THE CHURCH

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					THE CHURCH
THE CHURCH FROM BELOW
   • The Church is a natural
     community
   • It fulfills many socialization
     needs
        – There is recognizable fellowship in the
          Church
        – There is a sense of community which
          is foundational (not a luxury, but a
          necessity)
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THE CHURCH FROM BELOW
   • The Church is a political
     community
        – There are socially ordered relationships and
          patterns of authority and decision-making
        – It is not a question of whether politics will exist in
          the Church; rather, it is only a question of the
          quality of the politics
        – “Ol’ Boy” networks often are alive and well. This is
          not entirely negative, but can have some negative
          considerations
        – There are positive considerations as well
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SENIORS
• Birth Years: before 1926
• Formative Factors
     – World War I
     – Great Depression
• Serious about faith, close relationship with God
• Appreciate stability
     – Close family ties
     – Rooted in community
• Generation least affected by stress
• Actively engaged in church, volunteer activities
• Part of the “Greatest Generation”
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BUILDERS
 • Birth Years: 1927-1945
 • Formative Factors
      – Great Depression
      – World War II
      – Cold War
 • Appreciate stability
      – Family, Community, Friends, Employment
      – Not open to change- prefer predictability
 • Emphasis on Duty, Obligation
 • Part of the “Greatest Generation”
 • Satisfaction found in “simple things”
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BOOMERS
• Birth Years: 1946-1964
     – Formative Factors
             • Cold War
             • 60s: Counter-Cultural Movement
             • Vietnam
     – Question authority (the establishment)
     – Uncertain of the relevance of the church
     – Curious mixture of laissez faire and
       utilitarianism
     – Search for Excellence in all of life

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BUSTERS
• Birth Years: 1965-1983
    – Formative Factors:
         •   Watergate
         •   Vietnam Syndrome
         •   Inflation, Unemployment
         •   Age of “limitations”
    –   Question authority (Boomers are Establishment now!)
    –   First generation not to “have it better”
    –   Interested in process of growth, embrace change
    –   Disenchanted with “superficial stuff”- even in church!
         • Interested in relationships, involvement
         • Want options, not directions
         • Feel abandoned, are disillusioned

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MOSAICS/MILLENNIALS
   • Birth Years: 1984-2002
        – Formative Factors
              • End of Cold War
              • MTV Age/Clinton Presidency
              • Desert Storm
        –    The Digital Generation (non-linear thinking)
        –    High Levels of Stress/Anxiety
        –    Self-Reliant- and Skeptical!
        –    Interest in “spirituality”
        –    Believe in the Bible- but not in absolute truth!
        –    Brighter than previous generations (IQ)
        –    Relationships more important than achievement
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GENERATIONAL VALUE SYSTEMS

   • Key Factors in Generational Identity,
     per Strauss and Howe, The Fourth
       Turning, An American Prophecy
        – A Common Location in History
        – Common Beliefs
        – Perceived Membership in a common
          generation

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 GENERATIONAL VALUE SYSTEMS
   • “The major generational watershed, as far as
     religious beliefs and practices are concerned, is
     between those who in our research we call
     Pre-boomers (born prior to 1946) and those
     who have come after. Although Boomers (born
     1946-1964) and Xers (born 1965-1979) differ
     in some respects, they are much more like
     each other than like Pre-boomers.” Jackson
     Caroll, Circuit Rider, 22:5


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GENERATIONAL VALUE SYSTEMS
   • G.I. Generation Value Cohort (pre-1946)
   • Consumer Generation Value Cohort (post
     1946)
        –    Deferred Pleasure vs. Instant Gratification
        –    Group vs. Individual Orientation
        –    Assumptions of Sameness vs. Difference
        –    Spirituality of Place vs. Spirituality of Pilgrimage
   • Results: Bimodal Congregations, Gil Rendle,
       The Multigenerational Congregation

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CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS
   • Currently, 75% of Americans are Caucasian
   • By 2050, only 50% of Americans will be
     Caucasian
   • The Hispanic population has overtaken African-
     Americans as the largest “minority” population
   • In some areas of the country (e.g., parts of
     California), there is no longer a majority
     population
   • Racial and Ethnic diversity- a fact of life
   • 15-20% of population moves every year

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CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS
Behavior                       Christian    NonChristian
Watch MTV                      19%          24%
Registered to vote             83%          79%
Have been divorced             27%          23%
Take anti-depressants          7%           8%
Watched X-rated movie          76%          87%
(last 3 months)
Received prof counseling       15%          15%
Filed lawsuit this year        3%           4%
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CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS
• Contemporary American Beliefs:
    –   God helps those who help themselves, 81%
    –   All religions teach equally valid truths, 40%
    –   All people pray to the same G/god, 53%
    –   If you do enough good, you will go to heaven, 55%
    –   Jesus was not resurrected physically, 40%
    –   The Bible is not completely true in all it teaches, 34%
    –   The primary purpose of life is enjoyment, 58%
    –   Satan is not real, only a symbol of evil, 60%
    –   Whatever works is the only truth you can know, 32%>

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THE CHURCH FROM BELOW
 • A community of common language:
   meanings, priorities, and values. This becomes
   conventional for the “In-Group”
 • A community of Interpretation:
      – Common meanings
      – The difficulty of translation
 • A community of memory and
   understanding:
      – Characterized by an inner continuity and empathy
        among persons who have understood and relived
        the same events. It has a shared story.

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THE CHURCH FROM BELOW

• The Church is a community of action
  and belief: it espouses a mission or a
  purpose which can be expressed in many
  forms of action
     – Evangelism
     – Education
     – Edification
     – Worship

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THE CHURCH FROM BELOW

• A sociological description of church:
  the church is a body of persons who share
  some measure of common life, values,
  meaning, and loyalty. It has an historical
  continuity, identifiable by certain beliefs,
  ways of work, rites, outlooks, and feelings.
  It may be more; But it is at least the
  above.

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THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD
  • The First Church: Orthodox Churches, the
    Roman Catholic Church; Protestant churches in
    Eastern Europe, Greece, Middle East, Ethiopia,
    South India
       – The culture tolerates Christianity at best; in some
         instances, governments are openly antagonistic
       – There is a certain reliance on the spiritual legacy of
         what has gone before. In some instances, this
         substitutes for vital Christianity
       – There are examples (e.g., Poland, Russia) of a
         renewal of traditional Christian churches.

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THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD
• The Second Church: Western Europe,
  USA, Canada, Australia
     – The “second church” is undergoing a time of
       serious crisis
             • Malaise and apathy
             • Ground for renewal (Pentecostalism, evangelical
               churches)
     – The effect of materialism
     – Breakdown in commitment
     – Yet, a renewed interest in spirituality among
       young people
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THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD
 • The Third Church: Central and South
   America, Africa, Asia
      – A developing church, characterized by youth
        and activity
      – In the stage of “early” commitment
             • A simplicity and integrity to it
             • A church of the poor
      –      Many forms of lay leadership prominent
      –      New relationships with the “second church”
      –      Legacy of Liberation Theology remains
      –      Pentecostalism is quite prominent
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THE CHURCH & CULTURE
• Christ Against Culture
    – Christ opposed to culture, either-or (Tertullian)
• The Christ of Culture
    – Agreement, guiding civilization (Lib. Protestants)
• Christ Above Culture
    – Synthetic (Aquinas)- affirming, transcending
• Christ and Culture in Paradox
    – Duality, both obeyed (Luther)
• Christ Transforming Culture
    – Antithesis, yes, but Christ converts men and
      cultures (Calvin)
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THE CHURCH

				
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