'Dechurched' need to find the good in 'good news'

Zoe Greszler • Feb 16, 2016 at 3:00 PM

If you had to guess a percentage of how many Americans attended some sort of “God Space” or church, how high would it be?

You may be surprised.

According to author, speaker and chaplain Doug Pollock’s studies, only about 20 percent attend some sort of God space regularly, or three out of four Sundays. Pollock said parts of Canada and Europe are in even worse shape, at only 10 percent attending regularly.

This led him, like many, to ask ‘Why?’ Pollock thinks he may have found the answer and a possible solution, one he will be sharing with Norwalk’s First Presbyterian Church on Feb. 28, after which the church intends to start a six-week application of Pollock’s suggestions based on his latest book, “God Space.”

Pollock said he wrote the book after he realized not many were viewing ‘the good news of God’ as good at all.

“I wrote the book after going to 39 different countries and through most of the U.S. I have been sobered, I guess, by the present reality of what is going on with the church and the message,” Pollock said. “A large number of people are leaving the church. They’re calling it the ‘dechurched movement.’ I wondered, ‘What’s happening to the world’s greatest message? Why has God’s good news become bad news to so many?’”

Pollock said churches may not enjoy the answer.

“Churches don’t want or like to hear this but it’s like with the political campaign, how the candidates are racked and scrutinized,” he said. “If the churches were scrutinized in the same way, and we picked apart everything they’re saying like with these candidates we find a lot of things.”

Pollock said churches “reduce” the good news of God by the way they deliver it, “causing pain.” He said it can happen in an everyday conversation as well.

“Chapter 10 in my book is titled ‘spiritual conversation killers.’ Sometimes the way we deliver something that’s meant to be helpful can be very off putting,” he said.

“They say the two things you don’t talk about when you first meet someone are politics and religion because when someone says something about those two topics we tend to lose civility and begin shouting at one another. We tell them ‘Well, I’m right.’ which means they must be wrong.”

Pollock said he and his wife and two sons travel to a different God space each Sunday and share what he has learned to create a better conversation, one where those leading services “learn to listen more than speak.”

First Presbyterian Church is located at 21 Firelands Blvd.

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