Today I shared some interesting findings about people who have left the church. The response I received indicates that the findings are right on the money.
Josh Packard’s book Church refugees focussed on the significant number of people who are done with church, but not done with Jesus. Some of the key findings from the book were that:
“The Dones” say they left because of the judgmental posture of church people individually and collectively which assaulted the communal experience they longed for.
“The Dones” say they left because they are tired of trying to serve Jesus through the bureaucratic methods of church organizations which stifled progress and often gave little attention to what they cared for most. Many wished to build the Kingdom but were only offered opportunities to build someone’s church empire.
“The Dones” say they left because they want to answer questions about God through dialogue and struggle, not though prepackaged lectures and the predetermined positions of their community.
And “the Dones” say they left because their church only understood “morality” in terms of substance abuse and sexual activity with a common disregard to systemic issues of equality, poverty and unjust economics
I am increasingly convinced that we are reaching a tipping point.
The majority of followers of Jesus I talk to inside the church are just as concerned with the kinds of things that those who Packard calls “the Dones” name as their big questions.
What we call “church” has been shaped by all kinds of cultural influences. I don’t know many people who disagree with Priscilla Shirer:
“In the first century in Palestine, Christianity was a community of believers. Then Christianity moved to Greece and became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome and became an institution. Then it moved to Europe and became a culture. And then it moved to America and became a business. We need to get back to being a healthy, vibrant community of true followers of Jesus.”
I don’t think it is just me, I truly do think that the majority of church leaders are conscious of the gap between where their church is and what they long for. It’s just that there are not many viable models of church done differently. …