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Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do about It Paperback – September 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801072271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801072277
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,184,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Duin brings two kinds of experiences to bear in this engaging little jeremiad: as religion editor for the Washington Times, she is in her element marshaling statistics, interviewing authors and clergy, and commenting on the trend of faithful evangelicals who increasingly vote with their feet by leaving their churches. But she's also a self-described born-again evangelical herself, coping with the personal pain of not having a viable and permanent church home. Drawing heavily on research by pollster George Barna, Duin diagnoses a widespread dissatisfaction among evangelicals, who feel their churches do a decent job with new Christians but fall far short with mature believers. In particular, Duin shows, women and singles are leaving churches in ever-greater numbers. (As a single woman herself, she discusses her own experiences with being marginalized while successfully evoking a larger context through research and polls.) Duin has some prescriptions to help with these problems, including meatier sermons that address real issues; house churches and micro-churches that foster more genuine community; and even in-church matchmaking services to help singles who want to find a mate. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

As a successful religion reporter, Julia Duin has heard from many--and experienced in her own life--the difficulty of feeling connected to churches that too often seem disconnected from real-life pressures and unresponsive to personal needs. Yet she was surprised to discover just how many, from all walks of life, are simply giving up and quitting the traditional church altogether. Her journalistic yet personal exploration of this church-leaving epidemic offers pastors and church leaders a helpful first step in understanding and engaging the true spiritual and practical needs of church-weary and church-less believers. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Every Pastor should read this book.
derek fawcett
I appreciate that this book was written from the standpoint of research as well as personal experience.
Sue
For all I know, all of these people are correct and their pastors are too controlling.
Tom C. Abella

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Tom C. Abella on March 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to this book, but quickly found myself disappointed with the methodology used in it. Duin begins well enough by stating the problem: more and more Americans are leaving their churches (both in weekly service attendance and in outside activities). The follow-up point is well-made and certainly interesting: those who are leaving their church are not abandoning their faith, but are seeking alternative avenues to understand and explore it (such as attending "house churches" or doing their own research).

However, after this intriguing start, the remainder of the book feels flimsy. In chapter after chapter, we hear one description after another of (a) reasons people give for leaving their church, (b) inventive new paths that some people are trying, and (c) recent history of failed attempts at inventiveness. The real failure is in Duin's inability to make persuasive judgments (indeed, almost any judgments) about anything beyond the complaints of people who have left their church.

Page after page after page is filled with direct quotes from people who have left their church, with their own opinions, memories and anecdotes being presented as fact (often following up a poll or study). Time and again we hear about people leaving their church because the pastor was "too controlling." In my own experience, such claims are often made by people who present unworkable, poorly-planned or -executable ideas and are rejected. Duin, unfortunately, piles these anecdotes together as though they were actual evidence.

Let me stop for a moment and state something clearly: I don't have any idea whether or not most pastors are, indeed, too controlling.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Evangelical2 on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Sunday Morning, Staying Home
By TERRY EASTLAND
September 2, 2008; Page A21

Quitting Church
By Julia Duin
(BakerBooks, 186 pages, $17.99)
[Sunday Morning, Staying Home]

By now we know that evangelical Protestants -- generally supportive of Republican candidates but eagerly courted by Democrats this year -- are a crucial voting bloc in the November election. Thus it was big news when Rick Warren, the evangelical megachurch pastor, recently asked both John McCain and Barack Obama about their religious beliefs, in part to address the concerns of church-going "value voters." But what about the evangelicals themselves? Is all well within their communities? Is their own passion for church-going as strong as their supposed political passion?

According to Julia Duin, a religion reporter for the Washington Times, more and more evangelicals are in fact fleeing their churches. Indeed, Ms. Duin regards church-quitting, at least among evangelicals, as nothing less than an epidemic. The problem, in her view, is not in the souls of the church quitters but in the character of the churches they choose to leave. "Something," she observes, "is not right with . . . evangelical church life."

The faults she points to -- relying on her own reporting and survey data -- are many. They are surprising, too, running counter to the stereotype of evangelicals bonding happily in their churches.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie S. Sawyer on February 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Review: by Stephanie S. Sawyer

Quitting Church
By Julia Duin, Religion Editor, The Washington Times
Baker Books 2008 ISBN 978-0-8010-6823-2

When Julia Duin, Religion Editor of The Washington Times, gave us Quitting Church, she filled a void oft felt by scores of parishioners and former congregants that is simply not heard in the institution of the church. We have waited for this book a long time.

Julia defines and brings to light what thousands of us who are fleeing already know deep within. ("It was not enriching their experience of God," p.170). Quitting Church will not only enlighten those staff who will dare to read it, but also break the isolation of those who know the despair of the loss so deeply felt after having known the glory of what a church can be.

Julia reveals the depth of the errant attitudes in the church today as it has drifted from the powerful proclamative and charismatic draws known forty to fifty years ago at the height of the Jesus Movement. The church's appeal through open community, discipleship development, worship in the Spirit, and spontaneous living from the 60's to the 80's has subsided into ritualized liturgy as scandal rocked the leadership. Rebounding the broken congregations revealed little but lack of pastoral care, skeptical staff unwilling to visit parishioners, and a lack of Biblical teaching for the sake of winning over a growing culture focus population. `Openness to the Spirit' during a service with its spontaneous worship became a grasped memory despite present desire. Those grounded in the Jesus Movement fled having known the fullness of what the church can truly be.

Every pastor, every priest, and all staff authority should read Quitting Church for the sake of growing community within the flock. Health of the parish, pitfalls in direction, and discernment in leadership are all covered by one of our nations finest religion writers.
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