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Faithful Futures
Sacred Tools for Engaging Emerging Generations
by Josh Packard, Ph.D.

Faithful Futures: Sacred Tools for Engaging Emerging Generations, addresses the urgent need to connect with Gen Z and Gen Alpha in faith-based contexts.


Drawing on fresh data and innovative practices, it offers a comprehensive guide for religious leaders to understand and engage these generations authentically.


As institutional trust declines and social media shapes young minds, traditional methods fall short. This book provides practical tools to build relational authority, foster belonging, and create meaningful faith conversations. 

Now more than ever, we must lead with relationships, not programs.  Faithful Futures offers a new way to approach emerging generations and new tools to get the job done.  

The more we try to rely on what life was like for us as teenagers, the more we find ourselves helplessly out of touch.  And the more we try to use the tools that adults used to reach us as teens, the more we struggle to make any kind of connection.

Table of Contents


Discover how understanding and engaging Gen Z and Gen Alpha requires a fresh approach, illustrated by a compelling story about the need for local guidance in unfamiliar settings.


Chapter 1: Gen Z and Gen Alpha

Uncover the unique life experiences and cultural contexts of Gen Z and Gen Alpha, emphasizing their diversity, shifting religious expressions, and the critical importance of belonging.


Chapter 2: Faith is a Conversation

Learn why faith is seen as an ongoing conversation rather than a static set of beliefs, and how to equip young people with the skills for lifelong, meaningful faith dialogues.


Chapter 3: A Disaffiliated World

Explore the phenomenon of disaffiliation among young people and the crucial role of relational authority in building trust and authentic relationships in a low-trust world.


Chapter 4: Belonging Precedes Believing

Understand why fostering a sense of belonging is essential for nurturing faith, especially in times of unprecedented loneliness, with practical steps for building connections.


Chapter 5: The Covid Effect

Examine the profound impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on young people’s mental health and faith formation, with strategies for supporting them through this unique historical moment.


Chapter 6: Growing Up Online

Analyze the effects of social media on young people’s development and faith lives, and gain insights into navigating the digital landscape for healthy and meaningful engagements.


Chapter 7: Micronarratives

Delve into the concept of micronarratives—small personal stories that reflect larger cultural trends—and how they can provide deep insights for religious leaders.

Dr. Josh Packard is the co-founder of Future of Faith and one of the foremost experts in the spiritual lives of American youth. He is an accomplished researcher in the sociology of religion and new forms of religious expression. He has authored numerous books and articles in both popular and academic outlets including Church Refugees: Sociologists reveal why people are DONE with church but not their faith and Meaning Making: 8 Values That Drive America’s Newest Generations. 

Josh was previously a professor, founding Executive Director of Springtide Research Institute and Vice President of Strategy with the National Catholic Educational Association.  He has a B.A. in English from Texas Lutheran University and Ph.D. in Sociology from Vanderbilt University.


He lives in Greeley, Colorado with his wife and teenage son where is quickly becoming the third best golfer in his family of three.  

About the Author

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