People read for different reasons. Some read for pleasure and to relieve stress. Some read for information. Still others read with a desire to learn something that can change their lives. I am of the latter. If I read a book and gain insight on becoming a better husband, father, pastor, or witness then I consider my time in that book was not wasted.
If you have a passion and desire to know what and how the unchurched person thinks, I would like to recommend a book to you. That book is: The Unchurched Next Door by Thom Rainer. (By now you have figured out that I enjoy Rainer’s work). The book is centered around research conducted with 306 unchurched people in all 50 states and Canada, across all ethnic groups, all social backgrounds, all educational levels and ages. Simply put, the research team spent hundreds of hours listening to the unchurched. Researchers asked questions about their belief in key areas such as the existence of heaven/hell, who God and Jesus are to them, the reliability of the Bible, their prayer life, and possible church attendance.
The research was compiled and the responses were groups into one of five faith stages. This rating became known as the Rainer Scale. It looks like this:U5 – Highly resistant to the gospel, antagonistic attitude U4 – Resistant to the gospel, but not an antagonistic attitude U3 – No apparent receptivity, neutral, perhaps open to discussion U2 – Receptive to the gospel and to the church U1 – Highly receptive to the gospel, “the Philipian jailer”
This book, in my opinion, does a fantastic job of dealing with three key areas that I feel the church today struggles to understand. First, a thorough description is given as to what the unchurched look like at every faith level. Second, recommendations are given on how to interact with the unchurched at every faith stage. Third, suggestions on how to move an unchurched person down the scale toward increased receptivity. This book has led me to change the way I personally look the unchurched. They are not all alike. Information is power. If you have a heart for those not yet connected to God’s church, you will be encouraged by this book.