The “Dones” are leaving church, reportedly, in droves. They even have their own website. One of them simply said, “I’m just done. I’m done with church.”
But is this really what he meant? No clarification needed? According to the article, “John” has not abandoned his faith. Just church. Or, should we say, church the way he experienced it. Has he rejected the idea of meaningful spiritual community in any form? Has he refused to walk with other believers, share life with them, pray with them, even engage in some expression of mission with them? I’m not so sure.
The more I’ve read about the Dones, the more I’m convinced their commentary is not actually about Church – yes, “C”hurch, the Body of Christ on earth. I hear them articulate value in their pursuit of Christ, their commitment to other believers on a personal level, and their intent to share God’s love in tangible ways with others. Within our spiritual movement, this is what we define as “church.” I wonder why they lump all forms of church into their Done-ness.
So what have they actually walked away from? According to this particular article:
They are done with being lectured to from the pulpit – they feel they’ve heard it all.
They are done with the Sunday routine, sitting and observing a performance hosted by the professionals.
What do they want instead?
They want to participate, engage, offer something more significant than their attendance and offerings.
They want to integrate faith and normal life. Rather than detaching from their world to see the Sunday show, they want to discover intersections of spirituality and daily practicality.
Will church as we currently know it in Western culture continue to shrink? Maybe so. That’s not my primary concern. Vibrant, healthy expressions of “church” can be found all around the world, many times appearing and maturing without the assumptions of a building, multiple paid professional staff, and ministry programs. Just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with any of these three assumptions (building, staff or programs), I just refuse to allow that to be the singular definition of “church” that so many people seem to be done with.
Church, simply put, involves people of faith walking toward Christ together, sharing life with each other, and extending God’s love into the world. That’s a definition of church that I’ll stand by all day long. That kind of church reveals the presence of Christ in culture. It is a living, dynamic version of the Body of Christ. That kind of church seeks to think, care and act like Jesus in our world.
I dare say that even the Dones are not done with that.