Thursday, November 29, 2018

Unchurching In America? Meet Richard Jacobson

About one of every ten Americans is essentially "done with Church but not with faith."

Notice... that's not 1 of 10 Christians, that's one of 10 Americans, the people in your office or school, the people you pass on the street. Roughly 30 million people have decided to opt out of church but retain their faith in God and Christian identity. (Packard)

If this is of interest to you, then you need to know about Richard Jacobson. He's become a leading voice among those who are Unchurching in America.

A great way to get up to speed is by watching the TEDx talk that Richard gave on September 15th, 2018 at Palo Alto College. In the talk, he shares his personal journey out of the institutional church as well as the broader phenomenon of people leaving the church in order to preserve their faith. For a deeper dive into the hearts and minds of these "Dones" you'll want to look at the the book Church Refugees by Josh Packard which I summarized here on my blog.

Richard has been working to help people realize that they're not alone in this and to find each other, both online and in person. There's a Facebook page as well as a full-featured forum on a different platform that even provides a map to help people connect locally. Richard has also begun to connect with supporters of his work (like me) through a Patreon page.

There's effectively a religious exodus taking place as people leave the institutional church and that's a huge part of the crisis that most congregations are wrestling with. But this exodus is also an opportunity for the Church. We now have millions and millions of believers who want to be active in the faith, and are also finally free from the costs - in time and money - of maintaining buildings, programs and the salaries of church professionals (like me!)

Can we help these people to find each other, and equip them to live as believers and lead the Church into the very different world we are moving so quickly into?

I hope so! That's what The Feral Pastor has been yearning to do all along.

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