Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone (published in 1995) offered an eerie first glimpse at a changing America. The title came from a trend noticed by the owner of one of the largest bowling alley chains in America who told Putnam about the declining participation in bowling leagues. At the heart of Putnam’s study? “How we have become increasingly disconnected from one another and how social structures — whether they be PTA, church, or political parties — have disintegrated.”
Have you seen this in your area?
I connect Putnam’s research with my own anecdotal findings in communities across America where only a small percentage of residents have family nearby.
What’s your community like?
About six months ago I referenced the findings of a 2013 Barna study. There were a number of very interesting points, but two were very important for all of us to note:
- Ten years ago, 10% of Americans saw themselves as lonely. Today, that number has doubled.
- The desire to find a few good friends has also increased and in certain key demographics there has been an even larger increase.
Are you paying attention to the symptoms?
One of the most important societal/cultural shifts in our time is the absence of connection; the painfully absent sense of family.
When you think about your church, when you evaluate your small group ministry, have you built in steps that help meet this need? If you haven’t…you’re missing one of the most significant opportunities to connect people in our generation.
What do you think? Have a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.