Beef up outreach. Emphasize evangelism. Plant more churches. Polish the marketing.
None of this is reversing the overall trend of church decline. Even when a church attracts new members it doesn’t grow. Why?
It can’t add people fast enough to make up for the legions slipping out the back door.
They are the Dones–those who are done with organized church. New research reveals the enormity of the back-door effect. Sociologist Josh Packard, as a follow-up to his book Church Refugees, conducted a new national study through the Social Research Lab to determine the size, make-up and motivations of the formerly churched population in the United States.
The survey results are stunning. Some 31 percent of the entire U.S. adult population was once churched and now has dropped out and disconnected from any organized church. That’s a population of 65 million adults.
With that kind of exodus, it’s difficult for any…
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