I’ve always had the “unchurched” in my mind in my personal readiness to “reach out” and more and more the reality of the “dechurched” forces me to decide on how I may respond to them. Both terms may sound “impersonal” (I admit that), but the people whom are connected to us are human beings with genuine hurdles, hurts and struggles. And the fact is even I myself is but another “wounded healer” (to use Nouwen’s term). I too am also in the ongoing process of “restoration”.
Consider the following words well said:
Some of us who continue to labor hard and long within the church identify with the alienation and pain the dechurched feel. We, too, bear the scars of commitment. We, too, react negatively at times to the “God-talk” that surrounds us. We, too, yearn for the day when personal healing and justice-making will be everyday experiences in the life of the church.
That very identification can enhance our efforts to accompany the dechurched on the road toward healing and wellness. It also provides the unique opportunity to experience, in their transformation, our own transformation as well.