Jesus And SBNR’s

There is a growing movement of people who say they are spiritual but not religious (SBNR)?
How do we respond to SBNR people and their views of church, God, morality, etc? As we come
together to look at as Jesus & SBNR’s as Paul Kiss concludes our series, The Religious Roundtable.
We learn that for those looking for more than religion, Jesus offers celebration in his Kingdom.

Download Message Notes

Jesus & SBNR’s

Speaker: Paul Kiss
Date: October 27, 2019

For those looking for more than religion, Jesus offers celebration in his Kingdom. Text: John 2:1-12; John 1:35-49

1 · Water to Wine – A familiar story for SBNR’s?

➤ Love over law. Text: Jn 1:16-17
➤ Celebration instead of ritual. Text: Jn 2:1-12
➤ Abundance instead of want. Text: Jn 1:16

2 · Why SBNR’s are growing*

1. Rejection of exclusivity
2. Life transitions
3. Teenage choice
4. Too busy
5. Scandals and hypocrisy
6. Intellectual disagreement
7. Interpersonal tension
8. Social ties

* (Taken from Joel Thiessen, The Meaning of Sunday)

3 · Common “beliefs” of SBNR’s

Shift Of Authority
➤ From institution to the individual.
➤ Truth is what I make it. Personal story trumps.
➤ Suspicion of meta-narratives

View Of God: Monism
➤ Removing transcendence. God becomes more abstract.
➤ Non-personal God. A rejection that God is involved in our lives.
➤ A sense that everything is a part of God.

Feeling Close To God in Nature: Pantheism
➤ They prefer to be outside in nature to have a spiritual experience.
➤ Spiritual experiences may or may not involve awareness of a personal God.
➤ Nature becomes the sanctuary instead of a building.

Eclectic Approach To Spirituality: Pluralism
➤ Reluctance to adhere to any single system or faith.
➤ Rejection of any exclusivist religion.

Preference For Tolerance Of The Like Minded: Universalism
➤ Includes a rejection of exclusivism.
➤ A New “Trinity” — Science, Education, Medicine
➤ Includes self help and the social sciences.

4 · TouchPoints with Christianity

1. A focus on Jesus.
2. Grace and Tolerance
3. The Way of Peace

5 · Jesus and SBNR’s John 1:35-49


SBNR’s are looking for meaning, for something. They are searching. They are not coming to the church for answers. We MUST go to them. Like Philip going to Nathaniel or Andrew going to Peter. “Come and see this.”


“Although it may appear otherwise, many of the people we have met here have not consciously chosen this route. Instead, they find themselves on a spiritual journey made necessary by larger cultural changes. Many of their responses, including turning inward, wanting to affirm an authentic self, and carving out some space away from the distracting, fragmented external world are, in fact, self-preservative.”
~ Linda Mercedante (Belief Without Borders)


Warming Up:

1. Who is there in your life that identifies as an SBNR, (spiritual but not religious)?
2. What is your response to SBNR people and their views of church, God, morality, etc?

Discussing and Learning:

3. Read Mark 2:1-12. Some scholars suggest that in John 1, the creation story is being re-cast. Mark 2:1-12 corresponds with Day 7. How do you see the idea of the wedding celebration, and the miracle of wine, connecting with the idea of God entering his rest?
4. John 2:11 states that the event was a sign of Jesus revealing his glory? What are your thoughts on this? How? Now read Isaiah 25:6. How does this add to the concept?
5. Read Mark 7:1-8 to get a better understanding of the ritual of hand washing. Go back now, and read John 2:6-11. How do the verses from Mark add to your understanding of the significance of what Jesus did with the wine in the washing jars?

Making it Real:

6. What traditions are we, the Church, holding onto that Jesus might challenge? How can we be open to receiving correction from him? What do we need to stop doing?
7. Reaching SBNR’s in our region will require risk taking, setting aside traditions that keep people from Jesus, time, education, finances, etc. How willing are you to wade into this with us at New Life in order to reach them with the good news of Jesus? Let us know! : )

1. Use the following resource from BIC Canada to learn about reaching SBNR people or “Nones” as they are also identified: .
1. Hang out with people who don’t identify with a religious group and graciously ask them their thoughts about Church, God, Jesus, faith. Then listen well.


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