Food for Thought-People Who Don’t Come To Church



1. Most people who don’t come to church aren’t atheist or agnostic. They have an indifference or apathy toward organized religion. Church is simply not important to their lives. They treat church as a restaurant which they expect to have open tables at least twice year.  We are a franchise they admire but expect others to patronize in their absence.

2. While many will not self identify as Christians, people who don’t come to church expect those who are Christian to live up to the title of “Christian”. No one understands this and while they don’t come to church or define themselves as Christian, people who don’t come to church are good at spotting inauthentic Christianity.

3. Most people who don’t come to church define themselves as “spiritual”.  Many things can be spiritual.  Jesus is a religious figure not a “spiritual” ideal for most people who don’t come to church.

4. People who don’t come to church are generous when it comes to charity and specific stewardship issues; if these are highlighted properly.

5. People who don’t come to church are not church illiterate. Most have been to church at some point in their lives. A few have never been. Even those who’ve never been to church have read classics of literature about churches, seen films, pictures, or traveled. No one is unchurched.

6. I do not like the word unchurched.  Something about the word has always struck me as presumptuous and rude.

7. “People who don’t come to church” is wordy. I realize this. However, this seems a more accurate and humane way to describe the world around us.

8. People who do not go to church do not like to be talked down to or reduced to evangelical marketing terminology. They need people who won’t judge them, a pastoral presence, and Christian community like the rest of us.  If we do that, we bring church to them.  

9. Most people who don’t go to church have never heard anyone talk honestly about who Jesus of Nazareth was and what he taught.

10. People who don’t come to church will have a hard time committing to an every week commitment. Occasional IS the new regular. Yes, this plays havoc with nursery schedules, acolytes, flowers, and other time honored routines.  Is it time we re-evaluated our holy habits?  What’s truly important to Sunday morning and the integrity of worship?  We do not seek a commitments for the sake of commitment.  Churches are fellowships woven together by starts and stops.  

–Richard Bryant