Was Gollum a paranoid schizophrenic or a rational calculator? We report, you decide.
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released a new report yesterday: Religion Among the Millennials. (Millennials are people born in 1981 or later.) You can view the introduction and overview here, or the full report here. The subtitle of the report gets at the gist of it: Less Religiously Active Than Older Americans, But Fairly Traditional In Other Ways. This report is one in a series of ongoing reports from the Pew Forum’s ongoing Project: Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next.
From 2006-2007, Fritz Kling and his associates facilitated a “Global Church Listening Tour” with 151 church leaders in 19 countries. The Meeting of the Waters is his report on emerging trends that will affect the mission of the worldwide church. This report is timely since younger Christians are rethinking both the nature of the church’s mission and of the missionary calling.
Here are the trends that emerged through Kling’s conversations with church leaders:
- Mercy: The church must address the physical and material needs of humanity, not just their spiritual needs.
- Mutuality: The church in the developed world must interact with the majority world as peers, not as patrons who seek to control the use of their patronage.
- Migration: The church must minister to populations that are increasingly multinational, multiracial, and multiethnic.
- Monoculture: The church must realize that globalization is making local cultures increasingly similar to one another, and this face presents both challenges and opportunities.
- Machines: The church must utilize technology (especially computers) to accomplish its mission.
- Mediation: The church must take the lead in making peace and resolving the conflicts that increasingly characterize global culture.
- Memory: The church must take into account the fact that memory (especially of tragedy and oppression) shapes the way that people respond to the gospel.
If you are the pastor, missionary, or denominational leader, I urge you to read The Meeting of the Waters. It will not answer all your questions about how the church should carry out its mission in the postmodern world, but it will help you understand the questions that need to be asked and answered.
If you thought this review was helpful, please vote Yes on my Amazon.com page.
Apologies for the scatological slang in the title, but Walter Russell Mead, son of Loren B. Mead, makes this provocative point in an article under that title:
In the spirit of Martin Luther, let me post a provocative thesis on the wall: If virtually the entire regional and national staff of every mainline denomination were to be called home to heaven overnight in a mainline version of the Rapture, leaving only the equivalent of Bishop Baker and his secretary in their place, I am sure that someone somewhere would notice a difference, but the effect on either the spiritual state of American Christians or the health and well being of local congregations throughout the United States would be hard to detect with the naked eye.
As someone who works at a Pentecostal denomination, let me say…Ouch!
And read the whole thing.