Church And Synagogue Affiliation

Overview

In this book, scholars and church and synagogue leaders examine religious affiliation in contemporary America. Their essays explore the dynamics of congregational affiliation: the motivations which impel people to join a congregation, drop out or remain unaffiliated; the practices within churches and synagogues which attract or repel membership; and the ways in which contextual religious, social, and cultural factors influence patterns of congregational affiliation. The book is principally concerned with churches...

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Overview

In this book, scholars and church and synagogue leaders examine religious affiliation in contemporary America. Their essays explore the dynamics of congregational affiliation: the motivations which impel people to join a congregation, drop out or remain unaffiliated; the practices within churches and synagogues which attract or repel membership; and the ways in which contextual religious, social, and cultural factors influence patterns of congregational affiliation. The book is principally concerned with churches and synagogues in the more liberal denominations of Christianity and Judaism, those where the greatest membership losses are occurring.

Over the past few decades membership in mainline churches in the United States has declined, with some groups losing more than 20 percent of their membership. Similarly, four decades ago, 60 percent of all American Jews were religiously affiliated; today that number is below 40 percent. This book seeks not only to explain the reasons for declines in affiliation, but also to propose approaches that may combat the decline and showcase studies of congregations that have succeeded in holding their memberships. This work will be of great interest to scholars of religion in America as well as clerics, rabbis, and others actively involved in congregational life.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Papers emerging from a joint project of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis U. and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. They report on research and practice which explores the dynamics of congregational affiliation: the motivations that impel people to join a congregation, drop out, or remain unaffiliated; the practices within churches and synagogues that attract or repel membership; and the ways in which contextual religious, social, and cultural factors influence patterns of congregational affiliation. The principal concern is with churches and synagogues in the more liberal denominations of Christianity and Judaism, where the greatest membership losses have been occurring. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

AMY L. SALES is a Professor and senior research associate at the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University.

GARY A. TOBIN is a Professor and Director of the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University.

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Table of Contents

Figures and Table
Foreword
Introduction 1
1 A Framework for Understanding Congregational Affiliation: Suggestions from Research within the Christian Tradition 17
2 Definitions of Congregational Growth 27
3 Interdenominational Dialogue: Seeking a Common Language for Affiliation Research and Practice 41
4 Congregational Involvement of Young Adults Who Grew Up in Protestant Churches 59
5 Four Styles of Religious Marginality 77
6 Profiles of the Disaffiliated: Four Case Studies 95
7 Reaching Out to the Unaffiliated 113
8 Luther Place Memorial Church: A Church as Refuge/Sanctuary 127
9 Bethany Baptist Church: Growth through Planning and Social Action 135
10 Congregation B'nai Jeshurun: The Power of a Relevant Message 143
11 Leadership, Ministry, and Integrity Amid Changing Roles for Clergy and Laity 155
12 The Role of National Religious Institutions in Congregational Affiliation and Growth 167
Afterword 177
For Further Reading 183
Index 185
About the Editors and Contributors 191
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