Preachers face a daunting task in understanding the social and cultural changes which are altering the face of their congregations and communities. In A Generation of Seekers, Wade Clark Roof offers a significant resource of data and insight to help us understand those changes, and for that contribution Roof’s book has been recognized as Preaching Book of the Year for 1993.
Published by HarperCollins, A Generation of Seekers seeks to survey and understand the spiritual journey of the Baby Boomer generation. Boomers are those Americans born between 1946 and 1964, and they compose some seventy-six million persons — about one-third of all Americans. Roof, professor of religion and society at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has conducted what may be the most comprehensive sociological examination of this generation’s attitudes toward church, religion and faith.
Seekers was first reviewed in the July-August 1993 issue of Preaching. Here are some comments from that review, written by R. Albert Mohler.
Roof presents his research and analysis through the stories of prototypical baby boomers, ranging from conservative evangelicals to New Agers, devotees and those who consider themselves profoundly religious …
Those involved in congregational ministry will seldom be surprised by Roof’s analysis, but his research is revealing in both depth and breadth. Put bluntly, boomers look at the church and organized religion in profoundly different ways than their parents and grandparents. Given the tremendous social upheavals experienced by the generation in its most formative years, “Boomers still feel some distance from almost every institution, whether the military, banks, public schools, Congress, or organized religion.”
The generation was formed in a culture of affluence, nurtured by the media culture, and tossed to and fro by cultural revolutions — most significantly, Roof argues, by the gender revolution … “The changing sexual rules and relationships of the period mushroomed into a major social movement that has radically altered marriage, family, parenting, and career patterns.”
The Boomers span the spectrum from religious liberals to stalwart evangelicals but Roof argues they have changed the rules of the game. The shift to spirituality and inner-directed issues threatens the very existence of the Church as an institution of the cultural center.
How do we preach to baby boomers? They are accustomed to television programming with fast-paced camera shifts and packaged entertainment. They consider themselves highly educated and very discriminating in taste. They have been shaped in spirit and substance by some of the most divisive cultural conflicts in modern history, and they mistrust institutions. Yet they stand in need of the Gospel and the Church faces the ever-present challenge to preach the Word to this dominant generation.
Preachers will find this volume a “must read” addition to their reading lists. The book is both haunting and helpful.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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