For many years now, the church in North America has heard figure after figure concerning the steady flow of young people leaving the church. In the midst of these troubling figures, there remains a glimmer of hope for these youth as they transition into young adults. Ever Ancient, Ever New tells the story of a generation of younger Christians from different backgrounds and traditions who are finding a home and a deep connection in the church by embracing a liturgical expression of the faith.
Author and teacher Winfield Bevins introduces you to a growing movement among younger Christians who are returning to historic, creedal, and liturgical reflections of Christianity. He unpacks why and how liturgy has beckoned them deeper into their experience of Jesus, and what types of churches and communities foster this "convergence" of old and new. Filled with stories illustrating the excitement and joy many young adults have found in these ancient expressions of Christianity, this book introduces you to practices and principles that may help the church as it seeks to engage our postmodern world.
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About the Author
Winfield Bevins is the Director of Church Planting at Asbury Theological Seminary. He frequently speaks at conferences on a variety of topics and is a regular adjunct professor at several seminaries. As an author, one of his passions is to help others connect to the roots of the Christian faith for spiritual formation and mission. His Zondervan books include Ever Ancient Ever New: The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation and Marks of a Movement: What the Church Today Can Learn from the Wesleyan Revival. He and his wife Kay have three beautiful girls Elizabeth, Anna Belle, and Caroline and live in the Bluegrass state of Kentucky. You can find out more about him at his websitewww.winfieldbevins.com.
Table of Contents
1. Who are the Young Adults?
There is a new wind blowing across North America that is leading a growing number of young adults to embrace liturgical practices. Why are young adults who have grown up in a post-Christian secular context returning to historic beliefs and practices? Who are they and what drives them? This chapter seeks to understand the generations known as Millennials and Gen Xers and uncover what motivates them in their faith.
2. Neo-Liturgical Churches: Recovering the Foundation
Young adults from across the United States are being drawn to liturgical expressions of worship that is a convergence of old and new. Convergent worship is essential to the draw of an overarching Convergent faith. These churches, which I have labelled “neo-liturgical,” are seeking to reclaim ancient-future roots of the faith for mission in a postmodern setting. This chapter shows how some of these neo-liturgical churches are practically implementing historic patterns of worship in the midst of their local context.
3. Cathedrals, Choirs, and Traditional Churches
While many of the Convergent Christians are drawn to the neo-litugical scene, still many others are returning to historic Cathedrals and churches. Especially in major cities, cathedrals and traditional churches are seeing a surge of young adults coming into their doors. A surprising number of young adults aren’t just seeking to appropriate historic practices, they are actually fully engaging traditional churches. This chapter will explore examples of how young adults are bringing new life back into traditional mainline churches.
4. The Search to Belong: New Monasticism
Despite the rise of social media and increased connectedness in today’s world, people are lonelier than ever before. Young adults are looking for a sense of community and belonging. Rediscovering the historic understanding of being the church is providing a way for young adults root themselves deeply in an identity that is found in a biblical community of faith. This chapter attempts to demonstrate ways in which young adults are finding a personal identity through Christian community.
5. Come Holy Spirit: Openness to God’s Leading
Liturgy gives us a foundation that, on one hand keeps us grounded, and on the other frees us to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Those people described in Convergence are not moving away from the Charismatic dimension of the Christian faith, rather they are seeking to embrace a holistic expression of the faith that is open to the Spirit. This chapter explores how, in spite of the common association between liturgy and strict formality, Convergent worshipers are seeking to embrace both the work of the Holy Spirit and historic rhythms of worship and prayer.
6. Sacred Rhythms: Ancient Practices for Today
We all have rhythms, routines, and rituals that order our daily lives. They keep us on track and often center around what matters most to us. Spiritually speaking, rhythms and routines enable Christians to integrate daily life with Christ into all portions of our lives. This chapter will examine several ways in which young adults are utilizing ancient understandings of rhythms (e.g. prayer, fasting, solitude, etc.) to promote spiritual formation and to help them integrate their faith into their daily lives.
7. Mission: The Missio Dei
At the very heart of the Christian faith is the mission of God. The story of creation portrays the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as one who pursues reconciliation with His creation, and His chief instrument for conducting His mission of reconciliation is the church. Rather than retreating from the world, young adults are seeking to embrace a historically rooted faith that will serve as a launching pad for mission. This chapter will examine ways in which young adults are rediscovering historic patterns of mission for ministry in a postmodern world.