School of Music
Doctor of Philosophy
R. Scott Connell
woke, religion, secularization, LGBTQ+, abortion, green agenda, BLM, CRT, political ideology
Liturgy and Worship | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Widger, Brenda L., "Woke Religion: Effects of Secularism and Progressive Politics on 21st Century Mainline Churches as Demonstrated Through the Worship and Witness of College-Age Students" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4330.
This study examines the impact of Woke messages on young adults when delivered in church worship services and at youth events. A mixed methods research approach is employed, with quantitative data collected through an anonymous online survey and qualitative data gathered in a live focus group. The online survey responses and focus group discussion are coded and analyzed, providing a thorough presentation of the perceptions of all participants. Young adults are the future leaders of the Christian church. With so many churches moving toward welcoming or affirming stances on Woke ideology, the sermons delivered from the pulpit and the topics discussed at youth events impact student understanding and application of Scripture. The development of strong biblical knowledge is essential as students worship and as they witness to others. Pastors and youth leaders need to be aware of the importance they have on the spiritual development of young adults, and churches must retain traditional biblical values to ensure the spiritual growth of their congregations. Data analysis indicates a significant relationship between church messaging, worshipers' age, and attendance frequency at worship and youth events. This study offers a starting point for further research encompassing broader denominational representation. Additional insight could be gained by examining the effects of public versus private or home-schooled education at the primary and high school levels, as well as the geographical locations of the participants. As the landscape of Woke religion is continuously changing, and academic studies on the impact of this phenomenon are few, there is considerable opportunity for additional research on this topic.