I am one of the unChurched. I’m also a little bit of the agnostic these days. But I don’t like most churches.
One reason is: most churches are too marriage and kid focused.
If you are in your early 40s and have never married or had a kid, such as me, churches do not feel welcoming. They feel alien, lonely, and strange.
I have other reasons I hate church now, but that is one of them.
Churches are completely irrelvant and even hostile to someone in my life stage, in my particular situation, with my needs. Some Christians, though, will go so far as to judge you and shame you and tell you it’s not okay to expect to have your needs meet at church – you’re supposed to attend church strictly out of obedience or something, to which I respond, “Up yours.”
I am a human being. I do have needs. That is never going to change. I cannot stuff my needs down and attend a weekly service out of mere obedience, or do all the giving while other members do all the taking.
While I don’t advocate that Christians all become as narcissistic as the Millennials, many of whom expect church to be 100% about them all the time, in every case, churches do nothing to help older never- married adults, even when they are confronted about it.
Here are a few links about the Unchurched.
This first page is interesting in that it points out that many of the unchurched are Christians, but its solution to those who have been hurt by churches is dismal, naive, and simplistic: it says for you to just forgive those church people that hurt you and return to church again. -Uh, no.
(Link): Millions of Unchurched Adults Are Christians Hurt by Churches But Can Be Healed of the Pain
I don’t know if I agree with this guy’s solution but his description of the problem is fairly spot on:
(Link): Why You’re Not Reaching the Unchurched
(Link): Myths About The Unchurched
I don’t know if I’m in complete agreement with all the points on this list – this guy seems more to want to blame the un-churched more than caring about how churches can change to draw them back in:
(Link): 10 Reasons We Have Not Reached the Unchurched
(Link): Number of Unchurched Adults Has Nearly Doubled Since 1991
(Link): 15 Characteristics of Today’s Unchurched Person
The guy who wrote that page, which I pretty much agree with, linked to (Link): this one on his blog, where I disagree with point six, which reads:
- 6. Kids begging their parents to go to church beats parents begging their kids to go to church. Invest in your family ministry environments. Chad Ward, UpStreet director at one of the North Point campuses shared this. So true. Get the kids, and you’ve got the parents.
No, no, no! Most churches already cater to people under the age area of 25 – 30. It is unwise to try to capture adults by going after their kids.
Rates of singleness and childlessness have increased in the church, but churches have not caught on to this. They keep chasing after the nuclear family, a tactic which excludes the never married adults, the childless married couples, the widows, the divorced and homosexuals who are trying to stay celibate. See my previous post: (Link): I Don’t Care That The Millennials Are Leaving Church
Getting the church “kid friendly” usually means hiring a rock band and a preacher who has a goatee, wears skinny jeans, and a church that has a coffee shop, or, to get the even younger kids, the church has to construct a big indoor skating rink, install an indoor carousel, etc.
Appealing to kids usually means doing the very things that are driving away the 20-somethings and older adults: dumbing down sermons and ignoring the unmarried adults who are age 30+. That causes the adults to cease church attendance. Trying to entice kids to show up to church is a small part of what drives the idiotic “seeker friendly” movement.
(Link): Charting the unchurched in America
(Link): Churches transforming to meet the needs of a growing ‘unchurched’ population
Contra Rosebrough ((Link): here), churches today truly are irrelevant, and it’s not just “Jesus hating, sin loving” people who feel this way, but actual regenerated, born again, Bible- believing Christians.
Just because someone accepts Christ as Savior and hates sin and loves God and is “born from above” does not mean they are going to embrace church – Rosebrough of all people should know this because on his radio show he regularly criticizes the shallow preaching of seeker friendly churches with their weird entertainment, circus-like atmosphere.
Churches are meaningless at providing true community for people, at helping them in practical matters.
I was a devout, conservative Christian since childhood, until recently.
I am a right wing Republican, and a biblical literalist. I reject liberalism in politics and in theology, but it is true that churches are not relevant.
I’m not a Star-Bucks- coffee- drinking, liberal, hipster saying that, I’m a right wing conservative, who up until about a year ago was a genuine full on Christian, telling you church these days is a FAIL.
Here’s a quote from the page (also hosted here: (Link): New Pira Survey Reveals Real Reasons The Unchurched Don’t Attend Church ):
- Said Rosebrough, “The results of this Biblical survey make it undeniably clear that the only way you could make church ‘relevant’ to a non-Christian would be to give them what they want i.e. sin, idolatry, false doctrine, fleshly delights, and worldly entertainment.
But when you bring those things into the church then your church ceases to be a church and just becomes a popular entertainment venue with a thin Christian-ish veneer.
And, since unbelievers hate God, they’ll leave as soon as you try to confront them with their sins or try to make Jesus and Him crucified the true center of the church service.
The reason for this is that the unchurched don’t want to have anything to do with the One True God. They hate Him and the cross is foolishness to them!
I guess that’s why regeneration is so important. Because if you haven’t been born again then there is no way you’re going to think that church is relevant.”
It’s not just the un-saved who find church irrelevant these days, it’s true born- again believers who also find it irrelevant.
It does not necessarily follow that if someone really, really loves Jesus and is “saved,” that she will love attending a brick building called a church every week.
I mention this because I’ve seen Christians online make this argument. These naive fools actually believe if someone is really, truly saved that he or she will be chomping at the bit to attend church each Sunday and love it, love it, love it, and nothing could drag them away from attending a church service.
But there are “regenerate” and “born again” believers who hate church or dislike it, so they stay away.
Particularly when services at that church and its members don’t try to help that person, or cater to her needs, but expect her only to care about helping to achieve the pastor’s “vision,” or volunteering in church nursery (when she has no interest in kids), or in packing rice meals up for African orphans.
I’m an unmarried woman. Every sermon I ever hear is about marriage.
The married people at church never ask how they can meet the needs of the singles.
I wouldn’t mind helping other people, (I’ve done so before), but while churches expect me to help THEM (or African orphans), they try to shame me or judge me if I go to them with MY needs asking for help FOR ME. I see Christians shaming and judging other Christians all the time online for this.
I’ve seen several annoying posts by Christians (usually preachers) who address people such as myself (the unmarried who feel forgotten by churches) by saying things such as, “church is not about you,” or the cliche’ “you go to church to serve not be served.” And it’s that very attitude, lack of understanding and a lack of compassion, that keeps me away from church (as well as other reasons).
(Link): Number of unchurched in U.S. growing (July 20, 2012)
Related post this blog:
(Link): Southern Baptist’s New Sexist “Biblical Womanhood” Site – Attitudes in Total Face Palm of a Site One Reason Among Many This Unmarried and Childless Woman Is Saying Toodle-Oo to Christianity
2 thoughts on “The Unchurched”
For many years I have given up on “worship services” and decided to find small Sunday School classes where all can participate and engage in discussion (usually about a biblical text). After class, I leave, even if others keep inviting me to join them for the “main event.” I also prefer home bible studies and house churches. Yet many of those in all of these “formats” are still captivated by trivial pursuits.
That sounds like a good compromise. I hope you find a church that works out for you. Thank you for visiting the blog and leaving a comment.
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