Jun 1 2012

Life After Youth Group

Surveys by the Barna Research Group show that teens are more likely than adults to attend worship services and participate in other activities of the local church.[1] The picture changes alarmingly after graduation. More than sixty percent of survey respondents who were active in their teen years are no longer active in their twenties.

Youth Group loss

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May 1 2012

Once, Twice, Three Times an Immigrant

Ground Zero mural

Ground Zero mural commissioned by Yakov Smirnoff

As Yakov Smirnoff would often say, “I love this country.” The Ukrainian-born comedian built a sizeable career on this line and his signature Russian reversals.

In America, you always find a party.
In Russia, Party always find you.

For Smirnoff, these jokes were only partly tongue in cheek. They reflected an abiding appreciation for the economic and personal freedoms of his newly adopted country. On July 4, 1986, Smirnoff took the Oath of Allegiance on Ellis Island with a scale-size model of the Statue of Liberty in his hand. After the 9-11 attacks he used $100,000 of his own money to mount a patriotic mural near Ground Zero.[1]

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Apr 29 2012

The Family Plan

Hollywood movies often carry this disclaimer as the credits roll by: “All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.” The same disclaimer applies to the three families I have profiled below. In this fictional world, all the parents are Christians, all the marriages are intact, and all are members of the same congregation. And yet, how could they be so different?

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Apr 16 2010

Ecumenism Without the Church

[tab:Plugged In, Tuned Out]

Plugged In, Tuned Out

“He’s there every time the door is open.” This often serves as a passing grade for “faithful” in many of our congregations today. Americans are passionate about productivity and this bleeds over into the management of the local church. Weekly headcounts and participation levels become proxy measures for spiritual growth and maturity.

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Sep 14 2009

After the Youth Group, What Next?

For a number of years now we have been hearing a grim statistic: half of our teens will lose their faith after graduating from high school. Churches have hired youth ministers, built gyms and hosted musical extravaganzas. They have saturated their curricula with “relevant” discussions on sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. Is any of this actually working?

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