Why People Leave Church

Cliftondale Congregational Church in Saugus, MA 01906
August 23, 2007

1. Their church doesn’t “meet their needs”. What were they expecting? Answers to all of life’s mysteries? A simple formula for a life free of pain? Entertainment?

2. They’ve gotten out of the habit, maybe even lazy, a lack of discipline and priorities. How God feels about this is maybe worth consideration.

3. Someone in the church angered or disappointed them—so who do they punish? Themselves! It’s like deciding to stop eating.

4. They don’t agree with what their church is teaching. Hopefully their church has been clear about communicating its positions. Is it a major issue or something we can agree to disagree on?

5. Competing activities—sports, shopping, brunch, sleeping-in, and that extra-big Sunday newspaper. It’s a matter of priorities. If work is the reason, employers ought to make some accommodation.

6. Some men think only women and children need church; they don’t have the guts to encounter God themselves.

7. They think they don’t need church, yet church can well be the most valuable resource of their lives.

8. They had a bad experience. I tell people I had a bad experience at a restaurant and now I don’t eat out anymore! My point: find another church if you can’t resolve your problem.

9. They just don’t care. I suppose some people are apathetic, which is often the outcome of a comfortable life which lulls and deceives people into thinking they don’t need God. Do they demand proof God exists? No—they’re not interested.

10. Lack of faith. If you’re an unbeliever, church probably makes little sense. But give it a chance and be open to what you might receive.

Ultimately, people who stay away from church fail to realize that God deserves our praise, and that church has a lot to offer.

When I pass my little church, I stop in for a visit, so when I die and go up there the Lord won’t ask, “Who is it?”