- This trend of people leaving institutional church (without necessarily leaving their faith) is now apparently a large enough groundswell that people feel compelled to write books to counter it.
- As one who has left, I am apparently now part of a new demographic the institutional church is now targeting–right along with the unbeliever and the prodigal. I am part of the target market now. (This is a new experience for me–I’m used to being on the side of the targeters, not the targeted.)
In other words, this has apparently become a significant enough “problem” that it’s attracting attention among institutional leaders and thinkers; yet their response thus far seems to be not to soul-search to find out what’s causing the exodus, but rather to try and stem the tide itself by trying to convince the leavers to return.
A classic case of simply treating the symptoms rather than looking for the root cause.
Missing the point. Again.
You see, from what I’ve discerned from my limited exposure to the institution’s response to this, what I’m seeing is that the “sales” tactic being used to try and draw people back, the card being played to get the sheep back into the proverbial fold, is the same card that used to keep us in the bubble in the first place…
In other words, Don’t come back because we get the point now. Come back because you should never have left. Come back because we’re all towing the line and doing our duty, and so should you. Just because.
I’m sorry, but I don’t think that tactic is going to work. Presuming that the attractional method is the right way to do this (and that in itself is a huge presumption), you can’t lure people back with the same crap that drove them away. As one who lives by trying to follow Christ and listen for His voice, I just don’t hear the voice of the Shepherd in those guilt-tinged arguments. Do you?
I’ll probably ramble about this more in future posts, but for now, as a member apparent of this target demographic, let me generally suggest to representatives of institutional Christianity that you try another tactic to reach me.
Or better yet, stop targeting me, and start listening. There are actually legitimate reasons why people are leaving, and they aren’t all negative ones. It might actually change the way you see the church as a whole.