Biola University’s Center for Christian Thought (CCT) proposes a 12-month planning grant to lay groundwork for an anticipated three-year project--tentatively titled, "The Sustainable Faith Project"--that will investigate the implications of the science of religious change for the strategic efforts of the Christian church and church-related organizations. This anticipated project seeks to address the questions: what are the causes of religious change and, given those causal factors, how do Christian organizations remain vital and sustainable in the midst of these rapidly changing religious-cultural dynamics? The goals of this planning grant are: (1) to determine just what sort of scholarship on religious change is most relevant to publicly-engaged, Christian organizations, (2) to determine which questions related to religious change are most pressing for these organizations, (3) to determine how best to develop recommendations for these organizations based on this scholarship, and (4) to determine an effective means to communicate the relevant scholarship and recommendations to Christian organizations. Among other activities, we propose two meetings in 2021. The initial meeting will be virtual in June 2021 and will bring together leading empirical researchers, cultural theorists, and strategic Christian leaders for a guided-discussion of the relationships between the science of religious change, cultural theory, and Christian cultural engagement. The second meeting will be in person and involve a more selective subgroup of these researchers, theorists, and Christian leaders who will comprise a team of co-investigators and consultants tasked with developing a proposal for the anticipated three-year project--the “Sustainable Faith Project”--that will seek to equip Christian organizations with scientifically-informed and carefully crafted recommendations for strategic and constructive responses to changing religious dynamics.
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