Pointers June 2014

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Pointers Vol24, No.2

Inside this Issue:

Church and Sport: Churches Connecting with Local Communities through Sport – Several decades ago, sport and the church existed side-by-side within many local communities. In fact, in many places, local churches took an active role in developing sporting activities or collaborating with local sporting clubs. Many churches entered sporting clubs in local cricket or netball competitions. In some instances a league or an association was formed to cater for church clubs which had numerous young people ready and willing to participate. For example, a junior football league was formed more than 50 years ago in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne to allow children from local Catholic primary schools the opportunity to compete against each other on a Saturday morning, leaving Sundays free for church and family commitments. In many places, tennis courts were constructed on the same property when a new church was built, then subsequently a tennis club formed.

Trust and Faith – One of the most important components of social life is trust. Trust is the basis of human relationships. It is the expectation that people will do what they say they will do, the belief that people are basically honest. Trust is the expectation that people will take into account your interests as they make their decisions, that they are not self-centred.

Examination of Growth in the Church of England in Britain – The Church of England recently commissioned a major research program looking at church growth in its churches throughout Britain. The research asked where the church is growing, and why some churches grow while others decline. A series of reports was released and are available on the Internet at http://www.churchgrowthresearch.org.uk. This article is based on the summary report and the page numbers refer to pages in that report.

Ordained Local Ministry – Many Australian churches are led by people who have been given a special ordination to serve a particular local church. Most of these people have part-time appointments or are people who have retired from full-time employment but who have taken on the responsibility of leadership in a local church. Most of these people do not have the full training that is required of full-time clergy. A number of Anglican dioceses in Australia, for example, have ordained local ministers (see discussion in Hughes and Kunciunas 2009). In Uniting Churches, there is a similar appointment of people called ‘community ministers’ (who are not ‘ministers of the Word’). In Lutheran Churches, there are ‘PWATs’ (pastors with alternative training). There has been little research on these alternative forms of ordination and ministry. However, a book entitled Ordained Local Ministry in the Church of England (Bowden et al., 2011) begins to fill this gap in relation to the Church of England.

ARPA and Christian Press in Australia – In 1974, a Christian communication network was established in Australia: The Australian Religious Press Association. A New Zealand Chapter was formed in 1990 and ARPA became the Australasian Religious Press Association.

Pointers March 2014

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Pointers Vol24, No.1

Inside this Issue:

What Do People Mean When They Call Themselves Christians?
What do people mean when they identify themselves as Christians? The meaning varies, of course. Some mean that they are involved in Christian churches. In Australia, there are 10 million people who identify themselves as Christians but who rarely, if ever, attend a church. What do they mean by that identification? Do they ‘believe’, but choose ‘not to belong’? In other words, do they like Jesus, but dislike the churches? Or does their identification mean that, in some sense, they ‘belong’, even if they do not attend?

How Many Christians Are There Really in Australia? And Who Does Not Answer the Religion Question on the Census?
Most overseas publications say that 67 per cent of Australians are Christian (see, for example, the Pew Research Centre, p.49). Most Australian publications say that it is 61 per cent. Both figures are based on the 2011 Australian Population Census, but interpret the data differently. Overseas
scholars usually take the ‘missing data’, the people who have not responded to the question out of the equation. In other words, those people who do not answer the question are assumed to be ‘religious’ to the same extent as the rest of the population. Australian scholars report the missing data as one of the ‘responses’. On the other hand, a number of religious groups argue that the census under counts them. What do we know about those who do not respond to the question?

The Bible According to Gen Z
More than at any other time in history, Australian young people are exposed to the Bible. Close to 40 per cent of all students undertake some of their schooling in a church-runschool with religious education classes. Yet, one gets the impression from talking to many young people that the level of Biblical literacy is very poor. They know little of what is in the Bible and have little understanding of it.

Cathedral Prayer Boards
In England, a number of cathedrals have public prayer boards. Paper and pens are provided for visitors to the cathedral to write their prayers which are then pinned to a board or placed in a box. In many cases, people write prayer requests rather than prayers in themselves, and it is expected that cathedral staff will pray on their behalf. A recent study has analysed the prayers and prayer requests at Bangor Anglican Cathedral in North Wales and the results were presented in a paper presented at the International Society for the Sociology of Religion in Turku, Finland (ap Siôn 2013b) and the chapter of a book (ap Siôn 2013a).

Young People, Faith and Social Justice
Concern with issues of social justice may seem at odds with the individualism and consumerism of the world of young people. Yet, increasing numbers of young people are becoming involved in the community through volunteering and many are involved in social justice activities. To what extent does faith provide a basis for involvement in social justice among young people? What role does faith play in young people’s motivations? These issues were
addressed by Dr. Joan Daw in a project with MCD University of Divinity in 2009, published in Young People, Faith and Social Justice, by the Yarra Institute Press in 2013.

Pointers December 2013

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Pointers Vol.23-3

Inside this issue:

Religious Concentrations
No religious group is spread evenly throughout Australia. For each religious group, there are areas in which they are more concentrated and other areas where they are less so. One might expect that such concentrations have to do with vitality of local religious communities. However, the patterns tell us much
more about the history of settlement and the ways people make decisions about faith.

Australian Megachurches
If one defines a megachurch as one with more than 2,000 attenders on a typical Sunday, then Australia had about 21 such churches in 2012. While they constitute is a very small proportion of the more than 15,000 churches in Australia, they account for about 5 per cent of all people attending a church on a typical Sunday. Sam Hey, a lecturer at the Christian Heritage College, has
completed an excellent doctoral thesis on the megachurches, which has now been published as a book. It is highly recommended for those interested in the development of church life in Australia.

World Youth Day: What difference does it make?
World Youth Day has become the largest regular gathering of young people in the world. Conducted every two to three years, World Youth Day regularly attracts more than one million participants, including thousands of young Australians.

Media Matters

At the Connect Christian Media Conference in 2013, Peter Bentley spoke with Phil Cooke, media consultant and film producer. Phil is a prominent leader in media and filmconsultancy in the not-for-profit and Christian organisation arena in the USA, generally working with Protestants. The Salvation Army, Mercy Ships, and Media Ministry International are among the many groups he
has advised. As well as media qualifications, Cooke has a PhD in theology which has given him an unusual profile in Hollywood.

Postmodern Forms of Religion in Asian Islam
Over the past 50 years, Western forms of religiosity and spirituality have changed markedly. The individualism and consumerism of the post-traditional age have had great influence on the way that religion is expressed. As illustrated in the article on megachurches in this edition of Pointers, Pentecostal and charismatic megachurch growth has arisen in an age of ‘free market’ religion in which individuals have sought for that expression of faith which best suits their needs, rather than being attached to a denomination that is part of their heritage and a church which serves the local area. This has encouraged many churches to become ‘seeker sensitive’ in the ways they present their services. While the focus of research on change has occurred in Western countries, and in relation to Christianity, there have been some similar movements in Asia. At the International Society for the Sociology of Religion conference held in Turku, Finland in June 2013, the University of Western Sydney researcher, Prof Julia Howell pointed to growing new expressions of Islam in Indonesia.

Pointers September 2013

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Pointers September 2013

Inside this issue:

Opening the Doors:Teenage Participation in Local Churches
Over recent decades, the involvement of young Australians in worship services has been declining. However, analysis of surveys of students in Catholic schools has shown that many young people who do not attend services of worship are involved in churches in other ways. The most common form of involvement is through sporting clubs, but others are involved in small groups, social welfare and social justice activities, in
music and drama. This pattern reflects the individualistic and consumer-oriented way in which young people decide upon their
involvements. It is a reminder to the churches that if they want to engage young people today, they need to open many doors to them, not just the door to worship.

Growing Youth Spirituality Conference

On Friday 19th and Saturday 20th July 2013, more than 80 people gathered at Tabor College in Melbourne for the ‘Growing Youth
Spirituality’ conference. Those who attended came from around Australia and from a broad range of denominations. Many were working as teachers or chaplains in schools. Others were youth workers and some were working in local churches. A couple of priests and a bishop joined the conference. Other participants were working in educational or denominational offices developing programs and activities for youth ministry.

CRA Staff Report July 2012 – June 2013

CRA Finances 2011-12

Chairman’s Report 2013

Sexual Abuse by Clergy and Other Church Workers
In this issue Philip Hughes looks at the release of two recent books:- ‘For Christ’s Sake’ by Geoffrey Robinson, and  ‘Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church: Gender, Power
and Organizational Culture’ by Marie Keenan.

Report on the ISSR Conference 2013:
Rethinking Community: Religious Continuities and Mutations in Late Modernity

Pointers June 2013

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Pointers Vol.23-2

Inside this issue:
Profile of Australian Clergy – The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) classifies ‘ministers of religion’ within the broader social and welfare professional occupation, and defines the occupation as people who perform:
“. . . spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faiths, and provide motivation, guidance and training in religious life for the people of congregations and parishes, and the wider community” (ABS 2006, p327).

This article uses ‘clergy’ to describe these people, although in many denominations, this will not correspond with official usage of the term. The information provided by ABS Census statistics on clergy in Australia provides a useful picture.

CRA Youth Ministry Research Discussion Day – Twenty-one people gathered for discussion about Youth Ministry Research on 5th February 2013. Among the participants were youth directors from differentdenominations and dioceses around Australia, some advisors from organisations which work with youth including ACCESS Ministries, Scripture Union and Tabor College (Melbourne), and staff members of the Christian Research Association (CRA). Seven denominations were represented: Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, The Salvation Army and the Uniting Church in Australia.

Two Ways Anglicans and Other Christians are Responding to the Australian Culture – It is widely recognised that the Sydney Anglican Diocese is very different from most other Anglican Dioceses around Australia in its opinions, outlook and way of responding to Australian
culture. The difference has been apparent in relation to many issues, including the ordination of women and lay people presiding at the Eucharist. In 2011, Sydney Anglicans and the Threat to World Anglicanism: The Sydney Experiment by Muriel Porter was published. It highlighted many of the differences between Sydney and other Anglican dioceses. While this book focusses solely on Australian Anglicans, it highlights differences in the ways Christians are responding to the Australian culture across the denominations.
The Absence of Religion in the Czech Republic -The Czech Republic was one of the strongholds of the Protestant Reformation. Jan Hus (1369-1415), a Czech priest, was one of the earliest reformers. In 1950, 11 per cent of the population of Czech republic identified in the Czech Census with the Hussite Church. However, in the 2011 Census, the Hussites were just 0.4 per cent of the population.
Pilgrims or Tourists: the Origins of World Youth Day -An initiative of the late Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day has become the largest regular gathering of young people in the world, attracting hundreds of thousands, and on occasions, millions of participants. The size and scale of the event has resulted in its comparison to the Olympic Games and it has also necessitated significant organisational and logistical
effort and financial support (Norman & Johnson, 2011, p.372).

Pointers December 2012

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Pointers Vol. 22-4 (December 2012)

Inside this issue:

  • The Impact of Recent Immigration on Religious Groups in Australia– Since World War II, immigration has played a huge role in  the development of religious faith in Australia. That role has been most evident in the place that many of the world’s religions now have in Australia. Since 1971, the number of Australians associated with a religion other than Christianity has risen from just 0.1 million to 1.5 million. However, many millions of the immigrants have been Christian and some denominations would hardly exist today without the enormous influx of members that immigration has brought. The 2011 Census shows that the story of immigration and its impact on the religious life of Australia is a continuing one.
  • Immigrant Ministers of Religion – Among the recent immigrants to Australia are 1,362 classified as ministers of religion. Of these, 1,242 were Christian, 22 were Buddhist, 32 were Hindu, 11 were Muslims, 25 were Jews, 19 were of other religions, and 11 described themselves as having no religion or as not stating their religion (possibly secular celebrants).
  • Encouragements and Discouragements in Reading the Bible –
    About 4 per cent of young people read the Bible daily, another 6 per cent read it at least once a week, and 15 to 20 per cent read it occasionally (Hughes, 2010). In 2009 and 2010, the CRA conducted 333 interviews with young people and youth leaders in youth groups across Australia to discover what encouraged and discouraged young people in reading the Bible. The project was commissioned by a group of organisations including The Bible Society, Scripture Union, YouthWorks, the Lutheran Church and The Salvation Army (Southern Territory).
  • Spiritual but not Religious  – In many parts of the Western world, belief in God as creator and as active in history is in decline. Yet people are increasingly looking for the meaning of life in ‘the Spirit’. This is occurring both within the churches, through Pentecostal and charismatic movements and through mystical movements, and outside the churches through the New Age movement and through interest in holistic  wellbeing. Why is this happening and what is its significance in  understanding our changing Western culture?
  • Ministry in Anglican Schools – While congregations are dwindling, church schools are growing. The proportion of Australians sending their children to schools associated with a Christian denomination has continued to grow for many years. Close to one-third of all students now attend a Christian school. Catholic schools are by far the largest part of this with more than 1,700 schools across Australia. The second largest group is the 147 Anglican schools. In many denominations, however, questions are being asked about why the denomination should sponsor schools, what their aims should be, and what forms of ministry are appropriate in schools where few students are committed to the Christian faith. A new book from Anglican Schools Australia, Ministry in Anglican Schools: Principles and Practicalities, explores some of these issues. (The following references are all to that book.)

Pointers September 2012

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Pointers Vol. 22-3 (September 2012)

Articles include:

The Persistence of Religion:What the Census Tells Us
When the 2011 Australian Census figures were first released on 21st June 2012, the percentage of Australians ticking the ‘no religion’ box made headlines. Newsreporters noted how Australia had become more secular. On talk-back radio, people either celebrated or lamented the increased numbers of atheists in Australia. However, the real story of the Census is somewhat different: it is a story of the persistence of religion.

Religion around Australia: Changing Populations
Whilst the previous article paints a national picture of religious identification according to the Census, different geographical areas throughout Australia have always revealed different pictures, particularly when one compares the capital cities to non-urban areas. States and Territories differ. Inner city areas can be different from the suburbs. Urban areas are different from rural areas. Different geographical areas have their own histories and traditions, and different denominations are stronger in some areas than in others.

CRA Annual Staff Report 2011-2012
CRA Chairman’s Report 2012

The City is my Parish?
Understanding the Hillsong Model

John Wesley is well-known for his ‘world’ outlook –

I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation. This is the work which I know God has called me to; and sure I am that His blessing attends it. (Journal: 11 June 1739).
Among Pentecostal churches, Hillsong* is the most widely known in Australia and internationally. The weekly attendance at its Sydney services alone is more than 20,000, making it the largest mega-church in Australia.

What are some features that are helpful to understanding
the increasingly global phenomenon that Hillsong has become?

Pointers June 2012

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Pointers Vol. 22-2 (June 2012)

Articles include:

  • God’s Activity in Miracles –  It was reported in the Adelaide Advertiser at Easter time that around half of all Australians believe that Jesus was born of a virgin and that he walked on water. According to this report, Australians are ready to accept the existence of miracles. Mr McCrindle, the researcher, was quoted as saying: ‘This idea of a 21st century sceptical secular mind dominating is not accurate’. Was he right?
  • Homelessness –  When we think of homeless people we often think of those on the streets, dishevelled in appearance, roaming the rubbish bins for food, a blight on the social landscape which we wish would just disappear, or at least hide themselves from our view. In effect, however, homelessness is much broader, and any understanding of it certainly requires more deeper vision than that first image conjures up.
  • Notes from an American Study of Youth Ministry –  Over the last decade or more, a project entitled ‘Exemplary Youth Ministry’ has been in progress in the United States. Results from the study were published in 2010 in The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry: Leading Congregations toward Exemplary Youth Ministry. While there are many differences between the American and Australian contexts, not least in the numbers of churches that can afford paid youth leaders, there are some findings that are important for youth ministry in Australia.
  • Reviewing Church Life –  Reviews of church life take place in many ways such as through an ‘Annual General Meeting’ within a local church, when the leaders for a region gather such as in a Synod, or when researchers do an analysis of church life. All such reviews make certain assumptions about what ‘church life’ should be about. The Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania has been thinking about these assumptions and suggesting some new ways to conduct reviews.
  • Faith at the Olympics – “Doctors and scientists said breaking the fourminute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt. Thus, when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead.” Roger Bannister’s witty comment on his own achievement captures much of the significance, wider context and even celebrity orientation of sport in the modern world.

Pointers 2007

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Pointers 2008

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Articles include :
  • EMERGING CHURCHES IN MELBOURNE – There is a growing  movement of churches around the world that are  reinventing themselves or starting afresh as new congregations which take seriously their missionary challenge. ‘Missional’, ‘new paradigm’, ‘fresh expression’, ‘ new expressions of ’, ‘emerging’ and ‘emerging missional’ are among the terms used to describe these new ways of being and doing church. Among the experiments in emerging churches are Alternative worship, Cell church, Pub church, Cyber church, House church, Café church, Table church, Liquid church, Celtic church, Youth church, base ecclesial communities,new monasticism, commonpurse communities, mosaic multicultural groups, festival celebrations, art cooperatives and missional orders. In his book on emerging churches in the United Kingdom, Stuart Murray offers an overview of many of the different approaches.
  • Marriage in Australia: Changes and Challenges –  At the Lausanne Researchers’ Conference in April 2008, Peter Bentley presented a preliminary paper looking at the changes to marriage: status, place and wedding arrangements. The focus was on marriage in Australia with particular attention to Christian understandings of marriage. His interest in these topics has been stimulated over the last ten years by reading articles in newspapers and magazines, and having discussions with people at weddings and social events about marriage and relationships. This article is based on the Conference presentation.
  • Conversion in Singapore – Singapore is a multicultural and multi-faith city. New charismatic churches and Christian cathedrals sit next to ancient Taoist and Hindu temples and Moslem mosques. Some new religious movements such as Soka Gakkai and Satya Sai Baba have had considerable success in gaining converts. Among certain parts of the population there has been considerable movement from one religion to another, but in other parts, very little movement. A recent book by Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism and Competition in Singapore Society, published by Brill, Leiden, 2007, has analysed the changes and the trends. The author’s insights tell us not only about Singapore but more generally about the dynamics of religious conversion.
  • Australian Clergy –  Every denomination counts its clergy differently. Some include those who are retired while other denominations do not. Some include those who are in non-pastoral positions while others do not. The lines between those who are ‘ordained’ and those who may be taking leadership but as non-ordained leaders varies greatly from one denomination to another.
Articles include :
  • Lay Leadership and the Vitality of Rural Congregations – Within rural Australia, a great range of patterns of  organisation of ministry has emerged. Declining and ageing populations and increased costs and limited availability of full-time clergy have forced congregations to re-think how effective ministry can be conducted. Lay forms of leadership have become common. But it is not just a matter of necessity. Some people have argued that in giving ministry into the hands of lay people, it is giving it back to the whole church where it should reside.
  • WORLD YOUTH DAY 2008 –  World Youth Day 2008 was held in Sydney, Australia, with the Theme: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). World Youth Day, as an event, was established by Pope John Paul II in 1986, with the first being held in Rome, “to bring together young Catholics from around the globe to celebrate and learn about their faith on a more regular basis.” The Catholic body responsible is The Pontifical Council for the Laity.
  • Unravelling Identity: Immigrants, Identity and Citizenship in Australia
    Trevor Batrouney and John Goldlust
    For me, living overseas raised most poignantly the question of my national or ethnic identity. When I was living in Thailand, I was often asked where I came from. I was not sure how to answer that. I was born in England, but had lived in Australia. I had a British passport at that time, but I was on leave from work in Australia. I was very conscious of being a ‘Westerner’ rather than a Thai, having more in common with Americans and Europeans rather than Thai people, not only in my appearance but in my habits and my ways of thinking.
  • Financial Giving to Churches – This article reviews the financial giving patterns of church attenders. It reveals very different cultures of giving across denominations. However, a common trend is that more involved and motivated attenders tend to be more generous givers.
  • Recent Publications in the Religion-and-Film Field – Peter Bentley’s (2007) article in Pointers: Bulletin of the Christian  Research Association entitled “Visual Faith?” provided a good overview of recent internet resources pertaining to movies and the visual media ministry and claimed: “Images are all around us, but it sometimes takes a second look to see what is there” (p. 15). The same advice applies equally well to the many references relating to the emerging interdisciplinary field of religion-and-film (aka sacred cinema, spiritual cinema, holy film, cinematic theology, cinematheology, theo-film, celluloid religion, film-and-faith, film-faith  dialogue), which nowadays is slowly turning into an excitingly innovative cottage industry. The following is a brief, roughly categorised compilation of selected 2004-2008 items for your enjoyment and edification.
  • Spiritual Capital ? – All businesses need financial capital. Their achievements are measured in the financial capital that they accumulate over time. But businesses need more than financial capital in order to function effectively. They need staff with the appropriate skills and capacities – sometimes referred to as ‘human capital’. The relationships between staff and with suppliers and clients which enable people to work effectively together, qualities of respect, trust and goodwill – sometimes referred to as ‘social capital’ – are also fundamental to the operation of every business. These forms of ‘capital’, financial, human and social, are needed for the effective operation of every human organisation and community, not just businesses. All human communities, whether as small as a family or as large a nation or a multinational company, need resources (which can be measured in financial terms), human skills and capacities, and relationships through which people can act effectively together. Recent literature has argued that there is yet another important factor: spiritual capital.
Articles include :
  • Is Decline in Religion Inevitable? Religion and Young People: A Global Perspective – In many countries the task of passing on the Christian faith to younger generations is proving very difficult. In some countries, such as Australia, most young people have little interest in religious organisations. As shown in the graph on this page, young people identify less with Christian groups than do older people in Australian society. It is tempting to believe that this must be the inevitable pattern : that inevitably the  forces of secularisation will mean that young people lose interest in religion. However, one of the papers presented at the 2008 Lausanne Researchersʼ Conference challenged this through a global review of young people and religious involvement.
  • 5th Lausanne Researchers’ Conference, Geelong, 8-12 April 2008 – Sixty researchers gathered at the Geelong Conference Centre early in April. It was a splendid opportunity to share the research in which we are engaged. Thirty-three papers were offered by the participants, covering a wide range of topics. Each presenter had 45 minutes to describe their research and to engage in conversation with colleagues about it.
  • Transforming Melbourne Painting a Picture of Churches and Community in Melbourne – Christian mission to the city of Melbourne needs a concerted and cooperative effort. It needs all the churches to be involved, working together for common ends. In order to begin the task, an accurate and detailed picture of the church and of the city is needed. No-one has ever ‘painted a picture’ of the whole work of the churches in Greater Melbourne. No-one has ever undertaken to provide a canvas showing all the Christian Churches – their locations, activities, services, and schools. Did you know that there are probably more than 1,800 local churches in the Greater Melbourne area? There are at least 60 Chinese-speaking churches across Melbourne. But how many other ethnic-speaking congregations and parishes exist? How many house churches are active?
Articles include :
  • Why the Lausanne Conference Will be Different –  The 5th International Lausanne Researchers’ Conference will be held at the Geelong Conference Centre from Tuesday 8th to Saturday 12th April 2008. More than 65 people have registered to attend the conference. We are looking forward to a most worthwhile occasion. The Lausanne Conferences are different from other conferences that I attend. They offer something special to those looking at issues of Christian faith and mission.
  • Spiritual Development – A major global challenge for our age is the spiritual development of young people. The Western growth of individualism has laid the responsibility of choice about religious faith and the development of a sense of identity firmly in the hands of individual young people, rather than being something handed on by the communities into which they are born. It has left millions of young people around the world feeling confused about life. On the other hand, some young people have reacted strongly to Western individualism and consumerism by an unquestioning, even fanatical, commitment to their religion or ideology. The result of these two developments around the globe has led to a rise in conflict between the confused and the ‘overcertain’. An understanding of spiritual development is critical to helping young people find meaning and purpose in life and, ultimately, in resolving some of the world tensions.
  • Moving Beyond Forty Years of Missing Generations – Around forty years ago, the age profile of church attenders matched the wider community, but, since the 1960s, younger generations have gone missing. Latest results from the 2006 National Church Life Survey confirm the size of the current gap between church and community, as well as denominational variations. This is ‘old news’ but the need for effective responses by churches are more urgent than ever. In the next two decades, older and younger generations will need to negotiate through a significant period of transition. Perhaps the time is coming for the gap to begin to close.
  • The Global Picture – Issues in Counting Religious Numbers