Got Religion? How Churches, Mosques, and Synagogues Can Bring Young People Back

Naomi Schaefer Riley, Author
Naomi Schaefer Riley. Templeton Press, $24.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-59947-391-8
Open Ebook - 178 pages - 978-1-59947-463-2
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A former Wall Street Journal editor, Riley (God on the Quad) has written a useful overview of the challenges facing religious congregations as they try to recruit a younger generation to old-timey institutions and traditions. But rather than dwell on the reasons for the religious decline, she provides readers with case studies of seven different faiths that have tried innovative programs to meet the needs of a post-college generation, sometimes identified as "emerging adults." Although all the groups are different, they share a fundamental predicament: keeping their heritage going in an age of distraction. In her reporting, Riley finds that young people want community, a sense of belonging, and an opportunity to serve. Ironically, many college-based religious offerings are too successful; they make it hard for congregations to draw young adults after they've graduated. Roman Catholic groups have tried to recreate a shared living experience through the Alliance for Catholic Education and Jewish groups through Moishe House. Other faiths have tried other approaches. Though there is no magic bullet, the examples in this short volume provide a concise and readable examination of ways to shape future congregational lay leaders. (May)
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