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The Growing Conversation About “The “Dones”

Posted on: May 5th, 2015 by Wayne Jacobsen 5 Comments

emptypewsI’ve known about it for the past twenty ears, but it is only recently coming on the radar screens of the national media. It is being tagged “The Rise of the Dones,” the number of people who no longer find the local congregations helpful to their faith and yet maintain a resilient passion for Jesus and his kingdom. Dr. Josh Packard will have a new book out on June 1 called, Church Refugees, which unpacks his research into this phenomenon. He was also a guest on my God Journey podcast last week, and we’ll follow up with part two this Friday.

Next week I will be meeting with a group of pastors in San Dimas, CA who want to talk about this trend and what it means for church life. They have read my book, Finding Church, and resonate with many of its themes and want to know how it might help more traditional congregations rethink their mission and their priorities.

I also came across this article today, Regarding the “Done with Church Buzz”, which grants a helpful perspective for those who are worried about those who no longer participate in a traditional congregation.

Though I don’t like the designation “Dones”, it is catching on in the media and thus will become a marketing tool soon enough and then another label in “us versus them” dualistic paradigm too many people are trapped in. As grateful as I am that we’re talking about a broader view of his church than human institutions can replicate, my prayer is that the conversation shifts from the “going to church”/”not going to church” designations, to embracing a wider reality that includes all of us who seek to be his reflection in the world. His church is a growing family who are learning to live in the love and affection of an awesome Father and to treat others accordingly.

Don’t glory in your church attendance, and certainly don’t glory in being a “Done.” Let’s realize that those designations mean nothing. The only thing that matters is the new creation and how we love one another even though we may live in different expressions of that family. For too long we’ve changed the language of God’s kingdom, for a preoccupation with human systems we’ve called churches, whether or not they reflect his glory or incubate his community. We need less preoccupation with “church” and far more on Jesus and his kingdom.

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5 Responses

  1. Dan Dailey says:

    That’s been much of my concern, too; that we shift from our identity being in “church attenders” to our identity being in “better than church attenders”. The huge problem there is that our identity should be as followers of Christ, plain and simple, regardless of whether we do or don’t attend a weekly meeting.

    On the other hand, I can’t dismiss that the whole means by which such meetings exist is the elevating of “super-apostles” and their amazing ability to teach, administrate, spin vision, etc. Gathering in such places is not in itself good or bad, but the exalting of one man over another is both unbiblical and dangerous, and this seems to be a requirement for such institutions to exist.

    For those of us that have chosen to leave the building: we must proceed with caution. There are lies on every side that would seek to ensnare us in some form of deception. We mustn’t be proud of our “new revelation”, for if it is in fact true then it is of God and not ourselves. Beware of pride and elitism, and beware also of looking for the approval of other “dones” (I, too, am not a big fan of the label) as a replacement for the affirmation we’ve lost since leaving our former understanding.

    Just because I’ve left one trap doesn’t mean the enemy isn’t waiting to wrap me up in a new one. Don’t let your guard down!

  2. […] I conclude withWayne Jacobsen’s words on a recent Finding Church article, […]

  3. Carolyn Avie says:

    Yes,I cant really call myself a done.When I do go to church,its usually a bible study where I learn to apply scripture to my life.My mistakes were trying to develop friendships with other believes.I didn’t know that I was just ministry to them.This has left me angry at times.We have to be careful not to mislead people.

  4. Wow. I just wrote about this yesterday. With special emphasis on I’m done in a short blog post called “I Don’t Want No Sun.”

    Now that I read this post, I definitely need to link to it to add extra perspective to my own. Thanks for putting words to this. I didn’t realize there were so many more people like me!

    God bless,
    Mark Chappelle

  5. […] The Growing Conversation About “The Dones” ( — Apparently, I’m not the only person who no longer finds a local congregation helpful to their faith, and there are books and podcasts and what not about this! […]

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