the shape of leadership

Who Are the 'Nones'?

Public Religion Research Institute divides this group into 3 categories

Influence Magazine on October 3, 2016

Religious “nones”—that is, people who claim no religious affiliation—have grown to be America’s largest “religious group.” According to Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), one quarter of Americans are “nones,” including almost 40 percent of young adults.


PRRI divides this group into three categories: rejectionists, apatheists and unattached believers.


“Rejectionists, who account for the majority (58 percent) of all unaffiliated Americans, say religion is not personally important in their lives and believe religion as a whole does more harm than good in society. Apatheists, who make up 22 percent of the unaffiliated, say religion is not personally important to them, but believe it generally is more socially helpful than harmful. Unattached believers, who make up only 18 percent of the unaffiliated, say religion is important to them personally.”


The size and youthfulness of the “nones” presents many challenges for the Church as members of this group age and begin families. How do you reach people with the gospel who believe religion is harmful or personally unimportant?


One key is to remember that more than six in ten (61 percent) of unattached believers report they attend church at least a few times a year, even though they don’t feel they belong to a faith group. These “nones” are already sitting in your pews. What is your plan to reach them?

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