Recently read a great book called The Rise of the Nones by James Emery White. It’s about the fastest growing religious affiliation in the U.S., which is the NON-affiliated. In St. Tammany Parish, where I live, best research shows that we have 116,000+ in that number (http://ow.ly/Ll3D0) or about 50% of our population. And in Louisiana, best research indicates that at least 1.8 million people are in that number.
As Christians, this is an UBER important thing for us to consider, since our mission from Jesus is “to seek & save the lost.”
White talks about how most churches that grow, grow by BIOLOGICAL (natural family growth) or by TRANSFER (Christians swapping churches) or by PRODIGAL growth (Church goers returning to church after years away) & NOT by CONVERSION (reaching nonbelievers with the Gospel). And he says there are 6 kinds of churches in regard to the Nones:
- Hostile – openly antagonistic toward the nones who venture in.
- Indifferent – not hostile, but apathetic and unwilling to answer the nones’ questions.
- Hopeful – want to see the nones reached for Christ, but unwilling to change their environment to do so.
- Sensitive – want to reach the nones for Christ, willing to change their environment, but still primarily catering to the already convinced.
- Targeted – high priority placed on the needs of the nones and make every effort to remove all barriers that made impede their exploring life in Christ.
No Man’s Land – not being targeted enough to reach the unchurched, but being too targeted to the unchurched for the churched.
A few questions:
- Where would you say your church is on this list?
- How many none’s do you know?
- What do you think it would take for a church to reach them?