A new book “Church Refugees” by Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope was published in June 2015. In the build up Thom Schultz wrote an article in November 2014 entitled “The Rise of the DONES” where he suggested that the ministry would benefit from asking questions to those long term members before they leave and ask them some good questions such as:
- Why are you a part of this church?
- What keeps you here?
- Have you ever contemplated stepping away from church? Why or why not?
- How would you describe your relationship with God right now?
- How has your relationship with God changed over the past few years?
- What effect, if any, has our church had on your relationship with God?
- What would need to change here to help you grow more toward Jesus’ call to love God and love others?
They are good questions, but can you see the irony? How would the ministry know who was thinking of leaving, and how could they ask these questions without asking all members of their congregation?
Thom wrote another article in May 2015 entitled, “Done with Church, BUT not with God” and quotes from the new book:
What’s interesting about the Dones “is that they’re not running away from God. Many of them say they’re now running better toward God. So, why is that? What is driving them away from the institutional church? The sociologists discovered several recurring themes after interviewing the Dones”.
I have not read the book but I have listened to some lengthy interviews with Josh, and what I find so exciting is that the two researchers found that their original thoughts were not borne out by their research. What they are now reporting is what many of us who have been on this journey for several years have long understood – and that surely adds credibility to their research!
Wayne Jacobsen recently did a two part interview with Josh (about 80 mins) that can be found here along with a link to a webinar (60 mins) about Josh’s book.
I have also been following the blog of Rob Wilkerson who spent an hour and a half discussing the book with Josh. I made my own notes of that discussion here. That interview can be found here. There is also a comprehensive list of Rob’s recommended resources here.