The Unchurched?

American churches are in a state of change. Churches are busily reinventing themselves to appeal to what has become known as "the unchurched." In earlier days we (like Jesus) divided humanity into "saved" and "lost" columns. Such terminology now is politically incorrect and hence discarded by mainstream religious leaders.

In the midst of the change crisis, churches are jostling each other trying to discover what it is that the "unchurched" are looking for. Lots of pontification has been going on without much hard evidence. Thom S. Rainer in his recently released book, Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, has done some research with people who claimed no faith and then came to some faith. So he is not describing people who merely changed churches, but those who have moved from unbelief to belief.

I think we can learn from Dr. Rainer's research and his insights. So what do the "unchurched" say motivates them?

Well, this sounds like the old story of the men arguing about how many teeth a particular horse had. They argued for hours and only stopped when one of the men thought about opening the horse's mouth and counting the teeth. What a revolutionary idea that was. Some would prefer to imagine what they think the reasons are, and then design a strategy based on those mistaken ideas.

So let's open the horse's mouth and count the teeth before we start taking action.

--by Dan Cooper, Tabernacle, NJ, Church of Christ bulletin

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, NovDec07.