The Church Refugees: The Dones have not lost their faith but they are leaving the Churches to save it.
We are familiar with the Nones – people who do not believe in God and would never set foot in a church or any other religious institution. But there has emerged a new section of society, the Dones – people who are becoming fed up with the church and are leaving it. They claim that their spiritual journey is better off without the boundaries of the church. Their number is no way substantial. According to a survey conducted by renowned sociologist Dr. Josh Packard, there are about 30 million Dones in the country, with about 7 million almost ready to leave their church.
So why are they leaving the church? Have they lost faith in God too, like the nones? Sadly, no. They are as spiritual as ever and their belief in God is in no way shaken. The survey has found that the people who had prayed the hardest, and have been a consistent member of the church community for decades are the ones who are leaving us. The Dones have not lost their faith, they are leaving church to save it.
Here are some of the reasons why churches are losing so many people:
The Dones long for a communal experience, which they say is missing from the church. The judgemental nature of the church-goers hamper their sense of community and communal harmony.
The Dones feel stifled by the bureaucratic nature in which church works. They feel it does not give freedom to do what they love most – serve Jesus. They feel, without the authority of the church, they can progress more, spiritually.
The church leaders are another reason for the Dones’ exit from the church. They feel they must find their own answers about God and his mysterious ways, through struggles and dialogues – not through some sermons and lectures given by church leaders.
- The Dones also felt that church emphasized more on the moral issues like drug abuse and sexual activity and completely undermined the more pressing issues like poverty, equality and unjust economies.
The “nones” are the fastest growing religious segment. But the “DONES” are also rapidly growing? They love Jesus but have given up on church
— Wayne Terry (@wayneterry) January 6, 2015
Thus, they are leaving the church to find their own way to God and provide the God’s service. Many of them are not likely to return to a church even if the Church mends their ways. This situation with the Dones should not be taken lightly and this survey provides some answers to church organizations and denominations who are trying to decide where to spend limited church resources.