The Crisis in the Church – the Growing Trend of the Unchurched Christian

The Crisis in the Church – the Growing Trend of the Unchurched Christian

It’s been undenyable that the church has been changing in the last fifty years. penticostal and charismatic churches have continued to grow while the mainstream churches have battled with ageing congregations and dwindling numbers world wide.

Churches have changed. There’s been the introduction of amplified music and, heaven forbid, DRUMS but the change has been what was needed to bring the younger demographic running to the churches in droves. A church service became a high tech theater production with tv screens colored lights and pa systems suitable for a Stones concert.

Then something started to happen. People started to look for something more. It was easy to get lost in the large congregation. Turning up at church satisfied the mental and moral obligation but inside hearts were craving relationships with people who shared like minds.

Introduce… the home church. A place where people could meet in small numbers and although it was formatted like the larger meetings there was an opportunity to talk and build relationships to some degree. Normally the format followed a church service with some worship, a Bible study and a discussion followed by a time of fellowship. But something else was happening.

For a number of years there has been a slow but undeniable trend appearing where people just don’t go to church at all. People are finding that they have a deep relationship with God in their own lives and want to work it out in their own way. They don’t want to be told when to sit and when to stand or what they will study tonight but rather want to walk the walk and talk the talk at their own pace.

Others of like mind are sought out and informal meetings happen over barbeques and coffees, at lunches and other gatherings that have started to mimic the pattern of the new testament church in the book of Acts. These people don’t compromise. The are walking their faith walk at their own pace and they are seriously real about who they are and where they are with their God. There is an inherent part of them that is displayed to all. An inherent Christian… Something intrinsically different. You can tell that they are a believer by what they say and do, not just on Sundays but every day of their lives.

Books have started to document the trend. People like George Barna in “Revolution” and Jake Coleson in “So you don’t want to go to church anymore” have identified the movement and tried to define what’s happening and while they have grasped a part of it, this wave is still building momentum.

So where will it end? That question I cannot answer, but I know I’m enjoying the ride.

Kenn Bacon is a Director of the Inherent Church and Apostles-today. Founders of a number of ministries including Crossworks and Church in the park, Kenn and Lee have been ministers for over 15 years.

‘Back to Church’ Campaign to Woo ‘De-churched’ and ‘Un-churched’

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) August 6, 2009

As millions of Americans head back to school, organizers of a new faith-based outreach campaign hope that millions more will come back to church as well.

The “Back to Church Sunday” campaign (Back to Church Sunday Website) from San Diego-based Outreach Inc. makes it easy for church members to invite their friends and family by creating a worship service specifically geared toward visitors.

The program kicks off with national “Back to Church Sunday” on Sept.13 aimed at reaching the “un-churched” and “de-churched”- people who used to go to church, but don’t any more.

The campaign is based on a simple idea. If you ask un-churched people to come with you to church-mostly likely they’ll say yes.

LifeWay Research, (Lifeway Research) an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, found that 82 percent of un-churched people surveyed said that they’d be open to visit a church, if a friend or family member invited them.

Unfortunately, said Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay, few church members invite their friends and neighbors. “Only two percent of church members invite an un-churched person to church,” he says. “Ninety-eight percent of churchgoers never extend an invitation in a given year.”

While most Americans say they believe in God, and many tell pollsters that they attend church regularly, only about 20 percent of Americans actually show up in church on Sunday, according to the “The American Church in Crisis,” a recent study of church attendance.

Organizers say most people who drop out of church haven’t lost their faith in God. Instead, they fell out of the habit of churchgoing. Some moved or had another change in life circumstances, or had a falling out with their former church and simply drifted away. Most often, life simply became too busy.

That means they are open to returning to church.

“Many de-churched people are a simple re-invitation away,” says Mark Batterson, of the National Community Church in Washington, D.C.

Inviting newcomers is only part of the campaign. The other part is getting the church ready for them to show up. Outreach has put together several tools to help churches prepare for visitors.

A free downloadable planning guide offers advice on everything from sermon planning to instructions for greeters. Churches are asked to plan for the program and to make sure their buildings are visitor friendly. They’re also encouraged to pay attention to small details-like clear signage and clean bathrooms-that are important to visitors.

“When people come to church for the first time, or come back after a long absence, they notice everything,” says Nelson Searcy, lead pastor of The Journey in New York City. “In fact, most of them form innate judgments about the environment within seven seconds of walking through the door.”

Organizers point out that returning to church is a process. “Rebuilding trust with this group is essential, and building trust requires authenticity and consistency,” says the campaign-organizing guide. “Otherwise, your returning guests may feel that you have tried a ‘bait and switch.'”

Along with the campaign planning guide and an interactive Facebook page (Back to Church Facebook Page), Outreach has put together a “Rethink Church” booklet, addressing the 10 top reasons why people drop out of church, along with videos, articles and other resources. The booklet addresses common objections such as, “I don’t believe in organized religion,” “Church is boring,” and “Christians are judgmental and hypocritical.”

“Back to Church Sunday has the potential to be a day that changes the future course of someone’s life,” says Chad McCallum, lead pastor of Compass Church in Byron Center, Mich. “In a world where so many people fall into the definition of ‘de-churched,’ this is a doable effort for any church that wants to reach more people for Christ.”

Outreach, Inc. (Outreach Inc. Website) is the largest provider of outreach products and services in North America, including “Outreach” magazine, the most-read pastor’s magazine in the world. The company was launched with the mission of empowering Christian churches to reach their communities for Jesus Christ. Outreach, Inc. endeavors to create a network of churches and ministries working together to invite and connect every person in America to a Bible-believing church and ultimately into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.