In his popular podcast “The Briefing,” Albert Mohler recently analyzed U.S. Census data and other polling information now available concerning faith and religion. He noted, “The big story of the last 30 years or so consistently has been the rise of the nones, N-O-N-E-S. Those who check the box ‘none,’ as in no religious identification.”
Another big story to observe is a trend among people who were reached for Christ, attended church but no longer do. A pastor described this group as the “dones.”
There are many people who today feel “done” with church. A recent article by Lifeway Christian Resources reported that, “On average, U.S. Protestant churches report current attendance at 85% of their typical Sunday morning crowds in January 2020, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
‘Losing the reached’
Somehow we have come to a place in the church today in which we are losing the reached.
With the phrase “losing the reached,” I, of course, am not saying that saved people are losing their salvation.
Instead, I refer to those Christian believers who have dropped out of church.
This phenomenon of church attenders dropping out has happened with regularity among young people, with an estimated two-thirds of young adults who attend church for at least a year in high school will stop attending church regularly for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22.
But we are seeing something new: we are seeing people of all ages simply check out.
It’s possible COVID closures broke people of the good habit of going to church (Heb. 10:25); or religious scandals have turned the “dones” off to organized Christianity.
It’s also possible a bad personal experience has become a barrier to attending.
The church needs the ‘dones’
Whatever the case, the “dones” need the church, and the church needs them.
Pastors and church members must reckon with this trend of the “dones” and prayerfully seek the Lord in how we can best reach them.
The recent Oklahoma Baptists’ Advance Conference talked about the link between evangelism and discipleship, and that holds the key to reaching both the “nones” and the “dones.”
Moreover, both groups want to and need to see Christians living with better moral integrity.
To that end, together let’s renew our focus and dedication to reach the “nones” and reach back out to the “dones” — so that people all over this nation and world may by won to the Lord Jesus, for His glory.