Original Source: Regarding the “Done With Church” Buzz | Dan Dailey’s Blog
Sept 30th/15 Note: I’ve since recorded an episode of the Fire On Your Head podcast with Dan Dailey, the author of the original post I responded to today. You are heavily encouraged to check out that conversation, especially if you have an hour and forty minutes to spare.
I saw this one pop up in my Facebook newsfeed fairly recently. Wayne Jacobson, host of The God Journey podcast shared it. Jacobson has long been a major figure in the discussion on organic Christianity.
In this article by Dan Dailey, he categorizes the types of blog posts and online articles that discuss the “dones” phenomenon into two categories:
- The bait and switch where people mischaracterize the local church with the Body of Christ and insist that if you care about the body of Christ, you’ll stick around in the church institution as though that’s the same thing.
- The other category being that those who leave the system are clearly wrong, with no possibility of even attempting to understand why. They’re just written off.
I dealt with both of these issues, especially of definitions and motives, in my previous post Are Millennials Leaving The Church or Just Our Definition of it?
I discussed it at length with NorthWest Prophetic in our podcast we recorded a few months ago about how it’s not just a millennial thing, but many older people who’ve spent decades as faithful service attenders are leaving in droves as well.
Unwillingness to Ask Questions
I think Dan hits the nail on the head when he says,
The prevailing attitude I’ve personally encountered is a total unwillingness to entertain questions about the value of our traditions. The Bible says little (and often nothing at all) of buildings, programs, offering plates, or hierarchy among believers, yet these things are too often treated as untouchable sacraments given to us by God himself.
Those that have stopped attending a church are seen as people that either need to be prayed for or guarded against. Some authors talk about them as though they are a disease in need of earlier diagnoses before it’s too late to stop them from leaving. “Solutions” to fix them are offered left and right, but it seems impossible to find an author willing to grant enough respect to entertain that perhaps those who leave are actually seeing something they can’t.
Isn’t this true? I mean, do you remember how the internet collectively pooped a dictionary sideways when Don Miller published a blog saying he didn’t attend Sunday morning meetings anymore and he was doing just fine?
And later on Dan goes on to continue,
There is so much fear being expressed about what’s happening, but fear shows only a lack of faith. Isn’t God in control? Hasn’t he said of his bride that the gates of hell would not prevail against her? I would remind those looking for solutions that if they are truly executing the plans of God then there is absolutely no need to fear. The present matter will be a memory before long and things can get back to business as usual.
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
As I’ve stated before and will repeat here, many people who have left the church aren’t doing so because they’ve lost their faith, but because it’s how they feel they can protect their faith.
I conclude with Wayne Jacobsen’s words on a recent Finding Church article,
Don’t glory in your church attendance, and certainly don’t glory in being a “Done.” Let’s realize that those designations mean nothing. The only thing that matters is the new creation and how we love one another even though we may live in different expressions of that family. For too long we’ve changed the language of God’s kingdom, for a preoccupation with human systems we’ve called churches, whether or not they reflect his glory or incubate his community. We need less preoccupation with “church” and far more on Jesus and his kingdom.
Let’s get on with making disciples and spreading the Kingdom of God, regardless of the exact pattern we do it in.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already listened to it, check out a discussion I had with Dr Stephen Crosby last year on whether church attendance is really necessary.