What are Dones, (dechurched Christians) looking for?

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By Steve Simms

Sometimes Christians get to the point where they say, "I'm done with church," and then drop out of church altogether. This is happening so much nowadays that it has become a social trend. Sometimes the people who do that are called "dechurched," or "church refugees;" but the most common label they are known by is "Dones."

Usually Dones are deeply committed Christ-followers who are longing for more than they have found in the traditional church format. Normally Dones aren't walking away Christ or even Christianity. Instead, they are leaving the institutional church because they want more than they are finding there.

So why are the Dones flying away from church? What do they want? What are they looking for?

  1. Dones want heart-to-heart connection with other believers. They are tired of being passive spectators and looking at the backs of people's heads in front of them. They want to really get to know their sisters and brothers in Christ.

  2. Dones are looking for encouragement and support. The Christian life is not an easy way to live and Dones have discoverred that weekly teaching that is often repetitive, doesn't prepare them to victoriously walk with Christ in daily life. They realize they need an atmosphere of mutual caring, interaction, and support.

  3. Dones are searching for usefulness. However, they realize that the typical church service has no need for them and no room for their input. They want to use the gifts that God has given them to minister to others, and they realize that they need interactive, hands-on training in using their spiritual gifts.

  4. Dones desire spiritual experience. They don't want to be spectators watching a human being give a lecture about God. They want to be in an environment where the resurrected Jesus is free to move and work among His people. They are tired of seeing Jesus as a mere figurehead and want Him to be the literal Head of the meeting.

  5. Dones are looking for equality in the body of Christ. They have experienced religious authoritarianism and are tired of high sounding titles and demanding leaders. They want the freedom to listen to God and then say/or do what He tells them to. They want Spirit-led meetings.

  6. Dones want reality in worship. They are seeking more than the outward forms of ritual, programs, pious platitudes, religious entertainment, and/or liturgy. That's why millions of Dones are courageously obeying the Bible's words in 2 Timothy 3:5: "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power therof; from such turn away."

Author, Thom Shultz, sums it up this way: "The Dones are fatigued with the Sunday routine of plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate. But they feel spurned at every turn."