultures and nationalities• No single authority exercises supremacy; no single belief or ideology dominations• Tapestry of religious and spiritual alternatives and choices• Crisscrossing religious boundaries• “ Spiritual tinkerers”
Influence of Individualism• Religious identity is more autonomous and deliberate today.• Decline in the perceived necessity of communal or institutional structures as constituent of religious identity.
Changing Patterns• Delaying marriage• Having fewer children and later in life• Decreasing number of children in two-parent households• Increasing number of unmarried couples living together• Increasing time caring for children
Declining Family Socialization• Parent Influence: The single most important social influence on the religious and spiritual lives of adolescents is their parents• Embedded Family Religious Practices: Effective religious socialization comes about through specific religious activities that are firmly intertwined with the daily habits of family life
Aging Baby Boomers• On Jan. 1, 2011, the oldest Baby Boomers turned 65: Every day for the next 19 years, about 10,000 more will cross that threshold• By 2030, when all Baby Boomers will have turned 65, fully 18% of the nation’s population will be at least that age (13% today)• We are witnessing the emergence of a new stage of life between adult midlife–typically focused on career and child-rearing–and old age, traditionally marked by increasing frailty and decline
Digital Media & Web Tech• 93% of teens & young adults are online• “ Computer in your pocket”means increasing mobile access via smart phones: iPhone, Android, etc.• 8-18 year olds spend on average 7½ hours a day with media
Scenario Thinking Scenarios are built around critical uncertainties about the external environment. That is, the stories are based on different outcomes of a fewkey uncertainties that are both most important tothe future of faith formation in congregations and most uncertain in terms of future outcome.
Two Critical Uncertainties• Will trends in U.S. culture lead people to become more receptive to organized religion, and in particular Christianity or will trends lead people to become more resistant to organized religion and Christianity?• Will peoples hunger for and openness to God and the spiritual life increase over the next decade or will peoples hunger for and openness to God and the spiritual life decrease?
Scenario One Receptive to Organized Religion. High Hunger for a Spiritual Life.People of all ages and generations are actively engagedin a congregation, are spiritually committed, andgrowing in their faith. They have found their spiritualhome within an established religious tradition and alocal faith community that provides a variety of waysfor them to grow in faith and live their faith in theworld.
Scenario Two Resistant to Organized Religion. High Hunger for a Spiritual Life.A world in which people are hungry for a spiritual life,but not usually involved with organized religion andestablished congregations. Congregations recognizethat they need to establish a presence in the world ofpeople who are spiritually hungry but not attracted toan established congregation.
Scenario Three Resistant to Organized Religion. Low Need or Interest in a Spiritual Life.A world in which people experience little need for aspiritual life and are not affiliated with organizedreligion and established congregations. The task of thechurch is to be incarnational—placing itself in the midstof the culture and the gathering places of people.
Scenario Four Receptive to Organized Religion. Low Need or Interest in a Spiritual Life.A world in which people attend church activities, butare not actively engaged in their church community.They may participate in significant church events suchas Christmas and Easter and sacramental celebrationsinvolving their families. Some may even attend worshipregularly.
Lifelong Faith Formation Network Shifting from: One Size Fits All Curriculum & Programming To: Personalized & Customized Faith Formationfocusing on addressing peoples spiritual & religious growthby offering a wide variety of religious content & experiences Differentiated Faith Formation
Lifelong Faith Formation Network A Lifelong Faith Formation Network addresses thediverse life tasks and situations, spiritual and religiousneeds, and interests of all ages and generations in the four scenarios by offering a variety of content, programs, activities, and resources.
Lifelong Faith Formation NetworkA Lifelong Faith Formation Network guides individuals and families in discerning their spiritual and religious needs and creating personal learning pathways—aseasonal or annual plan for faith growth and learning.
Lifelong Faith Formation Network A Lifelong Faith Formation Network incorporatesinformal learning, as well as formal learning in faith formation.
Lifelong Faith Formation Network A Lifelong Faith Formation Network utilizes a variety of faith formation models to address the diverse lifetasks and situations, religious and spiritual needs, and interests of people: •on your own •at home •in small groups •in large groups •in the congregation •in the community and world
Lifelong Faith Formation Network A Lifelong Faith Formation Network blends face-to-face, interactive faith formation programs and activitieswith virtual, online faith formation programs, activities, and resources.
Lifelong Faith Formation Network A Lifelong Faith Formation Network incorporates communities of practice to connect individuals and groups throughout the congregation.
Designing a Lifelong Faith Formation Network• Form a Lifelong Faith Formation Network Task Force• Prepare a statement of your church’s vision and goals for lifelong faith formation• Develop an inventory of your church’s current faith formation programs, activities, and resources using the four scenarios
Designing a Lifelong Faith Formation Network• Describe the diverse life tasks and situations, spiritual and religious needs, and interests of age groups and families in each of the four scenarios; and develop a profile of the most important needs• Research people, programs, activities, and resources to address the priority life issues and spiritual/ religious needs
Designing a Lifelong Faith Formation Network• Design new initiatives to address the new spiritual and religious in each of the four Faith Formation 2020 scenarios• Develop an Integrated plan for the Lifelong Faith Formation Network with all of the programs, activities, and resources organized according to the four scenarios and the six faith formation models
Designing a Lifelong Faith Formation Network• Develop an online faith formation center for connecting people to each other and to the resources of the Lifelong Faith Formation Network• Develop a marketing/promotion plan to promote the Lifelong Faith Formation Network
Strategies• Faith Formation through the Life of the Whole Church• Faith Formation with Digital Media and Web Technologies• Family Faith Formation• Intergenerational Faith Formation
• Generational Faith Formation •iGeneration (2000 - ) •Millennials (1980-1999) •Gen X (1964-1979) •Boomers (1946-1964) •Builders (1945 and earlier)• Milestones Faith Formation• Faith Formation in Christian Practice
• Transforming the World• Spiritual Formation• Multi-Ethnic Faith Formation• Faith Formation for Spiritual Seekers• Apprenticeships in Discipleship
• Pathways to Vibrant Faith and Active Engagement• Faith Formation in Third Place Settings• Empowering the Community to Share their Faith• Interfaith Education and Dialogue
Strategies in Multiple Scenarios• Faith Formation using Digital Media and Web Technologies• Milestones Faith Formation• Faith Formation in Christian Practices
• Transforming the World: Engagement in and Formation for Service and Mission• Family Faith Formation• Spiritual Formation• Multi-Ethnic Faith Formation
Strategies for Scenarios 1 & 4• Faith formation through the life of the whole church• Intergenerational faith formation• Generational faith formation