Saturday, January 10, 2015
Churchless: Understanding Today's Unchurched and How to Connect With Them by the Barna Group (Review)
Churchless people are all around us: among our closest loved ones, at our workplaces, in our neighborhoods. And more and more, they are becoming the norm: The number of churchless adults in the US has grown by nearly one-third in the past decade. Yet the startling truth is that many of these people claim they are looking for a genuine, powerful encounter with God—but they just don’t find it in church. What are they (or we) missing? How can we better reach out to them? What can we say or do that would inspire them to want to join a community of faith? Containing groundbreaking new research from the Barna Group, and edited by bestselling authors George Barna (Revolution) and David Kinnaman (You Lost Me), Churchless reveals the results of a five-year study based on interviews with thousands of churchless men and women. Looking past the surface of church attendance to deeper spiritual realities, Churchless will help us understand those who choose not to be part of a church, build trust-based relationships with them, and be empowered to successfully invite them to engage.
This was a very interesting nonfiction book about people who do not go to Church and why. I liked all the data the editors presented. The book features the results from years and years of interviews with thousands of men and women. I liked how they broke the book up with inserts of some of the questions they asked and the percentages of answers. It really opened my eyes. The authors figured out that Americans fall into one of four categories as it relates to their relationship to church :
1. The Actively Churched are those who attend church on a regular basis, meaning one a month or more.
2. The Minimally Churched are those who attend church services several times a year and whose attendance patterns are unpredictable.
3. The de-Churched are those who have been “churched” in the past but are now taking a break from the church. The authors discovered that this group is the fastest growing segment. (I am in this one currently.)
4. The Purely Unchurched are those who never attend a Christian worship service.
They ask them questions on different subjects like religion, behavior of church members, atheists, goals and morals. The subtitle is understanding today's unchurched and how to connect with them. The book did not go into great detail on the last part, connecting with unchurched. Some of the suggestions made were do not blind call and invite to church and tone down the advertising. Unchurched are more likely to attend if invited by a friend or see the church active in the community. I agree with them. I know that I personally would not go because of a phone call or advertisement. The church is made of people and to me the way the people act influences the most. Recommended to those curious about this topic and church leaders.
Review copy provided by Netgalley and Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.