As many of you know, I retired from the pastorate in 2015, and have since started Rose Chapel Ministries (RCM). Among other things, RCM is reaching out to the “#NeverChurchAgain” folks, which often include “Nones.” Let me explain.
I received my license to preach in 1967, so that means that I have been a credentialed minister for over 49 years. That same year, LBJ was president, the USA had almost 500,000 troops in Viet Nam, Twiggy was laying the groundwork for the Kardashians, and anti-war rallies were rocking our nation.
In 1967, the Charismatic Movement was finding its’ feet in the denominational churches. Even the Catholic church was seeing a mighty Pentecostal move of God. Christian music was being changed by young musicians like Chuck Girard, Bill and Gloria Gaither, Terry Blackwood (The Imperials), and Al Green. The local church was being challenged to change to meet the new seekers of Truth. Many churches did not, and still have not, and others will not.
Since the 60’s, the church world has experienced the Jesus Music revolution, high-profile scandals, fallen evangelists, the prosperity Gospel, chorus worship, body ministry, extreme busing, leg-lengthening, the Decade of the Harvest, the Brownsville revival, Heaven’s Gates-Hell’s Flames, the Toronto outpouring, the seeker sensitive model, the Purpose Driven church, the Emerging church, the Gaither Reunion series, nationwide church franchises, multi-site congregations, the authentic church, the transparent church, banner waving, praise dancing, smoke machines, the homogenous church, the heterogeneous church, and more. Believe me, many of these church experiences were seedbeds for “Nones” to grow.
Fast forward to 2016. It would appear that the local church is again facing massive change. Where we once had many Christian government officials, and a conservative Supreme Court, that has diminished. Where school district schedules once respected church services on Sundays and Wednesdays, many no longer do. Church attendance does not seem to be a priority, even among Evangelicals.
According to a poll by the Pew Research Center (08/23/16), only 27% of Americans say they attend religious services at least once or twice per month. One in five adults who once attended services, now rarely do, and are classified as “Nones,” because they choose no religious affiliation. 20% of the “Nones” who were raised in a religion, now say that they distrust or dislike their former group and avoid religion in general. Many “Nones” are now “#NeverChurchAgain” folks.
The “Nones” have become my primary target, and they are not hard to find. If you ask them about church attendance, they will usually say that they were raised in a known religion, but are no longer involved. Many had a dust-up with a pastor or church board. For others, they committed sins that filled them with shame, and going to church makes them feel guilty. It is not uncommon to find that “Nones” are children of former church leaders. Their folks may have been saintly at church but demons at home. Still others saw the church hurt someone they loved, and that ended their interest in church. There are many and varied reasons “Nones” use to explain their situation. Usually, they simply need to confess, repent, and renew their relationship with Jesus. That’s where I come in. I look for openings, opportunities to love them back to Jesus.
You see, they still have pressing needs like weddings, funerals, counseling, hospital and hospice visits, family troubles, employment issues, and so much more. In their heart, they know the right way. In times of stress, grief, loss, and trauma, they will reach out (hopefully) for a trusted friend to speak into their lives. Now word is getting around that Dave is available to help. That’s what I am doing. I never charge them for any of my services because money is often a flashpoint.
Your prayerful support is appreciated. A few good friends have made a monthly financial commitment to help support the outreach of the Rose Chapel Ministry. Others send an offering as they can. Any help is appreciated.
Help me reverse the “#NeverChurchAgain”attitude, and love the “Nones” back to Jesus! (Proverbs 11:30)