Church leaders, as frustrating as remote ministry may be, the anxiety many Americans are experiencing, coupled with their need to stave off boredom with digital content, presents you the best chance to connect with people who aren’t yet part of your church. God still does cause all things to work for the good of those who love Him and who are seeking to accomplish His purposes in redeeming the world — keep reading!

There’s a growing segment of the American population that self-identify as “done” with church. For the most part, these are people of faith who are finding the exit doors of the church in increasing numbers each year. They don’t have feelings of anger, bitterness, or hostility when they think about church — they’ve simply decided that affiliation with a local church has become irrelevant and unimportant.

So what can the church do to stem the tide of people walking away from God and the church? Isn’t everyone important? Let’s lay aside the Great Commission for a moment and think about the implications of Christians leaving the church. The Apostle Paul compared the church to a body, made up of interdependent parts that need one another to function properly (see 1 Corinthians 12:12–31).

Stay with me for a moment: imagine how poorly a body would function without a foot, two legs, a liver, and a brain. Sounds kind of sad (and super gross), but you get the idea–we need each other!

With that in mind, here are a couple of ways we can do to help re-connect the “dones”:

Pray.

OK, this seems kind of obvious, but if we’re lamenting the fact that people have walked away from the church, imagine the sadness God must feel when His children no longer want to be with Him. God wants the relationship restored even more than we do! Spend time praying that God will open doors for interaction and relationship.

Listen.

As I’ve studied Jesus’ interactions with people, He didn’t spend His time issuing decrees and commandments. Most often, He asked questions and He listened to their responses. Seek to build a relationship by asking questions and listening.

Don’t condemn.

It’s no surprise that some people feel the church is a gathering place for the mean-spirited and judgmental. Let’s help correct that perception by avoiding condemnation in our interactions. What does that sound like? Well, if you find yourself using words like “heathen,” “sinner,” “reprobate,” or “backslider,” you’re probably doing it wrong. Let’s leave the job of transformation to God!

Own our shortcomings.

Let’s admit the obvious — we’re imperfect people who live in a fallen world, but we serve a perfect God. It’s our goal to become more like Him every day. Sure, we’ll hit some bumps along the way, but we’re going to strive to live for God’s agenda and not our own.

Offer multiple entrance ramps.

Maybe the intimate setting of a small group Bible study is the best place for someone to re-engage in the church, or perhaps they prefer to blend in with a larger (digital!) crowd at the Sunday morning worship service. Getting to know a person’s personality will go a long way to help you discover the best point of entry, but the best thing you can do is to be right beside them whenever they decide to return.

Lastly, if you’re someone who has decided to be done with church, please hear the heart behind this post. You are missed, and you are loved. Please forgive us where we have failed to represent and serve God well. I hope you’ll walk with us as we try, every day, to become more like Jesus.

I’ll never stop praying for you!

“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Colossians 4:5–6 NLT


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