Inviting young adults to be leaders

By Michael J. O’Loughlin

iStock_000008892948SmallRELIGION NEWS SERVICE — Over at Duke Divinity School’s Faith & Leadership, I write about the need to include young adults in positions of leadership in faith communities. From the essay:

Nowhere is the church’s “maturity” more evident than in communities of women religious, the Catholic nuns who are responsible for so much of the church’s good works. Today, the average age of a Roman Catholic sister in the United States is 74, The New York Times reports, and in many communities, it’s well into the 80s. Ordained Catholic priests are a bit younger, with an average age of 63 — but that’s up from 35 in 1970, and rising fast. Mainline Protestants — such as the United Methodist Church — are facing their own challenges, experiencing drops in vocations that keep pastors working longer into their later years.

But if the church is at the terminal end of the age spectrum, Silicon Valley, one of the most vibrant economic centers in our country, is at the other.

At Facebook, the median employee age is 28, the Times reports, while at Google it’s 29, and at AOL, 30. As Katie Bardaro, the lead economist at PayScale, told the Times, “The firms that are growing or innovating around new areas tend to have younger workers. Older companies that aren’t changing with the times get older workers.”

She could have been talking about the church. Apparently, like attracts like; vitality attracts vitality.

Check it out here.

Michael J. O’Loughlin writes about religion and politics from Washington, D.C., paying close attention to the role of the Catholic Church in public life. His writing has appeared in the Jesuit magazine America, on, and in Duke Divinity School’s Faith & Leadership.



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