Date of Award
Master of Divinity (MDiv)
This thesis examines the dynamic factors influencing religious disengagement in the United States and identifies five best practices for churches interested in responding to the growing number of “nones” and “dones.” Placing religious disengagement within the framework of Christian history, relative to the cyclical nature of religious movements, it confirms the occasion and purpose of the ensuing “liminal spirituality” and explores what many scholars suggest is a new era of Christian history. Factors influencing religious disengagement considered include; the impact of post-modern and metamodern cultural logic, the role of doubt in personal faith formation, the ways in which the Church inoculates people against itself, familial influence on faith formation, and the impact of new media. Characteristics of generational cohorts Z, Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer are explored relative to religious disengagement. Best practices for churches wishing to engage the religiously disengaged are recommended with practical examples and suggested first steps to initiate change in faith communities. Finally, a pneumatological purview is put forth, suggesting the role of the Holy Spirit as a motivating force ushering in the dawn of a new era.
Stevens, Savoy, "Liminal Spirituality: Why Religion is Changing and How Churches Can Respond" (2018). Seminary Masters Theses. 33.