We’ve heard of the Nones, but who are the Dones?
Are you familiar with these terms? Baptist News article, You’ve met the ‘nones.’ Now meet the ‘dones.’ covered this topic last year:
Just as churches, seminaries and congregational consultants were wrapping their heads around the concept of “the nones” in religious life, yet another term emerges for yet another category of Americans abandoning the church: “the dones.”
The first group denotes the growing number of Americans with no religion affiliation. “Nones,” which may represent as much as 38 percent of the U.S. population, also are known for generally having had no or very little in the way of religious upbringing.
But sociologists, church historians and congregational coaches have realized for a while that another subset of Americans are answering “none” on surveys about religious affiliations: Those who have grown up in the church and remained active in adulthood — at least until getting tired of church life.
The rest of the article talks about the struggles churches are facing as good church folk are leaving the institutional walls. I think it is a wake-up call for the institutional church.
Today I posted a 7-minute interview about the “dones” on the SSB Facebook page and it has received some great responses. I asked the powers that be if the video was able to be shared outside of Facebook and it was then uploaded to YouTube, so I am happy to be able to share it with you on the blog. It’s just over 7 minutes (the complete webinar can be found here: Rise of the Dones Webinar Follow Up).
I think some of the SSB community might be able to connect with the dones.
Here is James Paul’s intro to the video:
A fast-growing demographic of Christians are fleeing the institutional church. On April 15th, sociologist Josh Packard gave a webinar presentation on “the dones.” So who are they? The answers may surprise you.
I’ve copied some of the comments from both James Paul and SSB’s Facebook posts so you can see the responses:
This is spot on! Although, I’ll admit, I was angry when I left. I’m not angry any more, but I am uninterested. -KB
I’m angry at a lot of pastors who know they are doing wrong by institutionalizing but gotta feed the system to USE people to get their paycheck, easy flexible schedule, 5-7 weeks of vacation, conferences, and entitlements. These pastors know better but will either spiritualize or ignore the truth of what they are doing and defend the system to the death or until it stops paying off for them. ~Dennis
What stood out for me is what a deliberate, contemplative, meaningful (and heart-wrenching) decision this tends to be. The church as an institution has failed those who it needs and counts on the most. This is a crisis for the church… but a personal victory for those who seek peace and comfort away from the institution that let them down. Even the WORD “church” is slowly changing definition. This is not a bad thing. ~Carol
Love this comment. ~Jami
Carol, This is so true. When we decided to leave church (or churches, in our case) it was not a fly-by-night decision. For one church, we prayed and talked for two years before we left. For another, it took a 3-4 months (less time because we had already been through the first one). It was not an easy decision the first time because we had invested almost 10 years of our lives in the church, working side-by-side with people we cared deeply about. The second time was a bit easier because we spotted the red flags immediately. -KB
I didn’t leave church because I lost my faith. I left to preserve it. ~Bart
I believe the whole “Dones” movement is actually a move of God. With the current state of business-as-usual in the “church” scene and growing religious unrest in the world, perhaps the healthiest and safest place for Believers is outside of those comfortable four walls, interacting in daily life with one another and others…in the world but not of it (which is what we’re called to BE anyway!) ~Joe
“I think many people stayed in church in the past because it was generally accepted that all “good” people attended church and one had to belong to church to be a respected community member. That is no longer the case and this subconsciously influences people not to attend.” ~ Linda
Often God takes folks at the margin – remembering the Jesus people. At the moment, he seems to be rounding up people who have loved him inside the walls and is asking them to love him outside. ~Dwight
I liked D. L. Webster’s comment in his article, Are “Dones” a Major Warning Sign for the Church?
To summarize, I think that some our fundamental paradigms about church got knocked off track centuries ago (most notably around the 4th century to be precise). I believe that church as we usually think of it will continue to slide into irrelevance though God will continue to work there too. It seems to me that Christianity’s best are leaving the traditional, institutional church because God is revealing its inadequacies. These “dones” are pursing Jesus, his ways and his community outside the church institution in a way which is more in line with God’s leading.