Religious ministry and the Thirteenth Generation
Carter, John K.
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Join any worship service in America and you will likely observe three characteristics. First, worship service participants are predominantly black or white, rarely an even mix. Second, most participants are over the age of thirty- five. Third, most worship services follow patterns established in other countries (primarily Europe) long ago. while the first and third characteristics are matters that may be discussed at great length, the second characteristic is the primary focus of this paper. I examine questions that many leaders and lay persons involved in American religion are raising: 'Where are the young people? Why aren't more members of the so-called 13th generation involved in America's churches, mosques, and synagogues? Is there anything religious leaders can do to increase 13 ers participation in organized religious activity? Can 13 ers be impacted in positive ways with the message offered by America's religious institutions and places of worship? If l3ers can be impacted positively by America's religious institutions, how might that be done? Central to my thesis is the proposition that l3ers can be reached and positively impacted by America's religious institutions, but doing so will require America's religious institutions to seek 13 ers, and make changes in their programs of ministry that reflect 13ers interests. Religious organizations will need to become intentional in their mmistry to l3ers. They will need to grapple with the theological challenges l3ers bring that conflict with long-held religious traditions and tenets. Religious institutions will also need to wrestle with the ethical and theological implications of religious marketing
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