Guest Post: Are we done?

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In recent weeks a lot of digital ink has been spent discussing an emerging demographic in Christianity.  A growing number of believers are walking away from their local churches. But these are not people only nominally involved with their local church. These aren’t “pew warmers”. They aren’t people abandoning their faith. They are the people who are often the most involved attendees and some of the most generous givers. I’ve asked my friend, Stacy, to share his thoughts on the emerging demographic being labeled the “dones.” 

Stacy Tyson is General Director and Teacher of Truth Seekers Fellowship. He is husband to Jill and father to Hannah and Sara Michal. They live in Memphis, TN.

The fact that they are calling this group the “dones” is very telling. What’s being said is very interesting and is stirring up the right issues. Church has become more about what we “do” and growing numbers of people have had enough. Most modern churches are very consumer-oriented, which ultimately leads to everyone being dissatisfied and even those who serve on church staffs getting consumed.

A big part of this is related to a shift in our identity as Christians. We don’t go to church, we are the church. When “church” is taken on as our identity it changes the fundamental way we think about everything. What has happened with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill ought to be a real wakeup call, but I don’t think it will be. The Lord is shaking things up to free us all from our idolatry of men and institutions in order to prepare us for the hard days ahead. I have been “done” with simply going to church for years; this past year I let go of a Sunday school class I had been teaching for nine years and we have just moved on.

I don’t know what we are going to do yet, but I just cant do the “show” anymore. I don’t know what’s coming next, but I believe that what these articles are pointing to is a growing number of people who may be freed up to pursue a simpler, more effective and fruitful form of being disciples and being THE Church.

For further reading on the “dones” check out the articles The Rise of “The Dones” and On Leaving Church.

3 thoughts on “Guest Post: Are we done?

  1. We are the church, but we don’t act like what the Bible describes the church is called to be. Even down to which local expression of the Body of Christ we join ourselves, most of us miss God’s will. Paul tells us we are to be *placed* in the Body of Christ. That tells me that Father has a directive for each believer as to which congregation He wants us to engage. Instead, most Christians pick a church by location, worship style, popular pastor, kids programs, size, or some other criteria not related to Father’s placement of the believer. How can we expect to reflect Christ’s Body if its so many of its members are not even jointed where they are supposed to be. Obviously, there are many other issues that could be addressed, but I believe this is one of the root issues.

  2. The church is not done; it is the Bride of Christ. But droves of people are leaving the Apparent Church. Churches that promote themselves as innovative and socially just, who want to reach the unchurched. By every appearance, they are what the unaffiliated were looking for. Outwardly, they seem to be difference-making in their carefully crafted messages and foci; but inwardly, they are still just market-driven entities designed to feed their bottom line: nickels and noses. Once an individual realizes he is just a nickel or a nose, he checks out; and sadly, is not missed. They have found another nose for that spot. People are captivated, but not transformed. When no one comes looking for them (the nickel-nosers are satisfied with all the new nickel-noses that are coming and accept a few losses, and their fellow nickel-noses are still mesmerized by the charade), they become disillusioned by their experience. They exchange their pain of false community with the relative dullness of individuality. Why risk vulnerability if intimacy cannot be found in church?

    There are indeed a number of churches that God is done with, or will be soon. It’s obvious that He will soon be done with the most prominent nation on earth that was consecrated to Him at its birth, but is now done with Him. The velocity of America’s slide lends evidence to the theory that our modern approach to church is not sustainable. We have substituted strategic planning for prayer. That’s the way to build a Fortune 500 company, not an Acts 2 church.

    I have found myself in a more established congregation. It is not chained down to its tradition, but it is not about the more socially accepted trends. Its foundation is prayer. And although it certainly feels like “church,” it feels authentic. People are never “done” with authenticity.

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