Monday, January 25, 2010

Responding to trends

Here at the Heartland Unitarian Universalist Ministers' Association winter conference, we're discussing 13 trends in congregational life from LifelongFaith.com.  Recognizing, as one minister pointed out, that trends are not necessarily the same as best practices, how do we adapt our congregations to respond to the changing realities?  These include the increasing racial and ethnic diversity in our country (while UUism remains at an enormously high percentage white; that people increasingly describe themselves as "spiritual but not religious," increasing use of internet, the aging population and the shifting reality of the young adult population as embodying a new stage of life that is "emerging adulthood" where marriage and children are postponed during a period of high freedom of choice and experimentation.

Some of these trends work naturally with Unitarian Universalism.  Some of them we may be well-placed to respond to.  Others we will struggle with more than other religions. 

2 comments:

Joy said...

We are identifying a trend in our congregation that I believe will affect other congregations as we become more diverse, we are noticing that there are cultural issues that have more to do with class and educational experience than any other thing. I have also seen this emergent adulthood thing. It's odd for me to think of it. We were so interested in becoming an adult. It's as if they have looked at us, not liked what they saw and rejected the whole thing. So what to do with this information?

Cynthia Landrum said...

What we do with it I don't know yet. I think part of it is just recognizing that they may flit in and out, and that this is part of the journey. And if we're waiting for them to join when they have kids, we're waiting a lot longer, so we need to find another reason for them to come! One minister said here that one conversation with a mentor can be incredibly powerful during this time, so it's important to sit down with them and talk about faith.