Several recent studies reveal that churches across America are hemorrhagingthey are losing members at a life-threatening rate. Intrigued and disturbed by what appears to be an epidemic, Julia Duin, a religion reporter for the Washington Times, amassed research on the issue, interviewed many who have left church, and attended numerous churches in hopes of making sense of this phenomenon.
Quitting Church reveals the startling findings of her research. It explains to church leaders why this mass exodus is happeningand what can be done to reverse it. Beginning with the cold, hard facts, Duin then takes readers through a number of issues that influence a person's decision to leave the church, including irrelevancy, hidden suffering, family-centric programming that leaves singles out, impersonal or bland worship services, a lack of biblical literacy, and much more. This eye-opening book will be essential reading for pastors, ministry leaders, and churchgoers who wish to bring these disenchanted Christians back into their midst.
|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Julia Duin is religion editor for the Washington Times. For seven years she edited the Times' prominent "Culture, Etc." which has become known for its timely articles on national trends. Duin lives in Falls Church, Virginia.
Table of Contents
The Flood Outward: Why So Many Good People Are Leaving 9
The Irrelevant Church: Give Them a Reason to Be Here 27
Searching for Community: What We Really Wish Church Could Be 47
Emergence and Resurgence: Adjusting to the Twenty-first Century 67
The Loneliest Number: Why Singles over Thirty-five Are Saying Good-bye 83
Not So Solid Teaching: Why Christians Cannot Exit the Obstetrics Ward 101
Is the Pastor the Problem?: Or Is the Whole System Broken? 117
The Other Sex: Why Many Women Are Fed Up 135
Bewildered Charismatics: Looking for the Spirit in a Parched Land 151
Bringing Them Back: If They Want to Come 169
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Review: by Stephanie S. Sawyer
By Julia Duin, Religion Editor, The Washington Times
Baker Books 2008 ISBN 978-0-8010-6823-2
When Julia Duin, Religion Editor of The Washington Times, gave us Quitting Church, she filled a void oft felt by scores of parishioners and former congregants that is simply not heard in the institution of the church. We have waited for this book a long time.
Julia defines and brings to light what thousands of us who are fleeing already know deep within. (¿It was not enriching their experience of God,¿ p.170). Quitting Church will not only enlighten those staff who will dare to read it, but also break the isolation of those who know the despair of the loss so deeply felt after having known the glory of what a church can be.
Julia reveals the depth of the errant attitudes in the church today as it has drifted from the powerful proclamative and charismatic draws known forty to fifty years ago at the height of the Jesus Movement. The church¿s appeal through open community, discipleship development, worship in the Spirit, and spontaneous living from the 60¿s to the 80¿s has subsided into ritualized liturgy as scandal rocked the leadership. Rebounding the broken congregations revealed little but lack of pastoral care, skeptical staff unwilling to visit parishioners, and a lack of Biblical teaching for the sake of winning over a growing culture focus population. `Openness to the Spirit¿ during a service with its spontaneous worship became a grasped memory despite present desire. Those grounded in the Jesus Movement fled having known the fullness of what the church can truly be.
Every pastor, every priest, and all staff authority should read Quitting Church for the sake of growing community within the flock. Health of the parish, pitfalls in direction, and discernment in leadership are all covered by one of our nations finest religion writers.
I was raised in a denominational church, baptized as an infant, confirmed in elementary school, an acolyte, a regular at Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, a member of the youth group, the youth representative to my church's district, a frequent traveller to youth retreats, a short-term missionary, active in parachurch and homeless ministries, and an avid fundraiser with aspirations to the ordained ministry. Why did I quit my church and childhood denomination? Why did I quit so many other churches in my life? This book detailed the myriad reasons why I and other faithful Christians quit. I was hooked in the first chapter when Duin wrote of a legally blind man, a single mother of three, and a man who lives in my city, all who quit church. I am friends with a legally blind woman as well as a single mother of two, who have had a hard time since they moved here. I and other Christians have helped them out greatly, but there has been much disappointment among our churches, too, touching on their lives. Please, please read this book, even if you think you know why people have quit your church and why they should not have quit your church. Duin writes of denominations and spiritual practices you may not like, but you may still discover spiritual and emotional blindspots your congregation needs to address so otherwise faithful Christians will not look for greener pastures elsewhere...or leave permanently, never to return to any church anywhere.
A disturbing book but one that should be read by pastors. Warning--you may just throw in the towel if you are a pastor. Duin has great insight and examples but she writes from the perspective of one who was a church drop-out herself.
A very challenging book for someone who has been in pastoral ministry for over thirteen years. Recommended reading for both clergy and laity.
The author, Julia Duin, is a career reporter on religious issues. She is currently Religion Editor for the Washington Times. This book is an attempt to explain a phenomenon that she, her siblings, and a number of her friends have experienced in recent years -- that of becoming disaffected with their evangelical congregations and of trying to maintain a satisfactory spiritual life either outside of, or in spite of, an established church. The majority of examples she shares, including her own, are of baby boomers who came of age during the Jesus Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.The subtitle of the book is too long. The author provides many reasons for and examples of people who are fleeing evangelical churches, but she doesn't adequately address the second half of the subtitle: what to do about it. Even the last chapter, "Bring Them Back: If They Want to Come" is merely a rehash of the same topics addressed earlier in the book, presenting more examples of people who have left their churches and more recent research on this trend.The book is repetitive in places, possibly due to its organization. Some chapters deal with common reasons people are leaving church, such as their perception of it as irrelevant, the lack of community, shallow teaching, and the inadequacy of the pastor, while other chapters focus on demographic groups such as singles, women, and Charismatics. Some of the groups have similar motivations for leaving the church that include its irrelevancy, lack of community, shallow teaching, and pastoral control, which the author had already addressed.There is certainly value in the book. The author is a skilled reporter and knows how to research social trends. In addition to recounting personal interviews with acquaintances and well-known evangelical writers and researchers, she summarizes recent research reports and evangelical literature (both periodical and book-length) that support her argument. Church leaders and educators can benefit from her literature review and source list as well as the anecdotal evidence she presents.What the book lacks is a discussion of ecclesiology -- a theology of the church. I believe that any discussion of what the church ought to be or do should be rooted in Scripture. While the author does make a few allusions to biblical themes, the first of the rare Scriptural references in the 180 pages of text is found on page 50. Readers will need to look to other sources for this discussion -- either to the works of theologians, or, even better, Scripture itself.
Reads easy while it is good information it reads like many articles strung together. Her bios shows all through, cover to cover, tainting the information she desires to place before one. This book could have been written in 30 pages or less.