I was reminded last week over supper of last Spring’s Barna survey about church attendance. He mentioned that 28% of the population is “unattached” from a church, although two thirds of those claim to be Christian (a fifth claim to be born-again). Another 18% attend only sporadically or are homebound.

I’ve seen other surveys that suggest that half of those who claim to attend a church on a weekly basis (Barna’s 58%) do so in a non-traditional church setting. They are involved in workplace Bible studies, or a neighborhood gathering, or a weekly prayer breakfast. Traditional church just doesn’t work for them.

I have a friend from college that runs one of those non-traditional churches. It’s a MySpace cyber church. He blends worship videos from youTube and a podcast of his “normal” church sermon. And then his cyber parishioners will comment on the sermon, and he will dialog back. And from the profiles of some of those, they wouldn’t be comfortable in my church.

My brother runs another online community. He, too, is one not comfortable with the way most churches are run. So he hosts an online discussion board. There’s a prayer “room” and a Bible study area. These people, generally, don’t fit the mold of what we think of as church people.

There’s a lot more of them than there are of us who lead the normal model of church.

What will we do to capture them?

To begin with, I recommend you read Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. It’s an unconventional confessional of a man who doesn’t quite fit in the traditional mold, yet he is able to experience God, live out his faith, and share a saving word with those who are unreachable by our 4-Laws evangelism.

The main theme of that book, and my dinner conversation with my brother, is that we must be real, must accept others for who they are and enter into their world enough to hand them a lifeline into our world.

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