Church Dones

The Rise of the Dones.

John is every pastor’s dream member. He’s a life-long believer, well-studied in the Bible, gives generously, and leads others passionately.

But last year he dropped out of church. He didn’t switch to the other church down the road. He dropped out completely. His departure wasn’t the result of an ugly encounter with a staff person or another member. It wasn’t triggered by any single event.

John had come to a long-considered, thoughtful decision. He said, “I’m just done. I’m done with church.”

I had not heard of the term, Dones, before.

What do y’all think?

16 thoughts on “Church Dones

  1. Sounds like someone who has issues with God’s commands for us to meet regularly in fellowship. At first I read dones as drones. I was like what? Hehe.

    • i read it wrong first, too!

      do you think it’s about believers meeting together?
      or, perhaps, about the system(s) we have in place to meet together?

      • I think it’s the systems. A lot of modern churches are simply unhealthy. In some churches there’s too much focus on a popular pastor. Some other churches have an authoritarian, control-oriented method of governance which can lead to spiritual abuse, spiritual control and improper use of church discipline. Some churches embrace questionable doctrines and beliefs. Some churches cater to specific demographics, usually married couples with children, while ignoring other demographic groups like singles and seniors. And some churches don’t place sufficient emphasis on discipleship and helping believers become mature Christians.

        As far as believers meeting together, that doesn’t necessarily mean joining an institutional church as we define church in the second decade of 21st century America. Believers meeting in home fellowships can fulfill that command, and they may have more authentic interactions with other believers than they will in a megachurch where the average parishioner doesn’t even get to shake hands with the senior pastor. Meanwhile, those who’ve been wounded in the church or burned out by church may need to take a break in order to heal.

    • Yep. I don’t think the article provides a definitive answer for this dynamic, but this particular case stuck out:

      “I’m tired of being lectured to. I’m just done with having some guy tell me what to do.”

      Well, perhaps it was the way the pastor did it; I can’t answer for what did or didn’t happen over the years in his case. At the same time, he needs to look at the New Testament. It’s not like Peter and Paul and John didn’t tell the rest of the Church “what to do”. Exhortations, admonitions, and rebukes are as integral to sound preaching as affirmations and encouragements.

      “Telling [people] what to do” is part of the job of the pastor. Some are guilty of overreach–inferring Biblical commands where they do not exist–whereas others are guilty of permissiveness, but none of that negates the duties of pastors, elders, and teachers.

      • yeah … and i think it’s missing a lot of context to that statement. my late Mentor would always say to me, “Don’t believe it just because I told you. Find it on your own in the Bible in three places; let the Bible teach you.”

        was the preacher preaching the bible? or did he have a personal agenda? idk. just speculating based on experience.

  2. Been there. Done that. I’m done now. I can’t imagine going back, anywhere for any reason.

    And the scripture about meeting regularly in fellowship is a totally self-serving attempt by the institutional church to keeps its participation numbers high. The Bible doesn’t say how often to do this. It doesn’t say what you should be doing when you do this. A back yard BBQ is better fellowship than a 2 hour sermon. Yet somehow every church in America has a uniform formula for weekly (twice weekly) attendence, plus sunday school, plus church league sports, plus scouts. And of course and weekly offering plate, when it is more practical in the modern age to simply write a check once a month.

    • Well, the Scripture is what it is; that pastors often abuse it for their self-serving purposes is on them, not on myself being the parishioner.

      I take that as, at the very least, an admonition to Christians to engage in some form of communal worship. Whether that’s the “institutional” Church, whether that’s a home gathering of some sort, or a group of believers gathering at a park, I don’t have a dog in that one.

      I just don’t see a Biblical case for the “lone ranger” approach to the Christian life, and, if anything, the admonition in Hebrews tends to be unfavorable toward that approach.

      • Still done. The absence of the “right church” in modern society is no excuse to continue practice in the wrong ones. The jews no longer have a Temple in Jerusalem and the Gentiles no longer have the churches that the Apostles established except as incidental to the process of having a formal church.

  3. Although I’d never heard the term “Dones” until I read the article, some observers have noticed the trend for a while. Julia Duin wrote a book, Quitting Church, which looked at some of the reasons so many evangelicals were leaving their churches. It’s worth a read. The book was originally published in 2008, but an updated version is available in electronic format.

    • I’m not convinced that this is a new phenomenon, nor am I convinced that the scale of this dynamic is materially worse than any other era.

      I mean goodness…even in the NT, you had Demas….

      And even if you include those who haven’t abandoned the faith but have dropped out of church, I would submit that the writer of Hebrews was addressing that very dynamic.

      Nothing new under the sun.

      • i’m always a bit surprised when the church, in general, comes out panicking that some *new* thing is happening. it’s a simple read of the bible that easily dispels that notion – or even history, in general.

  4. Catholic* here. This article represents the end result of Evangelical shallowness.

    “Me, my Bible and God” does not a Church make. The point of the Church is to participate mystically in the Life/Communion of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is done through the breaking of bread and drinking of wine.

    To do so, the inside must be cleansed in order to partake in a worthy manner. 1 Corinthians and all that.

    I make it sound like the ancient Church is the only ones getting it right, but not really. Church leadership, whether Roman or Greek, is so busy trying to make nice for the secular cameras that the most important message (Jesus Christ or Lake of Fire) is falling by the wayside. (The Russians busy cheerleading for Putin which undermines their otherwise highly conserved message).

    *I’m actually Orthodox but often go Catholic.

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