People are abandoning our religious institutions in droves. In the last few decades sixty-five million Americans who once attended a local church, no longer do. About half of those no longer self-identify as Christian, but over thirty-one million still do and are seeking a more relevant faith beyond Sunday-morning Christianity.
What do we make of this exodus and how will it affect the future of the church? Does it portend the end of Western Christianity? Wayne Jacobsen doesn’t think so. Having met with thousands of people around the world who are done with religious institutions, he is more hopeful than ever that this phenomenon might help revitalize the church Jesus is building.
Whether you attend a local church or you’re done with it, how we respond will have repercussions for generations to come. This is our opportunity to embrace God’s work in a wider way than any single institution can contain.
In the last few decades sixty-five million Americans who once regular attended a local congregation, no longer do. About thirty-five million of those no longer self-identify as Christian, but over thirty-one million still do. This last group has been tagged “The Dones”, those who still seek to follow Jesus and find real community but have given up hope that the local congregation is still relevant to their journey.
What do we make of this phenomenon? As one who has spent twenty years helping people explore the life of Jesus beyond our conformity-based systems, here are some of my thoughts about helping people explore relationship with God and his people beyond our conformity based systems and how we might participate in this conversation in a way that champions the unity of all of God’s family.
This book is adapted from blog postings I wrote form 2015-2017 that grew out of conversations I had in my many travels with people around the world who are dealing with these same realities. One thing is clear: people are abandoning organized religion in droves. Does that threaten the future of God’s work in our world, or does it open new opportunities for the God’s live to grow beyond our expectations?
Whether or you attend a local church or whether you don’t, responding to this phenomenon will have repercussions for generations to come. We can respond as we have for centuries in a way that further fractures our Father’s family, or we can embrace our Father in all the ways he works to bring people to himself and transforms them in his love.