His Truth Will Set You Free

Listen to what Jesus says; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Are You a De-Churched Christian?


I’m a de-churched Christian. I’ve been reading the book “Churchless,” which contains lots of research data the Barna Group has collected about the various aspects of Christianity. Did you know there are about 18 million born-again Christians who no longer attend a church? The Barna study calls these people “de-churched.” It felt weird when I realized I’m one of the 18 million.

I haven’t attended church for almost five years. And what adds to the weirdness is, I can’t clearly tell you why. Oh, I could come up with surface answers easily enough. But none of them feel to me like they are the real, deep down reason I don’t go to church. And I want to know why.

It occurred to me; maybe some of these 18 million de-churched born-again Christians hang out online somewhere. So please help me if you know of any such hang-outs. Are there any Facebook groups? What other sites might the de-churched like to visit? Are there blogs for the de-churched?

My hope is that maybe by connecting with other de-churched people, I might learn why I have no desire to attend church. And if you too are a de-churched Christian, please share some of your story. It may help me, and it may help others. Thank you.


Author: CJ Penn

First, my writing isn't about me. Don’t want the attention, don’t want to feed my ravenous ego (yep, I’m just a typical pride-plagued human). But I love writing - it gets me out of bed when it's way too dark, just so I can do some writing before heading off to work. I write because I’m passionate about God, Jesus, His Spirit, and His truth. And, I feel the Holy Spirit gets shortchanged in the world we call Christianity. The truth is sometimes lacking too.

15 thoughts on “Are You a De-Churched Christian?

  1. I too am “de-churched” though I really don’t like that phrase as it can seem to imply that I’m no longer part of Jesus’ church.

    For me personally, there was no real life in Christ inside the institutions. It was all about obligation and rule following to look like a Christian on the outside. The setup was more for appealing to the audience on a temporary emotional basis, which faded about an hour afterwards. Conformance was also pressed even though I had several questions that leadership avoided giving concrete answer to.

    The Church far transcends the religious routine I was sold. There may be some who get something out of the Sunday gatherings, and portions of Jesus’ church there, but the church far exceeds the box people have tried to contain it in. I’ve had a much greater experience with The Church in the past 1.5 years I’ve been on the “outside” than 20+ on the inside even as part of the ministry team.

    Wayne Jacobsen’s Podcast at thegodjourney.com is very good for info about those who are no longer living inside the institutions. #479 hits the nail on the head for me. He also did a podcast not too long ago about that same group doing the Barna studies and such. Wayne’s book “So you don’t want to go to church anymore” is also one of my top favorites as it does a fairly decent job of speaking to living life in Christ foremost.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Although I worship God at a local church, I can understand your lack of desire to attend yourself. Since the church isn’t a building but the body of Christ, It’s where we live out that life that truly matters.

    I believe that the American church as an institution, in some respects, has become so ingrained in marketing Jesus that they have forgotten who they are in Christ.

    Also, to put it simply, I believe seekers are hungry for truth and to see that truth lived out. We need to live authentically, to be real, approachable and loving. Above all else…LOVE. A small band of Christ followers doing life together can have a greater impact than any mega-church could ever have. However, it seems that the American church focuses a lot on bigger being better and numbers meaning everything. A home gathering of believers (or a home church) if you will, appeals to me…like the church in Acts.

    Like I said, I do attend a local church–I truly love corporate worship–especially praising the Lord in song together. But I have pulled back from activities in the church. Burn out is another reason people leave. The work of the church can often take the place of our relationship with Christ. Taking on leadership rolls within the church no longer appeals to me.

    It wasn’t until I started saying NO to requests of my time and talent (and not feeling guilty) that I was set free to just BE and just live out the gospel in my sphere of influence. You know you are using the gifts that God has given you when you find JOY in what you’re doing. Not that it’s always easy but JOY is a by-product of His Spirit in us. I pray that you do find a community whether inside or outside of the church walls. I think that we grow best in community with others where we can serve and support one another. I don’t think that God designed us to be lone rangers. :) God bless your journey!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I have been looking for the “Power of God” among his people, since I first became a Christian. I even went so far as to get a BS in Pastoral Ministries. But I found the “congregation” of the “Churched” to be horribly lacking in the belief of the Power of God among His people.

    I tried the “so called” holiness movements. But found them to be a bit over the top. So I just quit the “Churchy Thing”.

    Today, I am more involved with the Lord than before, and greatly so. Today, His words flow from me like water. When, before, they were stifled by my own perception. And I have written about this in a post, whose name I can’t remember.

    The point is that God is raising up His own people outside the “work of man’s hands” which has entered what is readily referred to as “The Church”. Pride has corrupted worship. Lists of social law constrain the work of the Holy Spirit. And the people willingly ignore the Power of God, promised in His Holy Scripture.

    I don’t take license from my “unchurchedness”. I take sober responsibility, according to His Holy Grace within me.

    Thanks for posting this. It’s good to know that we are not alone. And that our perceptions are not skewed beyond the bounds of Christ.

    By His Grace.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good post and glad you raise the question. I’m preaching tomorrow, from 1 John 1:7, “but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” That Greek word “allelon” (one another, a reciprocal pronoun) shows up about 100 times in the New Testament. Walking in the truth of Christ results in this mutuality, and in that mutuality Christ cleanses his people of sin. I suppose that can be spiritualized into “walking together in belief, not in visible fellowship.” But I think that the organic images used in the NT – vine and branches, parts of a living body – militate against this, as does “living stones built into a holy temple.” It is interesting to hear reasons that people stop attending church gatherings, and God knows there are days and even seasons when I feel ready to do the same. But I don’t believe we can sustain that without growing very far from what Jesus taught and modeled and what his apostles passed on down through the ages.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m not dechurched, but I was for a while. I think there are many legitimate reasons for being dechurched right now, contrary to what some pastors and theologians might say about faith requiring participation in corporate worship with others. The fact is, pastors and theologians (both conservative and liberal) use this as an excuse to maintain unbiblical institutions, power structures, and the whole church “production”/”performance” and industry. The result is that you can choose between apostate churches, churches with sound doctrine but bad practices, or legalistic churches. It is terribly difficult to find healthy churches where the Word of God is honored and love is practiced and people aren’t lost in trivial things. I don’t have good answers for the dilemma, but I sympathize and pray for the 18 million unchurched Christians who have to deal with this as well as the millions of churched Christians who might be caught up in the wrong denominations, organizations or congregations. While there may be no easy answers, I think God can still work in this situation. I hope you can find other Christians to fellowship with and take communion together when possible, but I don’t think this should cause you worry about your status as a Christian. Keep cultivating your relationship with God and others. Mark 12:28-32. Blessings to you in Christ!

    Liked by 2 people

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  7. Oh bless you – I get the impression from that, that you’ve either been hurt, disillusioned or offended in some way? Are you in contact with any aquaintances from your last church? How do you cope when you need emotional support? Who do you go to when you have a prayer request? Who do you tithe to? Sorry, one more question as I’m very interested… who are you accountable to? I am so sorry that you are not part of a ‘family’ because we all need one, no matter how imperfect they are. I hope you will be able to find a local one that you will feel at home in. The defeated one loves nothing better than to isolate Christians. I’m concerned he’s successfully managed to do that to you. Please re consider, as God channels and online church groups are no sunstitute for belonging to a local church where you can put your roots down deep and grow. Otherwise, just like an uprooted tree, your spirit will wither and die. Xx


    • Hello Sharon. That’s some great questions and concerns. I’ll try to answer them in order.
      Yes, I have several very close friends from my last church.
      For emotional help, I first go to God. Then I go to family and close friends.
      My prayers first go to God, naturally. But then I always have my close friends – we all share our prayer requests.
      Your tithing question is a great one. Other than giving money to various charities, how can I give an offering to God without going to a church? Well, since I currently don’t attend a church, instead of giving 10% of my income to the church, I give 100% of my self to God.
      Regarding accountability: I’m first accountable to the Holy Spirit of God, who shares this mortal body with my soul. I’m them accountable to my family, my friends, and my co-workers. I’m accountable to everyone I come in contact with, because every interaction I have with someone is a reflection of my relationship with God.
      I am definitely part of a family; a large family which includes my friends.
      I am not at all isolated. In fact, the Spirit of God is with me, within me, always, just a thought away. Satan doesn’t have a chance against my savior and constant companion.
      And my spirit feels more full and alive than ever before, thanks to the presence of God in my life. I’m closer to God now than I ever have been. The Spirit fills me me peace, joy, love and all the other fruits of the presence of the Holy Spirit of God.
      Thank you very much for your concern.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks CJ for your reply. I know loads of people who have left church for good and the majority of them have been judged, ignored or misunderstood and left with very deep wounds. I do not know you and even if I did, it would not be in my place to do the same thing to you. Your answers were very interesting but I feel from the tone, that irritation was arising and maybe bringing back memories of judgementalism that you have received from other Christians in the past. I am always interested in knowing why someone stops attending church but i am usually not pertinent enough to ask. But over the internet it is different because I can’t see you scowling at me :-)
      Seriously, I am concerned for you, not in a patronising, judgemental way but because the devil constantly roams around looking for someone to devour and de-churched Christians are his prime target. Without a local body of believers supporting you, you are like a lone gazelle grazing in a field away from it’s herd. That is why Paul urged us not to forsake meeting together. It really is not the same staying at home, watching Christian TV. I too was once de-churched for 8 months and they were the most awful times of my life because I needed to be accountable to leaders and I needed fellowship.

      No church is perfect and I know how hard it is to re join a place if you’ve been hurt, but it is important to try to forgive and accept that not everyone is welcoming or nice. They will have to stand accountable to God for how they treated you just like I will if I stayed silent and said nothing. My prayer for you is that you will find a place that you can call home and feel again the love and warmth of genuine believers who accept you for who you are. xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon, thank you very much.


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