Done with church, done with Christianity?
Christians all over the world, including people I know, and probably others you know as well, are abandoning Christianity. They are fed up with God, or at least the way he's represented. In reality, their anger–which is often quite explosive–is directed at people, usually church leaders. They are deconstructing and they aren't hiding it. Many are loud and proud with their new found anti-faith.
Another sizable group wouldn't admit to full-blown deconstruction. They are, however, equally loud and proud when announcing they have joined the leaderless cult called the “dones.” They are done with church, and just like those who are deconstructing, the prime motive is due to disappointing leadership and unfulfilling church experiences.
All who deconstruct are “dones” but not all “dones” have fully deconstructed. These two movements are uniquely related, however.
PASTORS, LISTEN UP
Being deconstructed or done isn't an option and I implore those who have done so, or who are considering undergoing this faith-change operation in their lives, to fearfully reconsider. This decision is eternity crushing.
That being said, I absolutely understand some of the reasons people are frustrated enough to abandon the church.
Much of it is due to false expectations. People become jaded and disillusioned when leaders fail, when they feel rejected or when the church experience isn't what they hoped for. However, we can't abandon God or his glorious church due to this. I've had a front row seat to multiple national leaders dramatically and very publicly falling. It's heartbreaking, but it cannot negatively affect our zealous love for God or his church.
While dealing with false expectations is the responsibility of the people, there is a good measure of responsibility that pastors have as well. Both need to do better.
Here are the bullet points from an article I wrote addressing this topic specifically:
Pastors, they are yearning for more. They can't handle another perfectly crafted, wonderfully produced, humanly orchestrated mess with just a sprinkle of supernatural flavor for good measure. They are done.
Specifically, I believe the remnant is fed up with a few things that should be fixed, like yesterday.
Fear of man
Tired order of service
No revival emphasis
The prophetic is minimized
Focus on church growth
No supernatural activity
Restrictive and controlling leadership
No legitimate vision
Misplaced emphasis on worship
You can read that article in its entirety here.
DECONSTRUCTED OR CORRUPTED?
Let's start with those who are deconstructing. I'm perplexed by the radical religious shift of friends and acquaintances who were previously burning white hot for Jesus. My brain explodes when considering the possibility that people who were sharply prophetic, invested in fervent and powerful intercession and devoted radically to the truth of Scripture could end up fading away. Yet, it's happening. Over and over again.
Understand, I'm not talking about typical church goers. I'm referring to people who were transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Their every waking moment was consumed by a passionate love for Jesus. They were continually provoked to awaken the sleepers and sound the alarm. These were end-time messengers who had a powerful anointing and a critical call on their lives.
Now they are done. Deconstructing. Fading.
Of course, many would retort that they aren't done with God. They are deconstructing from what they've know as Christianity, and more specifically, the expression of it.
The danger is very real, however. When we get fed up with the way God's leaders are leading or the direction the movement is headed, a golden calf is most often the result. While Moses, an imperfect man, was literally meeting with God in one of history's most critical moments, the people decided they had had enough. They didn't give up on God, per se, but they had given up on Moses' version of God.
“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”” (Exodus 32:1, ESV)
So, what did they do? They deconstructed and redefined God to fit their personal desires.
“When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” (Exodus 32:5–6, ESV)
They decided to focus on self and the experience that's more authentic, more trustworthy and more sensical to them. They planned a feast to the Lord, but it was the lord of self, the lord of Egypt and the lord of deconstruction.
Then God said this to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.” (Exodus 32:7, ESV)
This is what we are seeing today. Previously liberated people have had enough and, as a result, they have corrupted themselves.
TRADING “ORGANIZED RELIGION” FOR ORGANIC, RELATIONAL EXPERIENCES
One of the dones was interviewed by churchleaders.com and admitted, “I’m tired of being lectured to. I’m just done with having some guy tell me what to do.”
This is a prevailing complaint among those who have given up on church as we know it. Their idea of a New Testament church gathering looks more like an unmoderated circle of discussion and equalized interaction as opposed to primary leadership flowing through a single individual.
The problem? The church we see in Scripture is clearly led by God through specific individuals. We are supposed to be “lectured to and told what to do.” It's called preaching. If it's anointed, we should crave it and hate when it ends!
Five-fold leadership is non-negotiable. The church is less organic than many would like to believe. It's strategic, militaristic and advancing. Like it or not, there's rank and order. God calls individuals to gather holy soldiers to penetrate the darkness through intercession and Kingdom advance.
While there are healthy house churches, and we are sure to see biblically validated small and house churches explode on the scene, there's a lot of wrong information on what is in fact biblical.
Many complain about the “institutional church” as restrictive. They expect to have a role in the service, as if that's the ultimate platform for the expression of ministry. It's not. Most minister outside of the church. A few minister within.
SHOULD EVERYONE BE ALLOWED TO ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE AS THEY DESIRE IN A CHURCH SERVICE?
A LEADERLESS MOVEMENT IS NOT BIBLICAL
THE RIGHT RESPONSE