Tag Archives: The Dones

The Dones: Finding Each Other

This is the third in a series about the demographic called The Dones and their exploration of simple church. A version of this article appears at www.summithome.org.

Having just celebrated Pentecost, the birth of the church, I’ve been thinking about the trajectory of those early believers. Those were heady days! People being swept into the kingdom; discovering a new love for each other; sharing their goods; eating, praying, and learning from house to house and in the public spaces of the temple.

Exciting stuff!

Then things got dangerous. Saul started breathing threats against the followers of this “Way.” The followers of Jesus were forced to run for their lives (Acts 8:1). The result was astonishing. Everywhere they went they started talking about the wonders they had seen in those early days in Jerusalem after Pentecost. In their enthusiasm these new believers were like dandelion seeds blowing in the wind (Acts 8:4). They may have been on the run, but their message took root wherever they landed. And so, other communities of faith sprang up all over the region; little gatherings of people eager to learn.

The Dones. “Done-delions?”

What about The Dones? Could they be like the early church scattering from Jerusalem? Maybe this apparent exodus of faithful followers from the traditional halls of the church are a new wave of the Kingdom. And why not? By all accounts these folks haven’t lost their faith, only their patience. They want their freedom. And some of them are discovering other “free-range Christians” outside the walls. They haven’t forgotten the importance of gathering with others (Hebrews 10:24-25), they are merely simplifying, meeting without the box.

I’m excited about the possibilities. I would love to hear of the adventures of The Dones. I’m hoping those of us who have been meeting simply can link arms with them. Jesus has promised to be in the midst of those who gather in His name. I think it will be better for him to be in a hundred places among ten than in one place among 1000!

The Dones: About Your Covering

Reposted from The Summit Fellowships site http://summithome.org.

DonesA friend of mine, Wayne Jacobsen, wrote a book he titled, The Naked Church. He took the name from the Children’s fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes in which a king is swindled by a couple of hucksters who convince him that the clothes they could tailor for him would be so fine and special that only the most worthy could even see them. Of course that meant that for anyone to admit that they could not see these kingly garments was to admit being unfit and unworthy. Predictably, nobody said anything, not even he king. Then one day the fine new “clothes” were finished. The phony tailors pretended to place them on the king who marched out of his palace to display what no one dared to admit was his royal birthday suit! Finally, a child, who has nothing to lose by speaking the truth, cries out, “Hey, the emperor hasn’t got anything on!” Suddenly, each person in the crowd realizes they aren’t the only one who can’t see those fine new clothes.

This is what appears to be happening in the church. Not a few of the dones are crying out from their place in the grandstand that something is missing in American evangelicalism. As Jacobsen put it,

The church is naked. Who hasn’t seen its deficiencies and wondered why we keep going on with it? But this is difficult to admit. If it is true, what do we do with our multimillion-dollar mortgages and operating expenses, our singing celebrities and their adoring fans, our committees and their policy statements?

These are faithful Christians who are admitting to themselves, and increasingly to others, that they wish there was more to being a disciple than participating in church programs. Moreover, they have spent years coming to church on Sunday mornings to get taught; Sunday school to get taught; Sunday evenings to get taught; mid-week service to get taught and mid-week Bible studies to get taught. They have concluded teaching and being taught can’t be all there is.

Consequently, the Dones are making what some would call a risky decision. They are setting out to be the church without a “covering.”

In an earlier post I mentioned Hebrews 10:23-25 being used to discourage the dones from leaving their church. The term, “covering,” is another means by which people are counseled to remain in a church organization.

My first recollection of the idea of a spiritual covering was toward the end of the Jesus People Renewal of the 70s. The term was part of what was called the “shepherding movement.” The idea was that God had placed levels of authority in the church as protection against error, pride and arrogant individualism. At least that was the idea. As people attempted to apply the principles of that movement, it became a tool for manipulation and control.

With the passage of time, the shepherding movement was discredited and faded. Still, vestiges of it remain, including the concept of covering. I hear it mostly when I talk to the dones who are curious about doing church simply. They want to know how about heresy and false doctrine springing up in groups without a covering. I point out we have been going for 25 years and that hasn’t been an issue. People with hair-brained ideas may show up, but it isn’t long before they realize that the group isn’t much interested so they promptly move on.

The fact is, we should be gathering together as matter of sonship, and we don’t need to trust an organization with policy statements and paid professionals, to keep us tracking—to be our covering. We need Jesus, the scriptures, the Holy Spirit and one another to live as disciples.

The question is, though, how do “the Dones” fit in to that?

Dones on the Run . . . But Where?

This post also appeared at http://summithome.org

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)

I keep hearing about a new demographic. They are called, “The Dones.” They are people who, though followers of Jesus, are tired of church. They are done with that. Somewhere along the line, they realized they felt like college students who forgot to graduate. They began to wonder when the weekly lectures would give way to “life in the real world.” Continue reading Dones on the Run . . . But Where?