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Last week at the pre-LREDA (Liberal Religious Educators Association) Fall Conference meeting of UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association) program consultants, we discussed a new resource from the fine folks at Lifelong Faith (a group “committed to helping congregations develop lifelong faith formation for all ages and generations, increasing the capacity of leaders and communities to nurture faith growth”). As a group, we were pretty excited about Lifelong Faith’s new Faith Formation 2020 National Initiative. Now this is a specifically Christian group, but a lot of what they’re looking at has a bearing on any religious community, including Unitarian Universalists. The initiative has a couple of intriguing documents worth checking out: “Thirteen Trends and Forces Influencing the Future of Faith Formation in a Changing Church and World” and “Four Scenarios for the Future of Faith Formation in 2020.” I plan on writing more about this in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here are the thirteen treads and four scenarios.

Trend 1. Declining Participation in Christian Churches
Trend 2. Growth in No Religious Affiliation
Trend 3. Becoming More “Spiritual” and Less “Religious”
Trend 4. Influence of Individualism on Christian Identity and Community Life
Trend 5. Increasing Social, Cultural, and Religious Diversity in the U.S.
Trend 6. Growing Influence of Hispanic/Latino Religious Faith
Trend 7. Identifying a New Stage of Life: “Emerging Adulthood”
Trend 8. The Rise of a Distinctive Post-Boomer Faith and Spirituality
Trend 9. Changing Structures and Patterns of Family Life in the United States
Trend 10. Rediscovering the Impact of Parents and Families on Faith Practice
Trend 11. Living in a Digital World
Trend 12. Educating in New Ways
Trend 13. Increasing Numbers of Adults 65 and Older

Scenario #1. Vibrant Faith and Active Engagement in the Church Community
Scenario #2. Spiritual, but Not Religious
Scenario #3. Unaffiliated and Uninterested
Scenario #4. Participating in Church Activities, but Faith and the Spiritual Life Are Not Important

For more information on the thirteen treads and four scenarios, visit http://lifelongfaith.com/faithformation2020.htm.

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