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A Churchless Faith:

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Christian nfd(4) 431,547. 470,442. 553,386. Presbyterian, ... 30% non church backgrounds. 80% Involved for 11 yrs (over 18yrs) - average 15.8 yrs ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A Churchless Faith:


1
A Churchless Faith We shall not cease from
exploration and the end of our exploring will be
to arrive where we started and know it for the
first time. T.S. Eliot (194543)
2
(No Transcript)
3
  • Simon Jones - Why Bother with Church
    (1998/2001)
  • David Tomlinsons -Post evangelical (1995)
  • Fanstones -The Sheep that Got Away (1993)
  • Hendricks - Exit Interviews (1993)
  • Richter and Francis study - Gone But not
    Forgotten (1998)
  • Peter Brieleys - The Tide is Running Out
    (2000)
  • Gordon Lynchs After Religion (2002)
  • Gordon Lynch Losing my Religion (2003)

4
. . .shows a haemorrhage akin to a burst artery.
The country is littered with people who used to
go to church but no longer do. We could well
bleed to death. The tide is running out. At the
present rate of change we are one generation away
from extinction Peter Brieley The Tide is
Running Out (2000236)
5
Western World Phenomena
6
The New Zealand Situation
7
  • 268,000sq km (UK 244,000)
  • Over 50 farming
  • 13 Alpine terrain
  • Population 4 million people
  • 72 European, 15 Maori
  • 6 Pacific Island, 5 Asian
  • 80 live in cities
  • Over 50 in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch
    Hamilton

Highest Mountain Mount Cook 3,754m
8
(No Transcript)
9
The New Zealand Context
  • Never more than 20 attending church
  • Highpoint 1950s and early 1960s
  • Presbyterian Church Average Attendance
  • 1960 119 041
  • 1990 52 780

10
The New Zealand Context
  • 20 of all NZs are over 60 years
  • 41 of church attenders are over 60 years
  • 20 of all NZs are between 20-29 years
  • 8 of all church attenders are between 20-29
    years
  • Average age of Baptists 45 years
  • Average age of Anglicans 59 years
  • Average age of Methodists 61 years

11
108 Leavers
  • 50 Men 58 Women
  • 79 married - 21 single
  • (11 previously married)
  • 70 between 35-45 years of age
  • 12 over 45 yrs
  • 14 30-35 years
  • 4 under 30 yrs

12
  • 88 of men 60 women in
  • full- time paid employment
  • 68 held tertiary qualifications
  • 31 Bachelor 23 Diploma, 6 Certificate,
  • 5 Masters, 3 PH.D.
  • (NCLS -25 Baptists had a degree)

13
Church Involvement
  • Prior Church Involvement
  • Background
  • 28 Strong church background
  • 40 nominal
  • 30 non church backgrounds
  • 80 Involved for 11 yrs
  • (over 18yrs) - average 15.8 yrs
  • 94 Significant Leadership
  • positions

14
Leadership Positions
  • 54 Church Governance
  • 70 Home Group Leaders
  • 47 Youth Leaders
  • 25 Children
  • 35 Worship
  • 48 Evangelistic or Community
  • groups
  • 54 Prayer

15
Full-time Involvements
  • 32 Full-time (paid) Christian work
  • 19 Full-time Christian study
  • Combined fulltime - 40

16
Primary Churches Left
  • 58 Pentecostal
  • 34 Charismatic Baptist
  • 7 Charismatic Protestant
  • (non Baptist)

17
What can we say about the leavers?
  • Leaving charismatic Pentecostal
  • churches
  • Primarily between 35-45 years of age
  • Not fringe but key leaders
  • Involved for long periods of time -15.8yrs

18
Displaced Followers
n19
Hurt Angry
  • Dependent Relationship
  • Received Faith
  • Un-examined Faith
  • Bold

19
Exiles
n32
  • Counter Dependency

20
Exiles
n32
  • Counter Dependency
  • Deconstruction of faith
  • Reflective, questioning
  • Hesitant

21
Exiles
n32
  • Counter Dependency
  • Deconstruction of faith
  • Reflective, questioning
  • Hesitant

22
Transitionals
n19
  • Inner dependency
  • Reconstruction of faith
  • Emerging self ownership
  • Strengthening

23
Transition to alternative faith
n7
New Age (2)
Agnostic(5)
24
Integrated Way-finders
n30
  • Inter-dependency
  • Integrated Faith
  • Autonomous Faith
  • Strong

25
(Denis) - Why have we got immune systems built
into us genetically if before the fall there was
no disease. Well God put them there because he
knew it was going to happen. Well if God knew it
was going to happen he is a damn macabre person.
Why the hell did Jesus have to die? - Because God
knew we were going to sin. - Oh so no! God didnt
know we were going to sin he made it perfectly,
and then oh shit what can I do, excuse me Jesus
can you pop down there and hop on the cross we
have got to sort this blimmen thing out, I didnt
think of that one. It is just expediency it makes
God thick or macabre, it doesnt work (122.163).
26
(Denis) - And you can sit in church with
reductionist answers, but your heart cant be in
them anymore so you have to find out, so you
start going on this journey and there are
answers. That is the wonderful thing. There are
people out there who are thinking about it . . .
this damn dude has written a book that is only
that thick (holding his hands up to show the
spine of a book1 less than a centimetre wide)
but it kicks your heart like nothing. You can
trust this stuff, its biblical, you can see it
on the pages of the book. It is coherent. It is
not all, these bloody dualistic, and it is
utterly real in terms of your own heart
-suffering- and the issues of the world and the
struggles of the world. And it fires on all
cylinders (122.178-179). 1 A commentary to the
book of Job.
27
(Rob) - I think my faith now is far more
personally profound than its ever been. I, I
have faced doubts at the end, at the short end of
a gun as it were, twice in the last few months.
And Ive done it with complete confidence and
faith. Ive been quite prepared to die with a
good understanding of the character of God. And
Ive felt no fears of, goodness what a bummer of
a time to have a heart attack! Just as youve
left church you know . . . thrown away the
winning ticket. . . . I have not felt like that.
I have felt total confidence that I am closer to
God now than I have ever been, even though Ive
pulled away from all the things Im supposed to
do (95.313).
28
(Michelle) - What is my faith and who do I
believe? (I) came down to the nuts and bolts and
said I do believe. . . I believe him to be good
and true and holy and pure and loving. . . at
this stage like Job I had laid my hand on my
mouth and (am) having nothing much to say.
Because He's bigger than I thought he was I feel
I need to get to know him in a much bigger way.
Part of my journey now is to accept that I am
here. And process my thoughts...usually telling
him in my musings, thoughts and feelings. . . .
(I) feel sobered in my spirit . . . might be
grief. . . . I've been changed somehow (4.121
italics mine).
29
Alternative Faith (7)
Displaced (19)
Exiles (32)
Transitionals (19)
Integrated Wayfinders (30)
30
SPCK - 2004
SPCK - 2002
31
  • aj_at_paradise.net.nz

32
  • What can we learn from the Leavers?
  • - Challenges to the church -

33
Leavers Said
It would have helped if the church
  • Provided places to explore, question and to doubt
  • Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your
    heart and try to love the questions themselves.
    Do not now seek answers, which cannot be given
    you because you would not be able to live them.
    And the point is, to live everything, live the
    questions now. Perhaps you will gradually,
    without noticing it, live along some distant day
    into the answer.
  • Rainer Maria Rilke

34
Anne-Marie - I strongly believe that doubt is
not indicative of a faith that is weak. Doubt is
inevitable. Its human and its honest. To have
the freedom to voice that doubt without being
judged is so important. To have the courage to
explore the doubt, that is what gives faith its
strength. Faith has to be dynamic, not static,
because life grinds on and its experiences
continually mould us. Our faith has to be able to
incorporate what we experience of our world
otherwise it is based on nothing that has any
meaning to us.(Journeying in Faith In and
Beyond the Tough Places)
35
To come to what you know notYou must go by the
way where you know not . . .To come to what you
are notYou must go by a way where you are
not.St John of the Cross
36
Leavers Said
It would have helped if the church
  • Provided places to explore, question and to doubt
  • Included a theology of journey

37
Alternative Faith (7)
Displaced (19)
Exiles (32)
Transitionals (19)
Integrated Wayfinders (30)
2-3 3 3-4 4 4-5 5-
Fowlers Stages of Faith
38
Faith Stage Theorists
  • Teresa of Avila Interior Castle
  • St John of the Cross
  • Fitz Oser
  • Heinz Streib
  • John Westerhoff
  • Mary Wilcox
  • M. Scott Peck
  • Mrs. Penn-Lewis The Four Planes of Spiritual
    Life,
  • Madame Guyon Spiritual Torrents
  • Sam Keen The Passionate Life Stages of Loving

39
Prof James W. Fowler
40
Faith
  • Verb not a noun trusting, loving, believing,
    suffering, acting etc
  • Not focused on content knowing, valuing
  • Faith is the way we shape and form our lives in
    their totality.
  • Faith includes the passional and the
    intellectual.

41
Faith Development
  • A dance with two steps
  • Conversion - radical and dramatic changes that
    occur in our centres of value, power and master
    story. This conversion process is the process of
    transformation and intensification of faith.
  • Development -involves a less radical, maturing,
    similar to the biological process of maturation.

42
Cautions
  • The descriptions of stages are still shots in a
    complex and dynamic process.
  • The staging of a person is not an evaluative
    scale.

43
Primal Stage
44
Stage One The Innocent
45
Stage Two The Literalist
46
Stage Three The Loyalist
47
Stage Four The Critic
48
Stage Five The Seer
49
Stage Six The Saint
50
What is the goal?For each person to open
themselves , as radically as possible within the
structures of their present stage to synergy with
Gods Spirit.
51
Transition between Stages
  • During stage transition points a major change in
    the basis of our operations of faith occur.
  • Radical upheavals in our faith operations.
  • Do not necessarily involve a change in the
    contents of ones faith beliefs.
  • Is a difficult and often painful process.
  • May seem like being at sea, with a loss of all
    anchor points

52
The Transition Experience
53
The Transition Experience
54
The Transition Experience
55
The Transition Experience
56
The Transition Experience
57
(No Transcript)
58
Leavers Said
It would have helped if the church
  • Provided places to explore, question and to doubt
  • Included a theology of journey
  • Understood the leaving process

59
Ebaughs Role Exit Theory
Catalyst
FIRST DOUBTS (Stage 1)
Cuing Behaviour
Negative Reaction
Positive Reaction
Reinforcement of doubts
Re-evaluation of Doubts
60
Ebaughs Role Exit Theory
Seeking Alternatives (Stage 2)
Conscious Cuing
Positive Social Support
Negative Social Support
Shifting reference group /or role rehearsal
Interruption or retarding of process
61
Ebaughs Role Exit Theory
Turning Point (Stage 3)
Announcement to others
  • Catalyst-
  • Specific Events
  • Final Straw
  • Time Factors
  • Excuses
  • Either/ or Alternatives

Reduction of cognitive dissonance mobilisation of
resources
62
(Sarah) - Yes it probably was, my own life style
and work, and the crisis happening around me at
work. And turning thirty, was sort of the final
straw. I cant sit here in church any more. It
doesnt resonate any more (17.115).
63
Turning Points for Leavers
64
Ebaughs Role Exit Theory
Turning Point (Stage 3)
MUTUAL WITHDRAWAL
Announcement to others
  • Catalyst-
  • Specific Events
  • Final Straw
  • Time Factors
  • Excuses
  • Either/ or Alternatives

Reduction of cognitive dissonance mobilisation of
resources
Role Exit
Creating the Ex-Role (Stage 4)
65
Leavers Said
It would have helped if the church
  • Provided places to explore, question and to doubt
  • Included a theology of journey
  • Understood the leaving process
  • Offered assistance in our faith struggles

66
Leavers Said
It would have helped if the church
  • Provided places to explore, question and to doubt
  • Included a theology of journey
  • Understood the leaving process
  • Offered assistance in our faith struggles
  • Modeled other theological understandings
  • Focused on realities rather than shoulds
  • Had more room for emotions, feelings and
    intuitions

67
The number of Post-church groups appears to be
increasing
68
Spirited Exchanges provides a half-way house
69
Building a lean-to
70
  • Not Church
  • Not an alternative form of church
  • Does not fulfill many of the functions and roles
    of church

71
Provides a Safe place to re-assess, critique,
doubt and re-build faith
72
  • Community is a safe place precisely because no
    one is attempting to heal or convert you, to fix
    you, to change you. Instead, the members accept
    you as you are. You are free to be you and being
    so free, you are free to discard masks,
    disguises free to seek your own psychological
    and spiritual health, free to become your whole
    and holy self.
  • M.ScottPeck

73
Groups like ours are places where
  • I can be me
  • I can say what I like and not be rubbished
  • People want to hear what I have to say
  • I can be quiet, and no one will pester me or ask
    that I contribute
  • I can ask questions that I would hesitate to ask
    in a church gathering
  • I feel safe in this group

74
What is Church?
Dealing with the Absence of God
What is Heresy?
Coping with post-charismatic stress disorder
Spiritual Abuse
Worship from chorus singing to tree hugging
Who is God?
Is there a plan or is life a series of random
events
What does it mean to pray? How?
75
Post-church group
Spiritual Direction
Making connections with our church
Just Leave
Go to another church
76
Lean-to that attracts a different grouping of
people
Changes the church as well!
77
Learning from each other
Churches
Post-church Groups
  • Priority to mission
  • Priority to evangelism and conversion
  • Perceive the need to invest in the next
    generation
  • Greater connections with larger conglomerations
    of Christians
  • Perceive the need for energy and risk-taking in
    the name of faith
  • Connection with the emerging post-modern culture
  • Learned from the journey of exile
  • Indicate new ways of structuring the church
  • Openness to people who think differently
  • Broad approach to worship, prayer and bible
    reading
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