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Los Ranchos Presbytery Pastors’ Retreat

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  1. Los Ranchos Presbytery Pastors’ Retreat • Rodger Nishioka, Ph.D. • Benton Family Associate Professor of Christian Education • Columbia Theological Seminary • Decatur, GA

  2. Wednesday night: Ministry with the Millennials • Thursday morning: Ministry with young adults • Thursday evening: Leading with Courage and Nerve • Friday morning: Eight trends that are shaping the nature of ministry

  3. Who are “millennials”? • According to generational theorists William Strauss and Neil Howe, millennials are persons born 1985-2005 (5-25 years-old). • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on January 1, 2006, these persons comprised nearly 80 million Americans or just over 28 percent of the U.S. population.

  4. Why the moniker “millennials”? • As a cohort, they resent the implication that they follow in the pattern of Generation X (describing them as “Generation Y”, for instance) because they believe they are vastly different from the previous generation as well as the Boomer generation that raised them.

  5. National Study of Youth and Religion • Random sampling of 3,370 American youth (13-17 years-old) July 2002-March 2003. Results here are for those who identified as “mainline Protestant.” Others were conservative Protestant, Black Protestant, Roman Catholic, not religious, Mormon, Jewish, more than one religion, other.

  6. Young people view God as a moralistic therapeutic deity.

  7. What does this mean?

  8. The Deity • A God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth. • God is all powerful and largely distant.

  9. The Moralistic Deity • God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions. • Good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell.

  10. The Therapeutic Deity • The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about one’s self. • God is not particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem or in some inexplicable way, when tragedy occurs.

  11. Does hovering lead to a sense of entitlement?

  12. So what’s the problem?

  13. The view of God as a moralistic therapeutic deity does not place Christ at the center. It places ourselves at the center with God orbiting around us. • The goal of life is not to be happy and feel good about one’s self. The goal of life is to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ as a response to God’s gift of amazing grace.

  14. Then Jesus said, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25