Every now and then I ask myself, Why do we do church as we do at CrossHope Chapel? And then I read insights like these and find encouragement to stay the course in reaching the dechurched…
In 1965 Billy Graham wrote “Multitudes of Christians within the church are moving toward the point where they may reject the institution that we call the church. They are beginning to turn to more simplified forms of worship. They are hungry for a personal and vital experience with Jesus Christ. They want a heartwarming personal faith. Unless the church quickly recovers its authoritative Biblical message, we may witness the spectacle of millions of Christians going outside the institutional church to find spiritual food” World Aflame: The Inadequacy of Modern Religion, p. 87.
In 2005 George Barna reported “Well over 20 million have left the church to ‘go find God…The Revolutionary mind-set is simple: Do whatever it takes to get closer to God and to help others to do the same. Obliterate any obstacle that prevents you from honoring God with every breath you take. Be such an outstanding example of the Christian faith that no one will question your heart or lifestyle–except those who see institutional survival as equally or more important than the alleged influence of the institution they defend. Or, put more succinctly, the Revolution is about recognizing that we are not called to go to church. We are called to be the Church.” Revolution, p. 3.
Josh Packard in his new research suggests that of the 318 million people in America, approximately 104 million (33%) have left the church. In his 2015 book, Church Refugees: Sociologists Reveal Why People Are DONE With Church but Not Their Faith, co-written with Ashleigh Hope say “The dechurched tend to construct church alternatives through political and civic engagements, small groups or house churches, or informal but spiritually meaningful gatherings…As our society approaches a post-institutional era it’s entirely possible the near monopoly that the church has enjoyed over faithful expressions and religious connections may be coming to an end. The activities of the dechurched may be ushering in a new understanding of what religious activity means. If this trend continues, it will fundamentally reshape the way Americans experience organized religion” pp. 68-69.