The pastors who attended last week's National Pastors Convention have now returned to their churches across North America. David Swanson presents his final reflections on the convention and the issues it brought to his attention.
Now that the National Pastors Convention has ended, I'd like to offer my highly unscientific observations about some trends I observed this past week.
The Denominational Dilemma
During the conference, the Pew Forum released its U. S. Religious Landscape Survey, which demonstrates the ease with which people move between denominations. According to the survey, 44 percent of Americans have made a significant shift in their religious affiliation, whether moving between faiths and denominations or detaching completely from any tradition. This week different presenters have noted that this survey presents trends many of us have experienced in our churches.
In many ways, this conference, with its speakers and worship leaders from many denominations and backgrounds, reflected the Pew research. Some there considered this fluidity a positive development because it allows people to experience more of the Christian tradition. Others were wringing their hands, claiming this "pick and choose" mentality keeps believers from being deeply rooted in the Faith. What most agreed must be addressed is number of those reflected in the survey who leave the faith all together.
A Place for a New Generation
On Wednesday I attended a session about how churches can attract and retain the younger generation. I was surprised to find this session absolutely packed: church leaders were standing in the back of the room and sitting on the floor hoping for some insight into this generational dilemma. From my vantage point I watched the ...