Regardless of where a church is on the theological and political spectrum, all churches have always been interested in and concerned about youth. There are many reasons for this that exist at the same time and with varying degrees of intensity. As volunteer organizations, churches know that their survival depends on the continual and prolonged inclusion of new people. Churches also know that the age-range from middle school through college is when people are most receptive to the Gospel. Churches also have the desire to provide pastoral care to all within their ministries, including young people.
However, with the reality of the growing diversity and pluralism in the United States and also the increasing decline of Christianity in our nation, churches have been especially focused upon this issue of youth, because, if the statistics are accurate, it is young people who are the primary ones opting out of church.
This episode focuses upon what is going on with young people today in general and also what is going on with those young people who are Christians.
My guest is Laura Addis. Laura Addis has been involved in youth ministry since 2000 in both staff and volunteer roles. She currently serves as the Ministry Associate with Students at First Baptist Church in Asheville, North Carolina, as Director of Programs for Life in Trinity Ministry, and as a consultant for Ministry Architects. Laura has regularly written for various youth magazines, online sites, and curriculum publishers.
Based upon Laura’s extensive experience, we are going to lean into her insight and wisdom in understanding what is happening with young people, including Christian young people today.
Tom has graciously agreed to return as a guest to help us understand the importance of these demographic and life-style research tools. Those who use these tools in businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations are often called futurists because the research results enables them to understand trends.
Tom is an internationally recognized author, consultant, and leadership coach for Christian organizations and faith-based non-profits and has published over 25 books and numerous articles some of which have been translated into Spanish, Korean, and Afrikaans. He received his academic doctorate in philosophical theology from the University of Toronto and Victoria University. He has participated in the American Academy of Religion since 1981, and has served the board of the North American Paul Tillich Society.
Tom’s most recent publication is Why Tillich? Why Now?. It is a book addressed primarily to academic audiences.