The Future of Congregations I
When: June 7, 2023, 4:15 pm - Wednesday
Where: Lamb & Scroll
The Future of Congregations I is the first of two unique sessions from the Congregational Science Section. This session examines important topics congregations must consider in the coming years: implications and various aspects of developmental stages in humans and family as well as cultural diversity in the context of congregations. These presentations take a deep dive into intergenerational ministry, faith and science as meaningful conversation for emerging adults, and how to deconstruct white privilege in congregations. Session participants can expect challenging information, relevant insights, and practical ways to address these issues that impact many congregations.
Greg Cootsona, California State University, Chico, “Faith and Science: Congregations As Safe Places for Emerging Adults”
As a university church pastor and lecturer in religion at a state university, I often hear this from students, “I have always thought that you cannot really believe in science if you are religious.” I wanted to know more. This paper (1) unfolds the increasing emerging adult disaffiliation from the church, partly because of the latter’s limited engagement with science, (2) describes my research, involving quantitative studies of 638 emerging adults and 43 qualitative interviews, (3) relates this to leading social scientific research (Ecklund, Wuthnow, Smith), and (4) concludes with why engaging science is key for the American church’s future.
Holly Catterton Allen, Lipscomb University, “Benefits, Challenges, and Recommendations for Intergenerational Ministry”
Intergenerational ministry is an idea whose time has come. Ministry leaders in progressive churches, conservative churches, charismatic churches, community churches, and missional churches are asking the same question, “How can we bring the generations back together?” This presentation draws from a meta-analysis of thirty-seven doctoral projects and dissertations that focused directly on intergenerational ministry in church settings.
Daniel Crouch, Baylor University, “Congregations in Crisis”
This presentation addresses the aftermath and response of a congregation making the transition to egalitarian leadership followed up with the COVID-19 pandemic. Three stages of response are addressed: attending to decline in membership, establishing a mission and strategy moving forward.
Greg Brooks, Abilene Christian University, “Deconstructing Whiteness in Congregations”
“Multiracial churches” are those in which no single racial group comprises more than 80% of all members. Fewer than 25% of American churchgoers attend multiracial churches. For a racially homogeneous, majority White congregation to successfully cultivate egalitarian racial diversity and become a multiracial congregation, it is necessary to decenter “whiteness” intentionally and explicitly in the identity, mission, and practices of the congregation. This paper will present a typology of multiracial congregations; barriers and motivating factors regarding the move from congregational homogeneity to diversity; and strategies to develop and maintain multiracial congregations.
Chris J. Gonzalez, Lipscomb University, Convener
- Greg Cootsona, California State University, Chico, “Faith and Science: Congregations As Safe Places for Emerging Adults”
- Holly Catterton Allen, Lipscomb University, “Benefits, Challenges, and Recommendations for Intergenerational Ministry”
- Daniel Crouch, Baylor University, “Congregations in Crisis”
- Greg Brooks, Abilene Christian University, “Deconstructing Whiteness in Congregations”