The Axial Age And Religion In Australia Today

In my book, Charting the Trends in Australian
Religion: 30 Years in the Christian Research
Association (Hughes, 2016), I suggested that
we may be moving into a second axial age.
In an interview following the release of the
book, I was asked what I meant by that. I
had in mind the huge change in the nature
of faith in Australia that has occurred since
the 1960s: from something that is dominated
by religious institutions to a much more
personal spirituality, owned and developed by
individuals. However, the question motivated
me to look more closely at the development
and nature of the Axial Age and what might be
corresponding changes today. One of the books
that proved very helpful in those reflections was
the collection of essays edited by Robert Bellah
and Hans Joas (2012), The Axial Age and Its
Consequences. I have referred to many of the
essays in this monograph.

Philip Hughes 2019

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Pointers December 2019

Inside this issue:

Gen Y and the Church

Mark Bohr is a Doctor of Ministry candidate at Alphacrusis College. In this article he shares some of the findings of his research and offers some suggestions as to how churches can engage with the Gen Y cohort.

Dig Deep: Sport. Faith. Life. Report on the Second Global Congress on Sport and Christianity

The Second Global Congress on Sport and Christianity was held in the city of Grand Rapids, in the US state of Michigan, from 23-27 October 2019. The Congress brought together over 300 people from 20 different countries. The event followed on from the Inaugural Congress held in the city of York, England, in 2016, which provided the foundation for this cross-disciplinary and cross-professional gathering.

Annual Finance Report 2018 – 2019

Putting Sport on the Local Churchs’ Ministry Agenda: The Possibilities of Sports Chaplaincy in Local Church Ministry

Just a few decades ago many Christian churches in Australia had strong connections with sport. Churches entered teams in local sporting associations, developed their own clubs or established facilities on church property for church and community activities (Reid, 2014, pp. 1–2). It was common for a tennis court to complement the church buildings on a church property. Many young people played netball or cricket for church-based clubs or leagues… However, the reality in many Australian churches nowadays presents a tension between sporting activities and worship services (Reid, 2014, p. 2), mainly due to the competing demands for the Sunday activity.

Chair’s Report 2019

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Children’s Prayer – A Multi-faith Perspective

This book provides strong arguments for giving prayer a central place in the education and nurture of children. It is based on research in Australian Catholic, parent-controlled Christian, Independent, Jewish, Muslim and government schools. The author demonstrates focused attention and care in the data collection from the words of children and their drawings of people praying. She takes us through her thorough processes of analysis and synthesis.

The research shows that prayer is valued by all children, whether they come from a religious background or not. For some children it is a way of associating with their communities and traditions of faith. For others, prayer is practised in an individualistic manner.

Prayer is a way to perceive and respond to the experiences of life. It can help in dealing with the challenging emotional states of anxiety, loneliness, fear, anger and guilt. It can give hope for the future. It provides a way of seeking help for others, as well as expressing praise and thanksgiving.

Vivienne Mountain has a background in teaching and in clinical counselling. She lectures in Spirituality and Ministry with Children at Stirling Theological College, University of Divinity, Australia. She has published three books as well as contributing chapters to a number of others and articles for national and international journals.

Vivienne Mountain PhD, MA (Theology), MA (Creative arts therapy), MA ( Philosophy and religion), B Ed, B Th.

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A Vision for effective Youth Ministry

Many young Australians are struggling with issues of mental health, anxiety about the future, and addictions to drugs. Behind these struggles are often questions of what life is all about. Youth ministry is more important today than at any time in recent history. Yet, many churches are finding it difficult to connect with youth beyond those whose families are involved in the church.

This book has arisen out of Australian research into youth ministry, from visiting youth groups and talking with youth leaders and the youth themselves. It offers a vision for the development of youth ministry, recognising the diversity of youth and the backgrounds from which they come.

It explores how to build a youth ministry team and the qualities needed in the team. It discusses issues of training, payment, and support for youth leaders and building bridges with parents, church and school.

What are the factors which will really make a difference in developing youth ministry? Based on research, our conclusions are:

  • The vision for developing the spirit of young people

  • The commitment of the whole church to youth ministry

  • The youth ministry team with strong relationships with God, each other, the youth, parents, the church and the wider society;

  • A diversity of activities: both age-specific and intergenerational for fun, friends, inquiry and developing the spirit.

The Authors:

Rev Dr Philip Hughes has had pastoral experience in inner city, suburban and rural churches, and has been the senior research officer of the Christian Research Association since 1985. He has two adult children and one grandchild.

Stephen Reid has worked for the Christian Research Association since 2007 and has one teenage child and two younger children.

Margaret Fraser has worked for the Christian Research Association since 2011. She has two children who are completing university and two who are teenagers.

All three authors were involved in interviews with youth, youth leaders, clergy and parents for this study.

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