Book Report: The Unchurched Next Door
“Understanding Faith Stages as Keys to Sharing Your Faith”
Thom S. Rainer, Published 2003
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
When we think of missions we most often think of going to other countries, but there are a lot of people who need to know Jesus right here in the United States. They are our neighbors, co-workers, and family members.
“The Unchurched Next Door” points this fact out very plainly. We make a lot of excuses for not telling the people that we come in contact with everyday about Jesus. We don’t want to offend and we let “our life be our witness.” But, as this book points out there are 17 million people in the US that are open, willing and ready to receive the good news; if only someone would be bold enough to speak up.
Researchers interviewed unchurched volunteers – that is a person that doesn’t attend church and doesn’t profess to be a Christian – and then categorized them according to their faith stage ranging from unchurched 5 (Antagonistic) through unchurched 1 (very open).
Faith Stages of the unchurch that were polled
U5 Antagonistic 5%
U4 Resistant 21%
U3 Neutral 36%
U2 Friendly 27%
U1 Very Friendly 11%
We are often fearful of sharing our faith because of the harsh reactions that may be received from a U5. This book, however, points out that the U5s only comprise of 5% of the unchurched and the harsh reaction expected may not be was is more often received.
This research project took place over a 2 year period with the purpose of arming Christians with knowledge that will help them reach the unchurched in their lives.
There were several surprising findings in this compiled data. One is that most of the unchurched feel guilty about not attending church. It seems that this guilt is built in. It’s obviously not a sermon making them feel guilty. I believe this shows that their spirits are crying out to know God.
Another interesting fact is that 82% are at least “somewhat” likely to attend church if they were invited. When was the last time you invited an unchurched person to your church? Unfortunately the study showed that many of the unchurched have had negative experiences with church or Christians which is the cause for their reluctance.
This book will inspire you to be brave and unashamed of your faith. It will also open your eyes so that you may see the unchurched in a new way.
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