Several days ago I shared a link to a blog post on my Facebook timeline titled, “The Rise of the ‘Done with Church’ Population” by Thom Schultz. The actual blog is at www.churchleaders.com.
At first I was surprised by some of the responses. Then my immediate response was “I’m not surprised.”
Rather than respond to everyone who’d commented on Facebook, I felt it better to respond here on my blog, so not to continue a long stream on Facebook. Then everyone who commented or clicked like on the original Facebook post won’t keep getting notifications.
In Thom Schultz’s article, he mentioned that the leavers (for lack of a better term) weren’t new Christians or new members of any certain church. These are people who are done with church, but NOT their faith.
They’re not finding another church somewhere else. The ones leaving are those who were active, doers, who volunteered regularly. As stated in Schultz’s blog, “the church is losing its best.”
After I shared this blog link on Facebook and read the responses, it was from people just like those described in the article. Strong, long-term, seasoned, passionate believers in Christ who are still strong believers in Christ.
I, too am a seasoned believer. I’ve always been involved at some level as a volunteer wherever I went to church. Since 1983, I’ve been a regular member (I don’t like that term, but don’t know what else to call it) in four churches; that’s four churches in 32 years. The prior three churches I attended have since split or simply dissolved.
I’ve been burned out, hurt, disappointed, disillusioned and misled. But I’ve also gained a family, incredible, lifelong friends, grown in my relationship with God, had opportunities to serve Him in various and exciting projects, felt connected and experienced true community. The local church and church at large, is comprised of imperfect people like me.
I’m guilty of pride, judging, partiality, people-pleasing and whatever else turns the unchurched off. I know I’m not alone in this. It’s shameful but true.
But laying my personal thoughts aside for now, in order to respond to this issue, I skimmed the Bible from Acts to 2 Peter, which is full of letters of instruction to the early churches.
We know about the first churches as described in Acts 2:42. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 5 has more about their growth and continuing in power in one accord.
In Romans 12:9-16, it’s clear how Christians are to behave and operate. I Corinthians 12 details spiritual gifts, talents and oneness, even in diversity in the body of Christ.
Much is mentioned in I Corinthians 14 about order in church meetings, focusing on edification.
First Timothy 3 details the qualifications of overseers (deacons and elders) in the churches.
Hebrews 10:24-25 reads, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
For the sake of time, I won’t elaborate because I need to read all this for myself. I encourage you to do the same. It’s clear though that God does have a purpose for His church.
Have we lost sight of His purpose for the church in America? I think we have. Yet, there is no perfect church or group of believers.
Personally, if I joined the “done” population, I’d miss terribly the fellowship I have with other believers. I need the accountability, friendships, companionship and support. We aren’t meant to do life alone.
It saddens me that the word “church” has become a bad word.
We have an enemy, the devil, satan. I feel sure that it’s his plan to dismantle the church one person at a time. The church is the very instrument God uses to reach the world.
What would happen to this world if we all became a member of the “done” population?
What we should do about this obvious growing issue, I don't know. Maybe what we're doing now.
Talking about it.
I'm still not ready to join the done population.
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