Remember that statement? Some of you will, especially if you have ever watched The Andy Griffith Show. Gomer would occasionally give the “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise” line to share his excitement. It’s been a while since I last caught an episode of that show. Can’t seem to find it anywhere.
Anyway, the surprise factor (if you will) of this blog post surrounds some very encouraging news that has recently been published. I sincerely hope you will find it to be as good and refreshing as I have. It pertains to 4 Surprises that have recently been discovered involving the “unchurched” population here in the U.S. So regardless of what some write and blog about, and dismissing the negativity of even certain populations and people in the Church, find hope in what has been uncovered and discovered, but God surely isn’t done with His Church.
The research has been released by Lifeway Christian Resources and Rainer Research, 2011. Here are “4 Suprises” about the unchurched, and to define, the unchurched are those who were once involved and connected to a local church who have left, become deactivated, or have fallen away. Here are 4 things we should find as “good news.”
- The unchurched are not mad at the church. Many, if not most, hold no anger or resentment toward the local body or the local leadership.
- Young and college adults are returning out of obedience to God (ages 18-35). They are seeking God and closer relationships with others and cite that many of the “excuses” and “reasons” they have given for being deactive are actually weak and lame.
- The unchurched, by and large, do not feel awkward about returning. Only 15% mentioned that they would feel uncomfortable while 85% said they are fine with it.
- Affiliation and denominational preferences do not change among those who have left. 64% of those who left would prefer to get active in a church of the same affiliation/denomination.
Praise God for what He is doing and how He is leading! Let’s be sure to encourage those we know, love, work with, and live beside that there is no better time than now to return and come back to the church family — the local hands and feet of Jesus Christ!