Why Do the Best People Say They Are Done?
Josh Packard, Ph.D., a sociologist, has done some research into this question in his book, Church Refugees. In interviews, he discovered people keep hearing the same old lectures from the pulpit. They do not want to “plop, pray and pay,” but want to be involved with others in life-changing ways.
Can we blame pastors for the present state of the church? In my view, yes, and theological seminaries too. They are the ones who have created an institution of endless talk and little action. Seminaries have taught pastors to remain in their study for 40-50 hours per week, parsing Greek verbs. Pastors have come to believe that if they deliver the Word of God on Sunday, their work is done. Of course, this was not the way of Jesus. He was constantly among the people. Churches are dead today because pastors are entombed with their study books all week.
Most preachers are not good writers and so the people suffer when they deliver their sermons. According to Barna Research, “Churchgoing is slowly but incontrovertibly losing its role as a normative part of American life. In the 1990s, roughly one out of every seven unchurched adults had never experienced regular church attendance. Today, that percentage has increased to nearly one-quarter. Buried within these numbers are at least two important conclusions: 1) Church is becoming increasingly unfamiliar to millions of Americans, and yet 2) the churchless are still largely comprised of de-churched adults.” De-churched adults are the “Dones.”
Many pastors have tried to stem the exodus by adding bands or other entertainment to enliven worship services, but the dullness begins when the band stops playing and the preacher starts preaching.
Mature Christians are not done with Jesus Christ, but they are done with the maudlin institution the church has become. They read the Book of Acts with a sense of longing.