Unchurching isn't what you think

The incorrect assumption

Some people think unchurching is merely about moving one’s church experience from a building to a house. But that’s a gross oversimplification. We don’t want a smaller version of the same thing, or a slight tweak to our existing form of church. We didn’t quit going to church, simply because the pastor doesn’t wear blue jeans, or make enough pop culture references, or use Snapchat. Such things are entirely superficial. Therefore, whenever you theorize such things might actually draw us back to big box Christianity, you betray the fact that you don't really understand Christians who are unchurching.

When it comes to church, we not only want a different expression, we want an entirely different experience. We are moving completely against current culture, including the current church culture. What do I mean? Well, let me provide an exaggerated example. Right now, most of us belong to several different peer groups. For some, it might break down like this: we have our family, our co-workers, our neighbors, our friends, our fellow church members, and maybe a few folks we know from an exercise class, a sport, or some other activity.

The reason we find ourselves in so many different circles is because our lives are multiplistic, non-holistic, not integrated at all. Sure, there’s probably some overlap; we might go to church with a few of our friends, or we might go to an exercise class with a few co-workers, and so on. But, for the most part, these different peer groups are distinct. Therefore, we constantly have to choose between investing time with this group, versus that group. That's why we feel so squeezed all the time; there’s just not enough of us to go around. It’s like continually coming up short on payday, and trying to decide which bill doesn’t get paid.

What we really want

The alternative to all this multiplicity is simplicity: a holistic, integrated approach to life, where there's more overlap between our various circles. Like, imagine what our life might have been like only a few generations ago, perhaps on a farm, outside a small town. We would have lived and worked at home, alongside our family and neighbors; these neighbors would have been our friends, whom we also saw at church. Not to mention, the work would have been real labor, instead of a sedentary desk job, so it would have provided all the physical activity we need!

And there you have it: living, working, and worshipping day-to-day, alongside the same community of people, like one big extended family. Yes, that’s an exaggerated example. But it speaks to the heart of what we are yearning for from our church communities: a daily shared life, like the one we read about in the book of Acts; a life where the believers “had everything in common” and met daily, in their own homes.

The real reason we left the organized church wasn't because it wasn't cool enough for us; there simply wasn't enough community for us. Obviously, in today's culture, we won't be able to get all our separate circles to overlap; but we can create as much overlap as possible: to share meals, and resources, and stories, to share as much of our lives as possible, until we are finally living a daily shared life with other believers. Like one big, extended spiritual family.


One more thought

As a special bonus to this post, I want to share something else. When it comes to creating genuine church community, I think Christians who’ve never known church community, outside the organized church box often make the mistake of trying to build “church” before there's any “community” to build upon.

Since the idea of simply hanging out with friends and neighbors seems “unproductive” to the institutionalized Christian mind, many believers who leave the organized church eventually end up alone. They merely wait and hope for some kind of fully-formed church community to come and find them. But I would argue that kind of siloed Christian life is even less productive than a believer who simple hangs out and has fellowship!

So, I would like to give you two homework assignments. One, please listen to this particular episode of The Unchurching Podcast.

And two, check out this commercial.

Yeah, I know it’s just an ad. But I think there’s a lesson here for folks who long for genuine church community. I think creating community is actually much simpler than we realize.

How to leave an iTunes review

Some listeners of The Unchurching Podcast have asked how to leave an iTunes review. Unless (and until) Apple changes the process, here are the steps.

Step One

In the iTunes app, select the iTunes Store.

In the iTunes app, select the iTunes Store.


Step Two

Type "Unchurching" into the search bar and select "The Unchurching Podcast".

Type "Unchurching" into the search bar and select "The Unchurching Podcast".


Step Three

If needed, scroll down.

If needed, scroll down.


Step Four

Click on the thumbnail of The Unchurching Podcast.

Click on the thumbnail of The Unchurching Podcast.


Step Five

Click on the "Ratings and Reviews" tab, then the "Write a Review" button.

Click on the "Ratings and Reviews" tab, then the "Write a Review" button.


Step Six

Sign-in with your Apple ID and leave a rating with a review! NOTE: If you don't have an existing Apple ID or can't remember your information, you should learn more about Apple ID's here first.

Sign-in with your Apple ID and leave a rating with a review!

NOTE: If you don't have an existing Apple ID or can't remember your information, you should learn more about Apple ID's here first.

Latest interviews and reviews

I've had the pleasure of doing several interviews for my book Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity. However, two recent ones that really stand out are my interview with Keith Giles for his subversive1 blog, and my interview with Eric Nevins for his Halfway There podcast.

Not to mention, I was blown away by this book review by Eric Johnson for Theology Mix. Also, if you missed them, you might want to check out this book review by Jeremy Myers, as well as this review by Milt Rodriguez, and this article by Jon Zens.

Many thanks to any and every one who has supported the book, as well as the new Unchurching Podcast (also available on iTunes). You guys have really helped spread the word, and I honestly can't thank you enough.

New site, new focus

It's no secret I've neglected my blog for awhile. But until recently, I didn't share the reason why. I had to put a halt to all my blogging, cartooning, and animation so I could finally finish writing my book, Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity. The only reason I didn't talk about the book while I was working on it was because I didn't know if I actually had what it would take to finish it.

You see, I've actually been working on this book (off and on) for the past fifteen years. But recently, it became painfully obvious that it was never going to see the light of day, unless I stopped everything else and focused 100% of my effort on the book. So that's what I did. And I'm delighted to say, at long last, Unchurching is finished! Hence, the rebranding of my site and all my social media to Unchurching as well.

With this task finally behind me, I suppose I could return to blogging and making animations all the time. I've definitely missed doing that. But as I look ahead at all the work it will take to get the word out about the book, it's clear I need quit trying to be a blogger with a book, and attempt to become an author with a blog. What's the difference? Mostly, it's about how I prioritize my time.

That's another reason I retooled my site. Instead of being a blog-centric site that only mentions my other work as an afterthought, I wanted to put my book and its supporting podcast front-and-center. The only real downside of redoing my site is losing all the comments from my original blog posts. However, I'm definitely going to archive all those great conversations before I turn the lights off on the old place.

Just to be clear, I still plan to make occasional animations and I also plan to leave occasional updates here on this new blog. But I fully intend to spend the bulk of my time spreading the word about my book and building an online community with everyone on my mailing list. (That's something else I've neglected to do very well, until now.)

For those who don't know: the main goal of the mailing list is to collect names and email addresses of everyone who is looking for genuine church community, outside the box. Once enough people sign up and we reach a tipping point, I want to turn this site into a resource for unchurching believers to find one another. That's my pie-in-the-sky dream, of course. Whether or not it actually comes to fruition (and how quickly) is entirely up to you guys.

If my book, videos, cartoons and/or podcast have struck a chord with you, I hope you'll sign up for my mailing list and persuade all your friends to sign up too. I'm fully convinced there's about to be a tectonic shift in the way today's believers view and do church. I sincerely think this is God's plan. Personally, selfishly, I want to see it happen in my own lifetime. If you do too, I hope you'll help spread the word about Unchurching.

So long, Church Anarchist

In 2013, I decided to launch an animated video blog. Obviously, I needed to come up with a name. Since the blog was going to focus on my conviction that churches were never meant to become corporations (like the organized churches we have today), I decided to call the blog Church Anarchist. I wasn't thinking about anarchy in the political sense. I simply wanted a name that screamed no church hierarchy!

Well, that name screamed, all right. Even though people liked the animations, and liked what I had to say about the way we do church, they constantly had questions about the Church Anarchist name. Many were even hoping to get into lengthy political/theological discussions with me. Sadly, they quickly found me to be a very disappointing conversationalist on such matters. I'm very out of my depth when it comes to politics.

Eventually, I decided to "rebrand" my blog and all its accompanying social media accounts. I wanted a name that more accurately reflected what my blog, videos, cartoons (and my eventual book) were really about. It wasn't that I wanted to shy away from controversy. I'm actually quite comfortable with that. The very nature of the stance I take toward the organized church model will always cause a certain amount of controversy.

No, I wasn't looking for a name that was less controversial, just less political. And I found it. Funny thing is, it was the original name I chose years ago, the very first time I thought about launching a blog. The name I chose was Unchurching. (If you want to know where I got that name, just listen to this short podcast episode here.) It was the perfect name for my blog and for my upcoming book, which I just recently finished: Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity.

However, there's a lot more going on here than a simple name change and a new coat of paint. If you want to find out how I'm changing my focus and why, stay tuned for my next blog post. In the meantime, please check out the new site. And if you like what you see, please sign up for my mailing list. And make sure to tell all your friends about Unchurching! (Hopefully, it'll get you in less trouble than trying to tell them about Church Anarchist!)