Will “Dones” go “Back to Church” as usual, in a post-Christian world?

Will “Dones” and others who have left the institutional church, go back to church as usual in a post-Christian society?

National Back to Church Sunday (NBTCS) thinks they will. It was begun in the United States in 2009. Their website says that this year (2016) 30,936 churches are taking part in it. They are from more than 100 denominations and in all 50 states (as well as countries around the world).

Here’s a quote from their web page: “Back To Church Sunday is a campaign strategically designed to help churches reach out and invite everyone to try church again. This powerful movement encourages church attendance by inspiring and empowering church members to invite their neighbors, friends and loved ones to a special Sunday service designed just for them.”

To celebrate Back To Church Sunday, let’s go all the way back (beyond church as usual). Let’s go back to a form of Christian worship that preceded the traditional Western church format  — the New Testament concept of a Christ-led support group as taught in 1 Corinthians 14:26. Philip Yancy puts it this way: “All too often the church holds up a mirror reflecting back the society around it, rather than a window revealing a different way.”


So why are people leaving church? Perhaps it is because they get board when they are required to just sit and listen to a religious talk. However, when people are allowed to talk freely about their personal experiences with the living, resurrected Jesus Christ, they come alive with excitement!

The most effective group communication depends on dialogue, sharing ideas, and personal interaction. A monologue reduces attempted communication to passively listening to one person’s ideas. That may work in an authoritarian environment, but it fails to build relationship. Perhaps it is time to go beyond church as usual.

Without the free flowing,
Heart-felt expression
Of genuine love for Jesus
And surrender to His presence,
Christianity becomes a shell
Of programs and performances.
“Having a form of godliness,
But denying the power thereof,
From such turn away.”
2 Timothy 3:5

At The Salvation Army Berry Street in Nashville, our goal is to go “back to church” as taught in 1 Corinthians 14:26, where ordinary people are free to show and tell what God has done. Learn more in the book, Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible, available in paperback and Kindle @http://amzn.to/2d5fr9d. Visit us on Sunday mornings at 10:45 at 225 Berry St. 37207.


About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I co-lead a non-traditional expression of the body of Christ in Nashville based on open participation and Spirit-led sharing. We long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia" that is available in Kindle & paperback @ http://amzn.to/2nCr5dP
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6 Responses to Will “Dones” go “Back to Church” as usual, in a post-Christian world?

  1. Thomas Bumgarner says:

    Steve, actually I would prefer Acts Chapter 2 with daily church, more than devotions and Bible Study, and food, although certainly important. It is more small family oriented.

  2. My understanding from studies done by Tom Schult’s group at Holy Soup for the Soul (www.holysoup.com) and from my own experience is most pastors have no idea why people leave their congregation. They do not do any followup with people who have left nor with people who visit but don’t return. If they have no interest in getting feedback, if they have no intetest in knowing why people leave, how can they know how to correct the issues related to their leaving?

    My wife and I left our church of 6 years in December 2012. No one called, no one sent us a questionaire, no one was interested in why we left. This has been our experience at all churches of which we were members. We were members of one church for 15 years and have been very active in every church we were at. The last church we attended we were told we were in the top 5% of the major tithers yet not a peep was made when we left.

    We have attended many churches of friends since 2012. What we discovered is once one experiences authentic ekklesia, pseudo-ekklesia is no longer attractive. I do not believe this day will prove to be very successful.

    • Steve Simms says:

      By “friends” do you mean Quaker. I’ve been very inspired by the Quakers. Once my wife and I left a church and two years later we got a phone call asking us to contribute to the building fund. They didn’t even know that we had been gone for two years.

  3. Steve, thanks for asking for clarification. No, I am referring to time we visit the traditional church settings of our friends and family. My wife and I experienced ekklesia with the ministry of LK10, which we were apart of for three years. We have found it difficult to attend a traditional church setting ever since.

    As an interesting aside, my father was what is called a “birthright” Quaker, that is, he was born into a Quaker family in New Britain, PA. Two brothers, William and James Browne came over from Nottingham, England in 1681 to assist WIlliam Penn in settling Pennsylvania. They assisted in establishing the towns of Chester, PA, Buroington, PA and Nottingham, PA. They also assisted in setting up Friends meetinghouses throughout that general area. My grandparents are buried in the Eastland Meeting House cemetery just a few miles from New Britain, Nottingham and Oxford, PA. My father passed away in 2006, but he lived with us the last 6 months of his life and began sharing stories about his Quaker upbringing. They belonged to the unprogrammed arm of Quakers. I think this is one of the influences in my olife that prompted me to begin looking for an alternative to traditional church.

    My wife and I moved to Helen, GA early last year and I was looking forward to attending the Quaker Meeting located about 4 miles away in Sautee-Nacoochee, but they have not held a meeting in several years. My wife and I had a discussion this morning concerning the need to begin listening to the Lord for what he would like us to do for him in our new community. Perhaps a new ekklesia is in the making! Time will tell.

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