Color Congregation Successful
Color Congregation Successful

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Is the decline of organized religion – particularly amongst Millennials – due to a lack of ethnic diversity in congregation? Bob Smietana points to the inherently multi-ethnic nature of religion and sees the increasing diversity of the U.S. population as an opportunity for congregations that embrace a broader paradigm of who their ministry serves. – Ed.


Almost everyday, it seems, there’s a new story about how “Millennials are leaving the church.” But there’s a problem with these trend pieces: They aren’t true. American Christianity still has plenty of Millennials — they’re just not necessarily in white churches...

...About a third of young (18-29 year old) Americans — and more than half of younger Christians — are people of color, according to data from the Public Religion Research Institute... In fact there are more Nones — those with no religion — than white Christians in this age group...

...But diversity will mean changes in how churches operate, says Arlene Sánchez-Walsh, associate professor of history at Azusa Pacific University. Sánchez-Walsh says that while theology may unite believers over racial and ethnic lines, money and power may divide them...

...Still, there are some signs of success already. This past fall, the Mosaix Conference, a gathering of multiethic church leaders, drew more than 1,000 people. That’s up from about 30 people 10 years ago.

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) promotes Multicultural Ministry and Racial Justice.
Learn about the UUA Mosaic Project to serve the ministry needs of Youth and Young Adults of Color.

Read "Are Millennials Really Leaving the Church? Yes — but Mostly White Millennials" on the On Faith blog from Faithstreet.


About the Author

  • Ted joined the staff of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries in February 2010. He brings more than twenty-five years of experience using media to create social change by creating communications strategies and content for progressive non-profits, political campaigns, and cause based...

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