Mike Hayes is the co-founder of Busted Halo, the celebrated national ministry and media network for hundreds of thousands of young adults, and is the author of Googling God: The Religious Landscape of People in their 20s and 30s (Paulist, 2007) which has become the standard manual for people who minister to this age group. His daily blog googlinggod.com is popular among people of all ages.
Mike has a Master's Degree in Religious Education from Fordham University. He has served as President of the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association, Board Member and Project Manager at the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University, and as a consultant to dioceses.
He and his family live in Buffalo where Mike is the Campus Minister at St. Joseph University Parish and SUNY Buffalo's South Campus as well as a retreat director for the national Charis Ministries, a Jesuit ministry to those in their 20s and 30s.
Mike Hayes was born in 1938 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Mahidol University, Thailand.
Reviews - What do customers think about Googling God: The Religious Landscape of People in Their 20s and 30s?
A Must-Have Feb 18, 2008
Absolutely fantastic reading. Thank you for the time spent writing this book, it's a must have guide for those working for the good of all those young people out there.
Very Informative Jan 1, 2008
This book is directed primarily at those attempting to organize Catholic youth ministries, but it's a very insightful read for anyone involved in recruiting or organizing youth groups (religious or otherwise) at all. Mr. Hayes draws on his many years of personal experience with younger Catholics to identify a wide variety of interesting Gen X and Millennial profiles. He sheds light on much of the outdated logic or group think which has lead to the declining numbers of younger Catholics who are actively involved in organized church events/activities. He also provides us with many helpful suggestions on how to appeal to both Gen Xers and Millennials. The last chapter of the book gives step by step directions on how to organize and get your message through to today's young adults. The easy to follow directions make you feel as though you're reading one of those "For Dummies" books. Overall, this is an excellent resource for anyone who's looking to recruit and organize younger people of faith. Many older church organizers would be well advised to read this book.
Engaging and informative Nov 26, 2007
This is a highly readable, informative, balanced book. I'm picky about books on this topic; many of them lump all young adults together into the same category. I appreciate how this book acknowledges the different types of young adults (those who focus on social justice, those who are drawn to the sacraments, etc.) and offers concrete ways to minister to them. It's a wonderful read for those who minister to young adult Catholics, as well as anyone who is curious about how the "younger generations" of Catholics experience their faith.
Another unique feature of this book is the middle section, which offers in-depth profiles of a sampling of young adults. I'm someone who is fascinated by others' experiences of faith, so this section was a real treat. It's also a great way to put a "face" on the ideas discussed throughout the book.
One last reason I enjoyed this book: when I was getting my teaching credential, one of my professors told us to think about past teachers we'd had, and the teaching methods they'd used that had worked for us. She then told us that we needed to learn how to teach in a way that was totally the opposite of that. Her point was that kids learn in a variety of different ways, and that if we fixate only on the methods that worked for us, we won't reach a huge number of our students. This book makes the same point with regards to faith. Everyone engages with their faith in a different way, and if we want to effectively minister to young adults, we need to provide a variety of ways for them to connect with their faith community (sponsoring all-night Adoration, organizing volunteer trips to the soup kitchen, etc.). That's such a crucial message, and this book does a great job of communicating it.
National Catholic Reporter Oct 11, 2007
Young adults' search for God Reviewed by ERIN RYAN, National Catholic Reporter
These days, there seems to be a lot of discussion in church circles about how young people are the future of the church and a lot of consternation about what Catholics can do to bring them in. However, most church ministry programs for young people tend to focus on teenagers or children. Two recent books speak to the young adults in our midst.
In his book for youth ministers, Googling God: The Religious Landscape of People in their 20s and 30s, author Mike Hayes makes it clear that young adults are more than just the church's "future." They are the church now.
Mr. Hayes is the associate director of Paulist Young Adult Ministries and the managing editor and cofounder of the savvy bustedhalo.com Web site for Catholics in their 20s and 30s. His book provides a close look at young adults in two specific generations: those in the often cynical, questioning "Generation X," defined here as people born between 1964 and 1979, and "Millenials," defined as people born after 1980, who are more often concerned with rules and order.
In Part One of Googling God, Mr. Hayes, who says he belongs to Generation X, explores how these two generations have been shaped by events in the world around them. Then, taking a cue from Mary Anne Reese in America and a symposium paper by Fr. Jim Bacik, he offers seven classifications or orientations that can be applied to young adult Catholics: eclipsed, private, ecumenical, evangelical, prophetic, sacramental and communal.
Part Two of Googling God contains interviews with 12 young men and women ages 22 to 39, six in each of the two generations. Most are practicing Catholics, but some have stopped going to church. Some grew up in traditional ethnic Catholic families such as Hispanic or Filipino households; others grew up in ecumenical families that practiced different religious traditions. Many people who cross over the "evangelical" category, say, are looking for emotional experiences in their worship: "God often is so far removed from young adult life that they long for opportunities where they can see, feel, taste and smell the very fervor of religion," says Mr. Hayes, who points out the importance of following up these experiences with solid church teachings and guidance from ministers.
In Part Three of Googling God, Mr. Hayes gives practical advice about methods of doing ministry and resources for further reading. He also stresses the importance of using technology, especially the Internet, and gives tips on how to start your own Web page, which every church should have, he says, in the age of Google search engines and instantaneous answers.
Mr. Hayes also notes that all the young adults he interviewed wish for "a more collaborative dialogue between the church and young adults," and that whether they are from Steubenville or from a Jesuit parish in New York, they tend to think beyond "liberal" or "conservative" categories. And from the interviews, it is clear that while their approaches to life are diverse, each young person has clearly given a lot of thought to the spiritual questions he or she has faced.
"God, for me, is like someone who's already up when you've come downstairs in the morning and you're stumbling to get that cup of coffee and he's already there with his," says 24-year-old Jeff G. "And you sit on the front porch in a rocking chair and the sun is just starting to rise over the horizon and he says, `It's a beautiful sunrise!' And I say, `Yeah.' And that's it."
It's hard to think of a more personal description of the divine than that.
Another book, Blessed Are the Bored in Spirit: A Young Catholic's Search for Meaning, is aimed toward young adults themselves. Author Mark Hart, vice president of the youth ministry LIFETEEN, leads conferences and retreats for teens and adults and is also author of Ask the Bible Geek: Answers to Questions from Catholic Teens.
Mr. Hart stresses on his first page that he is a "postmodern Catholic" and invites young people to delve more deeply into church teachings they may not understand. But while Mr. Hayes advised ministers to listen to young adults first and then explain church teaching within the complexity of their lives, Mr. Hart sees the situation a little differently. "The pews are emptying because the truth of Christ has been forfeited, too often, on altars of conformity, funded by the court of comfort and public opinion," Mr. Hart writes in his introduction. And later he writes: "People who can put a probe on Mars, clone animals and solve the intimacy issues of 80-year-olds want to alleviate all mystery and end all pain. ... The reality is that life is filled with sin and suffering and there are two kinds of people: those who run from it and those who deal with it. Do yourself a favor and learn to deal with it."
Mr. Hart intends to help people deepen their faith and their awareness of God's love for them. He has some lovely things to say about seeing the life of faith as positive fulfillment in God rather than a set of rigid commands, especially in Chapter Five: "Reconciling Your Issues: Thinking Outside the Box." It's a matter of taste, though, whether you find humor in his pun-filled chapter titles like "When the Family Meal Leaves You with Heartburn" (about bad liturgies) or "Time to Exorcise" (after a discussion of vain gym rats) or "Discipleship 101: The One Elective Needed to Pass."
Unfortunately, in spite of what Mr. Hart says about his book being a look at the "modern spiritual journey," his puns and light personal narratives, alternating with a heavy advice-giving style, wind up making the book rather bland. Mr. Hart does throw in references to anime or " `The Karate Kid's' Mr. Miyagi," but too often they come off as strained attempts to be relevant or funny. There's much general discussion about such topics as how young people want to be good but like to have sex, or how this is a culture of death, or how Mass is dull, or how it's hard to corral the whole family to church on a Sunday morning. But the book would have been more helpful if Mr. Hart had discussed more specific, concrete incidents in his life and how he faced them rather than relying on distillations and themes.
Both authors both clearly have a lot of experience with young people, but by letting the young individuals speak for themselves, Mr. Hayes winds up with the more engaging book.
Erin Ryan is an NCR staff writer. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.