Much of the narrative surrounding religion in America is one of scarcity and erosion -- places of worship closing at record rates, attendance at services dwindling, and a growing segment of the population selecting their religious identity as "None." For the next several newsletters, we'll be telling the stories of the courageous leaders in START who are transforming problems into opportunities by centering their work around the experiences of those they seek to serve. Hear from current Glean START participant Drew Rau.
Share one statistic surrounding your project or the population you're called to serve that you (or others around you!) may have previously viewed through a lens of scarcity or erosion. Share a few sentences on how you view it as an opportunity.
Drew Rau: "As is widely known, groups such as the "Spiritual But Not Religious" (SBNR) or the "Nones" are growing at a rapid rate across all demographics of America society, the former rising from less than a fifth (19%) of the population to more than a quarter (27%) of the population in just the five years between 2012 and 2017.
Because this is coming at the expense of traditional religious identification, such statistics often represent a challenge to religious leaders, but by recognizing that the people who leave an established tradition are often not losing their sense of spirituality but rather engaging it even more vigorously than before, I saw an opportunity to meet these people where they are rather than lament where they are not.
Faith leaders tend to view the SBNRs and the Nones as individuals who have let go of any meaningful faith and are now lost to the spiritual world, but the truth is that they are a powerful and positive part of the American religious landscape, with more demand for spirituality than