“Dones” are a new category of former church attenders/members who have withdrawn from participation from the organized church for various reasons. I am borrowing this blog from Pastor Jeff Tunnell, former Senior Pastor of Big Bear Christian Center, Big Bear, CA.
Sawdust– joelcomiskeygroup.com Blog
by Jeff Tunnell
Allow me to crawl out on a limb and hand you the saw. When you’ve had enough, just cut the limb and drop me off.
As a long-term pastor in North America, I have encountered Dones regularly. Now we study them, give them credibility, offer them an elitist position, and spend time sorting out just what we’ll do to help them re-engage the church. Frankly, I am weary of arguing their points.
In my small town, everyone knows everyone. Here in our rural community, I mention a collective family I have given the name “Usetas.” This may not translate well to other languages, but the play on words is that these people “used to” attend church. They have drifted out, quit, found fault, criticized while walking away, and generally washed their hands of active participation in the body of Christ. To feel more ‘biblical’ they say they are wiping the dust off their feet. This is not the end of their story. Years pass and their families fall apart, divorce racks the homes, children grow up with little moral guidance. They return years later asking for favors and advice for how to stay out of jail or regain custody of children who have been removed from their homes by government agencies. The sadness and depression that hovers over them is thick and dominating.
Is it our thoughtful response to run studies, give them statistical credibility, define them as special, and design programs to help them overcome the TRUTH they avoid? You cannot amputate yourself from the Body of Christ and live happily ever after. You cannot design YOUR church any other way than GOD has, unless you only want a temporal carnal life instead of life abundant.
Dones are granted credence because they are seen as thoughtful, educated, respected, long-term church goers, and even tithers. So am I, but I will never be done with the Body of Christ. My wife and I will have dinner tonight with a few friends who are believers. We call it a cell. We have connection and relationship. We are the church, but the church is more than our cell. I’ve said it before, “That of which I am a part, is greater than the part I play.”
Is that sawdust I see?