I’m Matt Johnson, and I’m the Founder of Spiritually Homeless.
After 17 years of church work and vocational ministry, I resigned from a senior staff role at a local mega-church. It brought a completely unexpected sense of freedom. It also brought significant space to reevaluate my faith, my church experience, and the modern church at large. I began a yearlong journey (that continues today…) of deconstructing my faith, breaking down the traditions and assumptions of religion I’d developed over the years, and striving to rebuild something healthy in it’s place.
After I left my ministry job, I dreaded the common question I got with great frequency – “Where are you going to church these days?” My typical response was as PC (politically correct) as I could make it – “I’m taking some time to rest and figure out what church looks like for me as I go forward.” Internally, it was a much more complicated answer, but I wasn’t ready to dump all that on well meaning people. Meanwhile, I didn’t attend anywhere consistently. When I did, I felt like a fish-out-of-water in a world that was once my norm.
As I’d answer peoples’ question, I got two pretty common responses – “I’m praying for you, I hope you find a new church home soon…” or “Yeah, I totally get it! I’m also wrestling with church these days.” I could see a visible change in the demeanor and response of the second group. It was as if we had just exchanged a greeting in a top-secret organization and we could now relax knowing we were amongst friends. The conversations that followed were some of the most honest, genuine, and transparent discussions about faith, life, and the modern church that I’ve ever had.
If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you can relate.
As I spent some time wrestling with Evangelical church practices, the representation of “Evangelical Christianity” in our culture today, and some of my own painful experiences in ministry leadership, I came to feel very spiritually homeless. I knew I loved Jesus, I knew that His Church still had value, but I really struggled to see where I fit anymore.
I felt lost among the saved.
I began to share these challenges with a safe group of people that over time identified as having similar faith struggles of their own. Some common feelings and pain points began to emerge. The framework of the “Spiritually Homeless Field Guide” came from my own path out of the spiritual wilderness as well as the common themes that helped these other believers to work through their own wrestlings.
Through this journey so far, I’ve identified a few things that are foundational to my faith and to the creation of Spiritually Homeless.
- Jesus is my anchor.
- I still need community.
- My faith has to grow or it will wither.
- I am called to show Christ-like love.
- I’ve got to do something with what I say I believe.
- I am more and more aware of what I don’t know.
I know first hand how challenging this season of faith can be for believers. I also know from my time in ministry and from lots of external research that the demographic of people leaving the American Evangelical Church is growing rapidly. People are walking away from church more now than ever before. For many, there’s no next step. It’s into the abyss of being Spiritually Homeless. Most still love Jesus and want to follow Him, they just don’t know how to do it well within or alongside church as they know it.
I was one of those people. Maybe you are too. I’ve created Spiritually Homeless to tell you two things…
1 – You’re not alone.
2 – There’s hope and a path forward.
Join us as we move forward together in hope, empathy, and community.
-Founder, Spiritually Homeless