Pastor Chris Sonksen of the multi-campus South Hills Church in Southern California wants you to “quit church,” but not in the way you might think.
In his recently released book, Quit Church: Because Your Life Would Be Better If You Did, Sonksen is urging Christians to quit their laissez-faire attitude toward their commitment to church and the things of God that has been resulting in declining church attendance over the last few decades.
“At a time when church attendance is shrinking in America, I, a pastor, am encouraging people to quit church. Why? The answer is birthed out of conversations and research I’ve been a part of over the last several years,” Sonksen explained in an excerpt from the book published by Fox News.
Drawing on his years of experience training pastors and church leaders from around the country through his leadership platform, ChurchBOOM, Sonksen argues that quitting casual church attendance and commitment to the things of God could help revolutionize the church.
“Casual attendance and the belief that others will serve, give and share the Gospel are tearing down churches across our country brick by brick. As believers, it’s time that we are either all in or we get out. The solution is simple: quit!” he argued. “… If we quit the casual way we approach God’s principles can you imagine what would happen in our personal walks of faith and in our community of believers?”
In an interview with Fox News, Sonksen added: “There are so many things God wants to do in all of our lives but we miss out on so much because of our sort of casual approach toward the principles of God and what the local church provides and being involved with that local church.”
In a recent clip on church growth posted to his ChurchBoom Facebook page, Sonksen noted that growing churches focused on a number of key areas including children.
“They are really big about kids, they are focused on kids and attracting young families. The second thing is they work really hard to get people into smaller gatherings. Home groups, small groups … because they realize that people come for the message but they stay for the relationships,” he said.
He further noted two other leading attributes of growing churches are leadership building and fewer staff.
“They work hard at developing and empowering leaders. You’ve gotta do that,” he noted. “And I’m not just talking about deputizing a leader and saying you’re a leader and now you’re in charge of this. I’m talking about actually raising up leaders, reading books, getting you and your team coaching.”
Churches that aren’t growing, he said, tend to have staff managing programs that they shouldn’t be doing anymore.
“But in growing churches, they have less staff because they are focused on less programs. There are just a few things that they’re doing right and that’s something to consider,” Sonksen said.
While one-third of the customer reviews of the book on Amazon gave the book a five-star rating and a similar share gave the book just one star, reviewer Joan N. who reviewed a complimentary copy of the book gave it three stars.
“If you want a book that encourages you to be committed to your local church and very active in it, this book is for you. If you are looking for a book to help you with your own spiritual life and an intimate relationship with the Father, you will need to look elsewhere,” she wrote.
“I was an individual who was very active in church, teaching twice a week while also serving on the church board, much to the detriment of my own spiritual life. So I have difficulty liking this book. I feel there is much more to an intimate relationship with the Father than being busy in your local church and laughing at your pastor’s jokes even when they’re not funny,” she added.