Church Refugees: Sociologists Reveal Why People Are DONE with Church but Not Their Faith

by Josh Packard , Ashleigh Hope. Group Publishing , 2015.
Large fontawesome f02d 9  1024

Not to be confused with the “nones” (people with no church affiliation­), Packard and Hope’s qualitative research describes the “dones”, a.k.a. “dechurched”-formerly active members who, for a variety of reasons including “spiritual survival”, have opted out of congregational membership, not their faith. The research narrative, based on 100 in-depth interviews, is descriptive, not prescriptive. This is not a how-to book for transforming congregations. There is no “the church is dead” sensationalism here. Rather, through representative stories, readers who are congregational insiders, and readers who are themselves “church refugees,” will find themselves both encouraged and challenged by the research findings. Through the interviews, four strategies emerged that can encourage reengagement with organized religion: invite participation without control; keep a lid on bureaucracy; be relational-do with, not for; and make an impact on your community as you are changed by the community.