Based in the idea that social phenomena are best studied through the lens of different disciplinary perspectives, Empty Churches studies the growing number of individuals who no longer affiliate with a religious tradition. Co-editors Jan Stets, a social psychologist, and James Heft, a historian of theology, bring together leading scholars in the fields of sociology, developmental psychology, gerontology, political science, history, philosophy, and pastoral theology.
The scholars in this volume explore the phenomenon by drawing from each other's work to understand better the multi-faceted nature of non-affiliation today. They explore the complex impact that non-affiliation has on individuals and the wider society, and what the future looks like for religion in America. The book also features insightful perspectives from parents of young adults and interviews with pastors struggling with this issue who address how we might address this trend. Empty Churches provides a rich and thoughtful analysis on non- affiliation in American society from multiple scholarly perspectives. The increasing growth of non-affiliation threatens the vitality and long-term stability of religious institutions, and this book offers guidance on maintaining the commitment and community at the heart of these institutions.