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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Next Market for Evangelism and Church Growth

SBNR – “Spiritual but not Religious

The Next Market for Evangelism and Church Growth

This is a common phrase which has been uttered repeatedly in American society in recent years. It is said in the workplace, the local hangout, dating scenes, and in families themselves. According to a Gallup poll from May 21, 2010, American's self reporting shows that an increasing number of Americans have no religious identity. The following link will take you to the actual survey and it's results:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/128276/Increasing-Number-No-Religious-Identity.aspx

“The recent Religious Landscape Study of the Pew Research Center indicates that there are substantial numbers of people who describe themselves as "spiritual but not religious "some estimate as many as 100 million people currently. The truth is we must find ways within the context of our spiritual DNA, particularly our values and mission, to attract, welcome, and incorporate the SBNR.

Many congregations and spiritual communities have focused on reaching the "unchurched" or the "cultural creatives." Certainly these are appropriate groups for outreach. Yet, we believe the SBNR, the fastest growing religious segment of our population is even more significant.

Dr. Martin Luther King once said that today is tomorrow and tomorrow is today. There could be no better description of why those who self-identify as SBNR are crucial. And, as they are the emerging majority of younger people--Generation X and Millennials they are our future. To ignore them is to ignore both today and tomorrow. Is that a risk those of us who affirm the value of religious traditions are willing to take?

Though these folks, unlike cultural creatives and unchurched Baby Boomers, have

little experience or memory of the church, they are tomorrow. This year we'll explore outreach to SBNR as an integral component to your strategic plan. Plan to join us in this exploration.” (Robert Norton and Richard Southern http://growingcongregations.org/home/)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Michelle said...

Excellent points! From many of the SBNR folk I've talked with, I've learned they have trouble participating in a church/religion that they perceive as being rigid in beliefs and rituals. They feel they can't relate these to the reality of their lives and their intellects. I think "CAN YOU BE PERFECT" answers many of these concerns.

As you know, I struggle and probably always will, because beliefs are dynamic. Meeting you brought me back to the church, and I am slowly (sometimes very slowly) learning to create beliefs I am comfortable with and to enjoy aspects of the church and the faith without having to explain to myself rationally (which is not possible probably) why I do. I think it helps that I am a bit of a born-again Jungian and believe in our ability to hold two opposites with the hope of uniting them. Jung referred to God, among other things, as complexio oppositorum (union of opposites). This idea has helped me accept a great deal about myself; why shouldn't it help with religion?

Another problem with many is that church and religion are tied to an abusive childhood. One friend suffered so much abuse at the hands of her "religious" father that she cannot emotionally separate the two, although,of course, she knows intellectually religion didn't make her father that way.

Thank you for continuing to help shed light on ways to be spiritual AND religious.

Best,

Michelle

1:54 PM  
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