Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions How the Church Can Reach Nominals and Seculars

How the Church Can Reach Nominals and Seculars

To reach Nominals, part of our strategy must be to remind them what it’s worth to be a follower of Jesus and a part of God’s family. Part of that will include connecting them to a church so they can grow from nominalism to deeper faith.

They will need to learn that the body of Christ is of great faith-building benefit from the cradle to the grave, the Word of God is not just a book full of good ideas to live by, Jesus isn’t just a good friend to have in a pinch—He is the Way, the Truth and the Life—the only way to the Father and eternal life.

The difficult part of reaching Nominals lies not usually getting them to see that there is only one way, but in getting them to realize that they are not actually on that way.

The Issue With Seculars

Nominals are the largest group in all English-speaking Western nations. However, the fastest growing group is secular. Actually, although there are many more Nominals, they are actually shrinking and, in many cases, becoming just secular people, without even a nominal attachment to Christianity.

“Seculars,” or the “nones,” are those who have no connection with God and do not claim one. Some of them are honest about this distance. In that sense, they are an easier mission field because they don’t resist the gospel with a false feeling of Christian security. On the other hand, they don’t value the things of God, so we must begin our engagement from a different place.

They are called “nones” because they check “none” under a religion question on a survey. They are just nothing—not generally atheists, just nothing.

I will call them the “Seculars.”

A Secular does not care so much what the Bible says. He or she might agree with some of the Bible’s teachings if those things line up with his view of life, but he or she doesn’t accept anything just because “it’s in the Bible.” If you tell a Secular that something is or is not right because the Bible declares it, you will likely be talking right past him or her.

Seculars may be fine with you being a part of a local church because you find meaning there. But they do not think it’s necessary for them, or anyone else. They think they can find or create their own community to meet any needs that may arise in their life.

Resources for Strategy

Both of these groups need the same Jesus. They need to hear the same gospel. But they require different strategies.

You may end your sermon with an altar call for commitment by saying, “Jesus died on the cross for our sins and in our place. And today, if you are ready to receive Him, your life and eternity will be transformed.”

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is the Dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola Univeristy and Scholar in Residence & Teaching Pastor at Mariners Church. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches; trained pastors and church planters on six continents; earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates; and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the Editor-in-Chief of Outreach Magazine, and regularly writes for news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. Dr. Stetzer is the host of "The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast," and his national radio show, "Ed Stetzer Live," airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates.