Generations of Faith: A Congregational Atlas

by Carl Eeman. The Alban Institute, 2002.

Carl Eeman applies Strauss and Howe’s theory of generational types to the church. In section one, he describes the lifecycle of a generation (childhood-adolescence-adulthood-elderhood). In section two he describes the characteristics of each of the four archetypal generations: "adaptive," "idealist," "nomad," and "civic." Section three considers the four stages, or "turnings," of life ("high," "awakening," "unraveling," "crisis") and looks at each generation’s interactions with other generations during each turning. This final section discusses the implications of the generational theory for religious bodies.

Eeman believes that church leaders would be better able to prepare for the changes each turning brings if they pay attention to how each generation approaches faith issues and how each turning affects religious bodies. This book will help congregational and denominational leaders understand changes in American culture and how those changes impact the church.