Every church should be thinking about how to reach the dechurched
It is becoming increasingly important for the church to talk about reaching the dechurched in their communities. This sounds like a great idea in theory, but it presents a real challenge when churches perpetuate an “us-versus-them” mentality in our language and disposition.
By “dechurched” I mean people who were at some point either briefly or for a long time involved in a local church, but have not been active for several years.
To reach the dechurched, we have to understand them. And, as I see the dechurched, there are two main groups—the open and closed. How we seek to reach a dechurched person should be determined, in part, by which group they’re from.
Types of the Dechurched
Ministering to dechurched people who are open is relatively easy for believers as there is a level of comfort in discourse. These are people who have left the church, but they aren’t aggressively antagonistic to it. They could have stopped attending after a move when the “never quite found the right church.” Nothing against God or churches; they simply stopped attending.
The closed dechurched, however, are generally closed because of a negative or hurtful experience that has driven them away from the church. They tend to be antagonistic toward returning to church, and sometimes to the subject itself.
Those Hurt By The Church
There are many kinds of people that are hurt by the church.
Some of the hurt may be superficial and for others it may run deep. I saw this a few years ago in an airport where I noticed someone using sign language. Because I know sign language (less now than back then), I started a conversation with him which quickly turned to matters relating to the church.
He was a pastor’s ...