How Churches, Mosques, and Synagogues Can Bring Young People Back
Naomi Schaefer Riley
Narrated by Catherine Force
Approximately 14.5 hours
Book published by Templeton Press
Why are young people dropping out of religious institutions? Can anything be done to reverse the trend? In Got Religion?, Naomi Schaefer Riley examines the reasons for the defection, why we should care, and how some communities are successfully addressing the problem.
The traditional markers of growing up are getting married and becoming financially independent. But young adults are delaying these milestones, sometimes for a full decade longer than their parents and grandparents. This new phase of “emerging adulthood” is diminishing the involvement of young people in religious institutions, sapping the strength and vitality of faith communities, and creating a more barren religious landscape for the young adults who do eventually decide to return to it. Yet, clearly there are some churches, synagogues, and mosques that are making strides in bringing young people back to religion.
Got Religion? offers in-depth, on-the-ground reporting about the most successful of these institutions and shows how many of the structural solutions for one religious group can be adapted to work for another.
The faith communities young people attach themselves to are not necessarily the biggest or the most flashy. They are not the wealthiest or the ones employing the latest technology. Rather, they are the ones that create stability for young people, that give them real responsibility in a community and that help them form the habits of believers that will last a lifetime.
Naomi Schaefer Riley is a weekly columnist for the New York Post and a former Wall Street Journal editor. She is the author of Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage Is Transforming America, God on the Quad, and he Faculty Lounges.
“What may begin as a conversation at a wine and cheese social hour might ultimately lead to real conversion—or at least that’s the hope, dare we say, and faith that religious leaders are aiming to achieve. Rather than spending thousands of dollars on outside consulting agencies, these leaders would do well to first invest in Got Religion? as they set out to reclaim and reenergize members of their flock. The wisdom offered here will not only serve pastoral staff, but also parents who seek to pass on their faith to future generations and fellow congregants aiming to more actively contribute to the faith life of their own community. Such effects, if successful, might not only prove beneficial in the here and now, but in the hereafter, as well.”
—The Catholic World Report
“Got Religion? is the perfect playbook for religious leaders (or anyone else) looking to reach out to millennials.”
—The Weekly Standard
“Got Religion? will challenge several of your personal prejudices and preconceptions, and confirm others. Nevertheless I doubt it will be possible to examine this book and remain unaffected by it. Riley’s material would make an ideal read for congregational leadership, Christian educators, service agencies, and denominational committees concerned with attracting this age group. I readily recommend the book.”
—Deus Mistereatur Blog
“Riley 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… 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. ”
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