Missionary Terms

Important Terms for you to know

The Unchurched

An unchurched person is someone who doesn't go to church - and does not grasp the basic teachings of Christianity. They may know the name "Jesus" - and have some vague ideas about forgiveness, faith and salvation - but they largely are ignorant of Christianity. The unchurched make up 23% of all non-church goers in America.

The De-Churched

A de-churched person is someone who used to go to church - but doesn't go anymore. They were actively involved at one time - and were probably quite earnest in their faith - but somewhere along the line because of legalism, spiritual abuse, lazyness or blatant unbelief and sinfulness - they fell away. The dechurched make up 77% of all non-church goers in America.

The Over-Churched

An overchurched person is someone who has not left the church yet - but rather who has become so "institutionalized" by religious thinking and legalism - that they are no longer effective in fulfilling the great commission or living a healthy Christian life. Dr. Brian Tucker - a Professor of New Testament at Moody Theological Seminary - coined this phrase “over-churched" and here is how he defines the term.

The Overchurched are defined as - "A subgroup identity within local congregations that are likely to be inoculated from postmodernism and steeped in the Christian sub-culture as evidenced by interpersonal conflicts, a bent toward legalism, a misunderstanding of separation from the world, an over commitment to institutionalism, and a fundamental misapprehension of ministry." A more general definition of this group would be: "the over-churched are a subgroup identity within many local congregations that have taken the social implications of conversion too far resulting in missional ineffectiveness." Gil Rindell would say that these folks have confused the private missions of the institution for the public mission of the church – which is – to make disciples of Jesus Christ. They see themselves not as missionaries – but religious gate-keepers."

- Dr. Brian Tucker, Moody Theological Seminary

The reason it's important to know who the overchurched are is b/c todays legalist is tomorrows atheist. Those who are overchurched and have "heard it all before" are heading towards the cliff of either outright rejection of the faith or of falling into pretending and religious hypocrisy. Both are dangerous - thus we seek to rescue the overchurched and restore them back to a healthy Christian life. We seek to replace "religon" with Jesus.


Evangelism is doing everyday life with Gospel intentionality.


Contextualization is simply answering the Cultures Questions using the Bible.


Your Refuge by-the-sea