Research on congregations and generational cultures

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Fri, 09/01/1995
End Date: 
Wed, 12/31/1997

Jackson Carroll and Wade Clark Roof inquired into the characteristics of the various generations, as divided into relative peer groups who experienced significant historical events, and the ways in which those generations defined themselves, interrelate with other generations, and understand themselves religiously, especially in the church. By rigorously interviewing a variety of congregations in southern California and North Carolina, they collected and interpreted data reflective of two different American sub-cultures, out of which emerged certain consistencies in experience and generational self-identity. They divided generations into three groups: (1) pre-war "builders"--those who experienced the Great Depression and World War II; (2) the "Boomers"--those who were born immediately after WWII and who experienced the tumultuous '60s; (3) the "Xers"--those who were born 1965-1980 who (except for 9/11/01) have not experienced major world events that cohere the generation. From these data, Carroll and Roof documented the characteristics of effective intergenerational church life and ministries, and produced articles in various journals and magazines, a book for congregational edification, and held two conferences (in North Carolina and southern California).(MG)