These are challenging times for churches in the United States. Membership is dropping in virtually all Christian denominations, but especially mainline Protestantism. The “nones”— Americans unaffiliated with any religion—are on the rise: they now represent 20 percent of all men, women, and children in the US, and about a third of millennials.
With the proliferation of social media platforms like FB, Twitter, and Instagram, many pastors are taking to cyberspace to stay in touch with a flock that no longer fills the pews. At the same time, they lament the prominence of the virtual over the real, of screens over faces, and of networks over communities.
HDS alumnus the Rev. Keith Anderson, takes on these trends in his new book, The Digital Cathedral. He says that the interconnectedness of social media platforms has a counterpart in the medieval cathedral and its integration into the community. He urges his colleagues to think less about how to get people back to church, and more about bringing church to the people, whether online, at a community center, or even a morning commute.