Friday Discussion: Why People Don’t Attend Church

Let’s discuss church attendance today.

I specifically want to know why some people choose not to attend church.

I want to hear about your experiences, but I also want to hear your opinions.

One of my passions is the local church.  I grew up in church and there’s never been a time in my life when I didn’t want to go to church.  (The picture in this post is one of my favorite churches…the Lutheran church my mother attended as a child and I attended with my grandmother when I was a child.)

Recently I was interviewed for a local online newspaper about the launching of our second campus.  (You can read the article HERE.)  In the article I stated a statistic that 86% of people in our county do not go to church.  That’s what the latest numbers I’m hearing indicate.  I didn’t make the number up, but I didn’t do the research either.  Regardless of the accuracy of the number, no one who believes in church doubts that it is higher than we would like it to be.

So, today, I’m wonder why people don’t go to church. I’m not being naive.  I realize many simply don’t share my faith, but I don’t think that’s the only reason.  Somehow, I think if we understand why people don’t attend church, we can better address the issue.

Dialogue with me. You might consider some of these questions:

  • Did you grow up in church?
  • Do you go to church regularly now?  How often?
  • Has there ever been a time you didn’t attend church?
  • If so, what kept you from attending?
  • Do you think church attendance is necessary for a believer?
  • Do you have friends or family who do not attend church?
  • What do you think is their reason for not attending?

In your opinion, why do people not attend church these days?

Also interesting to me, in many surveys a large majority of people indicated that if a friend invited them to church they would likely attend.  Sounds like we have some work to do.

Share your thoughts today...Perhaps we can learn from each other.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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112 thoughts on “Friday Discussion: Why People Don’t Attend Church

  1. Thom Schultz of group publishing, along with his wife, have written a book to address this question. the name of the book is "Why People Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore." I have found it to be a good book. It will challenge most religious people in the church to hear some of what is said. I also have to say that we have to realize as long as the church is an institution people are not going to be apart of it. There is however a church within the church and one outside the church. The church has enjoyed earthly power since being institutionalized in the third century. My question is; was the church ever suppose to have this power? And, now that the American church is loosing its authority, is the lose of people coming part of the withdraw symptoms?

  2. I stopped going to church because I didn't feel connected. People seemed fake, shallow and insincere. To top it all off the church leadership seemed to think they were somehow closer to God than I was.

    I started going to church again because my faithful wife would calmly invite me every month or so for about a year, It started annoying me so I decided to placate her (okay, sure, the Holy Spirit was doing a little prodding too)

    I've been going to church ever since. I continue to go because shortly after my return a few understandings just kind of snapped into place. 1) Church isn't just about me. 2) I had a tendency to be pretty closed to relationships, I had been quite fake, shallow and insincere. 3) People start becoming really open, honest, loving and accepting when I communicated in an open, honest, loving and accepting way. 4) Turns out Church leaders are human…they even deal with human issues.

    I'm still learning and growing, as a matter of fact I just recently realized that I have a tendency to be a hyper-judgmental person. I accept the grace of God in my acceptance and relationship with Christ but I don't extend grace to other people…I currently hold the title of "chief of sinners" (Paul's not using it anymore). I've finally started understanding what "My power works best in weakness" means. Looking forward, I'm a bit apprehensive about receiving "insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles" (I like my comfy chair). We can become stronger, even strengthen each other, through unity in the Church.

  3. It appears a lot of people don't go to church because they don't think they need to – that they can do all their worshipping and praying and studying on their own and let the Holy Ghost be their teacher. I wasn't raised in a church, and when I finally started going — in my 40s — I was blown away by what I'd been missing: particularly the church family, accountability to a pastor and the rock foundation of the Word. I've seen three other reasons/excuses in my life — all to do with women around me. My mother hated religion (her father was a pastor who flipped out with the temptations of the world and left the family to start his own church in Los Angeles). My ex-wife was of the "I don't need church" category. My current (and forever) wife was angry at God for taking away her first husband, and now has found joy, fellowship and support in our church that she never thought was possible. I'd encourage anyone who stays away from church for religious reasons (!) to search a little harder, because they don't know what they're missing.

  4. There is an interesting comment above that really stuck out to me, church is more like a country club than a hospital. I think, sadly that statement is very true. Ordinary people don't fit in.
    For years I have watched my mom attend chuch but not my dad, with the exception of a few holidays. I know my dad, I know his faith, I have had many converstaions with him about faith. My dad grew up Catholic, my mom a Baptist. My brother and I were raised as Baptists. We even attended a private Baptist academy. We had many bad situations in that church. My family no longer goes there. When I say my family, I speak of aunt, cousins, grandparents.
    A church unfortunately has a way of weeding out the people that just don't fit.
    Does it mean my dad is any less connected with God because he doesn't go to church? How about my brother? How about me?
    We know our hearts but simply choose to stay out of the "country club".

  5. I believe that one of the main reasons that "new" people (those who have never been to church) don't attend church is they can not "relate" to the way the church communicates. I call this the "church communication gap." The world is 'saturated' with media. Two-billion Youtube videos are now viewed daily in our country alone (that stat may now be low) and digital media is everywhere we turn. Media has become "the language of our day" and yet as a whole, the church still communicates mostly in a lecture format. That's good for me and you who are familiar with the church and the message, but not with those who have never been introduced to God's amazing grace and love found in Jesus. I'm so passionate about this that we are starting a new church in the Nashville area (www.studiochurch.tv) that will innovate the use of media in a church service setting in order to 1) reach 'new' people for Christ, 2) so we can share what we learn (be a 'learning lab') for other churches.

  6. We have some friends that have quit going, because he was the worship leader of a church. Some disagreed with the choice of music and talked about him behind his back and said some really mean/awful offending things. Now, they no longer attend a church anywhere and he has fallen into drinking, which was a weakness for him even before. Now, it is worse. We try and mentor these people and pray for them, but the scars are very deep. I could go on,

  7. I would have to say Ron, that there are many reasons. Reasons that I have been told: 1) People in churches sometimes have the "sharpest tongues" and are very judgemental 2) Insecurities of their own 3) College age-tough age unless you have a very active college group willing to go out of their way and touch the lives of the college age 4) Sunday is the only day off from work 5) Hypocrites 6) Hard to get the "family" ready 7) Services are too early depending on the church. Ron, those are just a few reasons that I have been given by people. People need mentoring and dicipleship along with a church family relationship. People in church willing to realize that they (the ones not going to church) are human as we are and we also make mistakes and screw up too.

  8. People don't attend church for a plethora of reasons. In college I had a hard time going to church just because I was dependent on rides and I could rarely count on a friend to go to a church steadily enough to know people and get involved. As a young adult, I think the biggest turnoff for church is not being authentically what we claim to be: the community of Christ, preaching the truth about Christ, while being on mission with Christ, to reach those without Christ. I don't like going to a singles ministry or a college Sunday school class…if that is all you have for someone who is in college/grad school forget about it. I want to be an authentic Christian (warts and all) with other authentic Christians (warts and all) and I am tired of going to nice, dull, dead, politically correct churches where no one wants to do anything but complain and gossip and everyone is perfect and has it all together and where there is simply no heart or vision for the things of God. There are too many churches like that.

  9. The main reason we aren't attending now is that me and my wife can't seem to find one that we feel at home in. Most chuches in this area are more concerned with how big they can get and how cool they can look. But honestly it's kinda sad but i feel closer to God now then when i was going to our last church. Our desire is to be apart of a church that is "being" the church and not just doing church.
    when we left our church not one single person called or said we miss you or anything. And yes we were VERY plugged in. Serving, in a small group , as well as my wife formerly being a staff member there as well. I think most people don't attend because it is fake. No one expects you to be perfect but they are tired of phony christianity.

  10. Hunter, I'm honored that you would comment here. You should drive up to our church some Sunday you're in town and then go eat with us. Proud of who you are!

  11. I read The Purpose Driven Life recently, and it gave several reasons, among much inspiration, to get involved in a church. Personally, I attend Brentwood Baptist when I am in Nashville, and absolutely love the church, and I can watch a live feed online when I am at school so I prefer to do that. However, the drawback to watching church online is the lack of engaging with others. It is a temporary thing, and I long for the time when I am graduated and 'settled down' and can be a contributing member to a congregation.

  12. i am looking for a church and have been for a little over a year. i'm not sure what constitutes "actively" looking for a church, but i visit churches at least monthly. truth is, i don't miss church. i was raised in church and served as a church leader for 18years. my entire family was in the ministry, some still are.
    church is awkward and it really doesn't make much sense to me. i'm not so sure that the church is even healthy place for me to be. the only reason i even go is because i would like to serve the community along side a church family, but that's so rare. i do believe that a decent fit exists for me, i just haven't found it yet. it's what i blog about and study in my spare time… the church.

  13. I totally agree with Jennifer's comment!

    To answer your questions…
    * Did you grow up in church? A: No, my parents taught us how to pray, taught us about Christ, as they knew him, but they never took us to church. I think it is because my mother had been Lutheran & my father grew up Catholic & they didn't want to stay in those but didn't take the time to find another. I was saved at 8 though, so they were doing something right & God's grace was in our home.

    * Do you go to church regularly now? How often? A: Most Sundays. It's been difficult lately with health problems & I am exhausted. We are usually quite late. I used to lead 2 small groups, coordinate 3 teams, & manage all communication to the church. I'm now down to coordinating 2 teams & managing about 50% of communication.

    * Has there ever been a time you didn’t attend church? Birth to 18 yrs old. I began to attend church when I helped plant one on my college campus.

    * If so, what kept you from attending? A: see #1 above.

    * Do you think church attendance is necessary for a believer? A: I don't believe it's necessary for salvation, but I do believe that we need to participate as parts of the Body of Christ. We are hurt in relationships but we are also healed by God through relationships as well.

    * Do you have friends or family who do not attend church? A: Yes, many.

    * What do you think is their reason for not attending? A: many various reasons. Unbelief, laziness, being hurt by situations & people through life & blaming God for it, being offended by others in church & avoiding them, moving & then not taking the time to pray about & search for a new church home, work schedule, kids' sports schedules, the list goes on…

  14. Here are my two cents.

    For the unchurched church can be a daunting experience, they're not familiar with the lingo (Christianese) and it's kind of like walking into a room full of strangers at a party. Everyone else knows each other but they may only know one or two people. And as you pointed out, most of them have never been asked and so we're not reaching out to them.

    For the churched they often become disillusioned because of things they see happening (or not) around them. This can be inauthentic relationships, back handed deals, controlling people/families, pastors who preach one way but live another and other lay people too Or they've never had an authentic experience and so they do not feel a true connection to God.

      • That's exactly how I felt going into a church for the first time, as an unchurched person. I remember using the exact same analogy on a blog almost 3 years ago (Carey's blog). How I really liked going to the church and everyone was really nice, but they all knew each other and the "host" of the party, and I didn't. I wanted to know the "host", but I didn't know how to get to know him. Thankful, I stuck it out and a friend stayed by my side, so I pushed past my comfort zone. And now I know the "host" personally, and I'm in love. :-) In my opinion, friends inviting friends makes the biggest difference.

  15. I grew up in the church, it was good, not as exciting as some but not as boring as it could have been. I do attend church regularly now, physical church weekly and online almost daily. I have never had the desire to not attend church but I have had the desire and actually changed churches or started going to two so I could go somewhere that was exciting and I was being fed.

    I think for a believer you should go to church as that is part of fellowshipping with other believers. However I don't think the Bible says which church or denomination to be a part of, or what day of the week to go. If you work on Sundays go on Saturday, if you're church isn't working for you go down the street to one where you are growing and want to be involved.

    I do have friends that don't go to church and I think some don't go because of their past experiences in the church, don't have friends there, or don't see a reason to go.
    Twitter: tijuanabecky

  16. Hello Ron,
    Sadly, I think many people are distracted by sports – either attending in person or viewing on TV (or athletes/coaches/industry involved). Also, in my experiences I have discovered that many people have had very negative experiences with 'Religion', though I personally have not. I did not even realize that there were so many people that have had bad experiences in their lives with having "Religion" shoved down their throat / or the Bible thumped over their head. One of my best friends was bible thumped so bad by her mother that she rejected Christ's salvation as a teen and now considers Christ as being one of many prophets with simply good advice to offer. I was raised up in the Baptist church, then strayed in my 20s & 30s. I realized that I need the fellowship of other Christians and have now returned to church & my faith and hopefully will be a seed planter to others by sharing my testimony through my own experiences in life. I strayed not because I objected to the church; but because I was influenced by society…sports, alcohol/drugs, music/nightlife and basically immaturity in my own relationship with Christ. I hope this helps. I do enjoy your blogs & tweets!

  17. Ron

    My pleasure in commenting – and kudos to you for tackling some tuff subjects.
    “Controlling Leadership” “Why People Don’t Attend Church.” etc…

    From theses comments there seems to be many reasons folks
    have a hard time with “Today’s Abusive Religious System.”

    I left “The Religious System” after much pain, tears, and “Spiritual Abuse.”
    Most who leave feel some sort of guilt for not attending.
    But they just can’t do “it” any more.

    I have seen the dangers of “The Reigious system” “Church.” The 501 (c) 3, Corporation.
    The dangers of the "Titles," and “Position,” of **Today’s** "Pastor/Leader."
    “Spiritual Abuse” In this “Corporation Church” for both the "leader" and those “being led.”
    IMO – “Church” and The “Title” “Pastor/Leader” is very, dangerous for both.

    I'm not not new to "ministering healing" to those who have been “Abused”
    by those who took the “Title” and “Position”- “Pastor/Leader."

    Folks who've been **burnt,** ** burnt out,** ** kicked out,**
    and **crawled out** of "the religious system" most call “church.”
    with it's leaders, submission to authority, tithes and offerings,
    and other unbiblical "heavy weights" put on folks shoulders.

    I also spend time with pastors,
    "so called leaders," who can't do it anymore.

    Trying to please the denominational leaders,
    the congregation and it's leaders, his family,
    and of course Jesus.
    Who is often relegated to last place. Hmmm?

    Searving so many masters, that's tough; Yes?

    Preaching every week… and it better be good, being the CEO,
    the team leader, councilor, marrying, burying, smiley face. etc. etc.

    Seems to me **Today’s** “Pastor/Leader,” and their family,
    pay a horrible price for assuming a “Title” and “Position”
    NOT found in the Bible?

    John 6:45
    It is written in the prophets, And they shall be ALL taught of God.

    Deuteronomy 4:36
    Out of heaven he made thee to **hear His voice,**
    that *He might instruct thee*…

  18. Anyone – Ron

    Did you ever think – the people who “Don’t Attend Church”
    are a lot more biblical then those who do. ;-)

    Can anyone name one person, in the Bible, who went to, or “Attended Church?

    When you use the word “church” – Which “church” are we talking about?

    1 – “The Church of God?” Where Jesus is the head of the body,
    (The ekklesia, the called out one’s), The Church? :-)

    2 – the church of man? Where the 501 (c) 3, non-profit,
    tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporation? Is called the church? :-(

    Seems, in the Bible, “The Church” The Ekklesia, the called out one’s,
    refers to people, individual’s and an assembly, and now the house of God. ;-)
    In the Bible, NO one ever went to church – they became “The Church of God.”

    Did Jesus shed “His Blood” for – An organization? An institution?
    A building? A denomination? Or a $ Corporation?

    Should “Disciples of Christ” call a Corporation – “The Church of God?” ;-)

    Seems when you say “church” and I say “Church” it just ain’t the same.

    Don’t know if you ever checked or not but…
    In the Bible, I found…

    NO one ever *Led* “A Church.”
    NO one ever *joined* “A Church.”
    NO one ever *went to* “A Church.”
    NO one ever *Tithed* to “A Church.”
    NO one ever brought their friends to “A Church.”
    NO one ever applied for membership in “A Church.”
    NO one ever gave silver, gold, or money, to “A Church.”
    NO buildings with steeples and crosses called “A Church.”
    NO – Pastors – in Pulpits – Preaching – to People – in Pews. ;-)

    Jesus warned us about making “the Word of God” of non effect through our traditions; Yes?

    Mark 7:13 KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition…
    Mark 7:13 ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
    Mark 7:13 NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…

    In my experience…
    This going to church is a “Tradition of Men” that nullifies “the Word of God.” (Jesus and The Bible)
    In the Bible… Believers become “the Church of God.” :-)

    What is popular is not always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is not always popular.

    I’m Blest – I’ve returned to the shepherd and bishop of my soul… Jesus…

    • This is so true, why should we get hung up on whether or not people are regular attenders of a church, what about just being a Christian in our everyday lives and winning hearts for God, by living our lives as best as we can to represent who Jesus is and what He has done for us and how He lives in us.

    • So you believe the end of Acts 2 was a one-time deal? Or is that how you live in Church? Where do you find fellowship among other Christians? Where is your support system? Where is the love for your neighbors, and likewise unto you by those neighbors who are Christians?
      As for the tithe, that would depend on how you view Old Testament commands vs. New Testament commands. In the most liberal view, it would fall under loving one's neighbors. In a more conservative view, it would be loving God Himself. In any view, it's trusting God and His word — and also trusting that He knows your heart (which He does, I can assure you).

      • @RickRouth – Thanks for the questions. A question I like and ask often is – Is that in the Bible?

        I appreciate your questions and understand some of where you’re coming from. I was in “Leadership” and spent many hours in a building, and promoting an organization, most today label church. Found out – That’s NOT the “Church” in the Bible. I think our challenge is – when you say church, and I say “Church,” it just ain’t the same thing. Have you ever done your own study on the word church in the Bible? Most don’t. Most just believe what they are taught by mere fallible humans. When you read the Bible for yourself you ask different questions and get different answers. Found out – Most of what goes on Sunday morning is NOT in the Bible.

        Aren’t words and how we define them important? Didn’t God create all things with words?

        When I hear the word “Church” I now think of;

        The redeemed of the Lord.

        The habitation of God.

        The Israel of God.

        The body of Christ.

        Haven’t we told unbelievers, they need to go to a good Bible believing church?
        Is that in the Bible?

        When we say “church” what does the unbeliever picture in their mind?
        A building with a steeple on it? Is that in the Bible?
        Ushers, passing plates, collecting money? Is that in the Bible?
        A Pastor – in a Pulpit – Preaching – to People – in Pews? Is that in the Bible?

        How many unbelievers know they become The Church of God? NOT attend a church.
        How many unbelievers know “The Church of God” is NOT a building or a denomination, BUT are…

        Kings and Preist’s unto God.
        The Bride of Christ.
        Servants of Christ.
        Sons of God.
        Disciples of Christ.
        Ambassadors of Christ.

        Haven’t we deceived unbelievers, telling them and demonstrating, a building is the church?
        When all the time “you’re” the ekklesia of God. The habitation of God. The Israel of God.

        Haven’t unbelievers missed the awesomeness of God? The beauty of His Church, “His Body?”
        How we are *in Him* and *Jesus is in us?* How the kingdom of God comes NOT with observation?
        And those who are *led by the spirit* – *are the sons of God?* NOT those “Led” by a human.
        How ALL can be “His sheep” and hear “His Voice” and follow Jesus?

        How we all become “ONE” in Christ…

        Neither bond nor free, neither male nor female,
        Neither Complementarinism nor Egalitarianism.
        Neither denominationalism nor non- denominationalism.
        Neither clergy nor laity, Neither leaders nor followers.
        Neither shepherds nor sheep. Only brethren.
        All obeying Jesus, All following Jesus, as “ONE” new man.
        Jesus is the head of the body (the ekklesia, the called out one’s) the church.

        If I’m a “king,” where do I go for my information?
        Do I go to another king? Sometimes, maybe? BUT mostly to the King of Kings, Jesus?

        If I’m a “priest,” who is my authority? Another priest?
        Or Jesus, the “high priest” after the order of Melchisedec?

        If I’m “The bride of Christ” do I listen to another bride for my orders?
        Or should I go directly to Jesus, my husband?

        If I’m a “servant” do I take orders from another servant?
        Or should I be listening directly to Jesus my master?

        If I’m a “Son” Who do I ask for information, for guidance?
        Another kid on the block? Or my Father in heaven who loves me?

        If I’m a “disciple of Christ” a learner, a student, of Christ,
        who do you think wants to teach me? Could it be Jesus?

        Ambassador – dictionary
        the highest diplomatic representative that one sovereign power sends to another.

        Are we ambassadors for Christ?

        Since He is the highest sovereign power then you are the highest diplomatic representative
        that Christ has on earth.

        No one, absolutely no one, is higher than you.
        You are God’s ambassador, delivering His message
        to a broken world.

        And no one lower… Horizontal? Hmmm?

        The Church…

        Kings and preist’s unto God.
        The Bride of Christ.
        Servants of Christ.
        Sons of God.
        Disciples of Christ.
        Ambassadors of Christ.

        Instead of asking people to attend church, why not ask them to become the church?

        God loves me and forgives me all my sin.

    • Not sure where you get your interpretations, Amos, because Scripture tells us that churches are so important Jesus goes out of His way to address seven of them in the Book of Revelation; Paul writes his Epistles to no fewer than seven churches, too. The tabernacle of Moses and the Temple in Jerusalem were ordained of God, and where did Jesus reveal Himself by declaring that Isaiah 61 was now fulfilled, but in a synagogue — a church? Where did the widow drop off her "mites"? It wasn't at the local "community chest" – it was for a church. To be frank, where are we supposed to bring the tithes and offerings God demands of us when He tells Malachi that people withholding them are robbing Him? Church — fellowship, gathering together to hear the Word, worship God and help build one another up is not a "tradition of men", but a vital part of the walk with Jesus.

      • @drewdsnider

        Much agreement when you write…
        “Church — fellowship, gathering together to hear the Word, worship God and help build one another up is not a "tradition of men", but a vital part of the walk with Jesus.”

        I fellowship with “the Church,” “The called out one’s,” on a regular basis. Almost daily. Two’s and three’s. Seven and eights. Twelve to fifteen. Where ALL can, and are expected to “Participate.” We hear "The Word of God" coming forth from many. Learned a lot from “the least of these.” "ONE" Body.

        1Cor 14:26
        How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, **every one of you**
        hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation,
        hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

        Hmmm? Local Church? My Church? Your Church? Our Church?
        Church membership? Pastoral Staff? Leadership team?
        Can't seem to find those terms in my antiquated KJV. Can you?

        Isn't it called "The Church of God?"
        Isn’t it Jesus, who will “build” and “add to” “His Church?”
        Isn't it Jesus, who's the head of the body, (the ekklesia, the called out one's), "The Church?"
        Isn't it Jesus, who shed "His Blood" to purchase "The Church of God?" It's "His Church."

        But, maybe we're talking about – the church of man?
        You go to a secular Government organization, IRS, and ask permission to be called “Church,”
        you fill out a form, called a 501 (c) 3.

        When/if you’re approved, you become a Gov’t approved, Gov’t inspected,
        501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporation.
        Does that sound like “The Church” (People, His body) that we find in the Bible?

        Jesus didn’t shed “His Blood” for a building, an organization, an institution,
        a denomination, a corporation? NO – Jesus shed “His Blood” for “His Church,” His People.”

        Where you fellowship Sunday morning some are "The Ekklesia" "the Church" – some are NOT.
        Where you go is to a – 501 (c) 3, nonprofit, tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporation. church of man.

        Hmmm? Should we call a $ Corporation – “The Church of God?” AAARRRGGGHH!!

        Love NOT the world and the things of the world…

        Have you done your own study on “Church?” Just print out every verse with “ekklesia,” church.
        Then read them, over and over again, and ask Jesus for “His Understanding.” NOT man’s.

        Have you done your own study on “Tithing?” Most don’t. They just go along with the crowd.
        Read every verse. In the Bible, NO ONE ever “Tithed” silver, gold, or “Money.” Did you know that?
        The “Tithe” was always “food.” Food to be eaten or sacrificed to God. Did you know that?
        When’s the last time you saw and Abe Lincoln $5 or a Grant $50 burned on the alter?

        Didn’t you ever wonder – With all the instruction Paul gives to “the ekklesia,”
        “The called out one’s” “God’s People,” Paul never instructs believers to “Tithe.”
        Neither does Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James or Jesus ask believers to “Tithe.” Hmmm?

        Now, if God asks you to give 10% of your earnigs, money, to a
        501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax deductible, Religious Corporation… Please – obey God.
        But – please refrain from saying “the Bible” says we are to give a “Tithe” of money to a church.
        That’s a lie.

        And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
        them also I must bring, and they shall **hear My voice;**
        and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
        John 10:16

        One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice – Jesus

        Be blessed in your search for Truth… Jesus.

  19. My husband used to attend church. He was raised going to church. As an adult, he had the philosphy of–if the company is open, I'm willing to work. That was the start of him not going to church, because he usually ended up working weekends. His big excuse is the style of music. He's a metal head. But since not attending church in quite a few years, he's begun to question the Bible and how reliable it is.

    • Thanks for sharing. I have heard this reasoning as well. I'd love for him to check out our music if you were close by. Music lovers usually dig it!

  20. I have spent all of my 53 years in the church and have decided that I will no longer attend jut so that I can say that I attended.

    It seems like most churches exist for the sake of themselves. They give lip service to the Great Commision, and put only token effort towards it. Fellowship is superficial, teaching is shallow or bad. People today want deep teaching and discipleship and relationships. Their parents may have been satisified to fill a pew for an hour or so every Sunday, but some of us want a lot more than that.

      • I have to agree with the comment that much of the "fellowship" is superficial and the teaching is bad.

        Knowledgeable teachers are less impacting than teachers with that have gained the knowledge about God through faith AND practice and can lead others to the same faith AND practice.

        I know teachers who know the Bible, but have very little experience with the God they know so much about.

  21. Hebrews 10:25. God created 7th day for us to visit “His house.” My family and I must attend at church. We praise God and pray together. Half of you said they want your money. You are wrong!! My money comes from Jesus. Maybe church needs much money for maintain church or pastor. Why not?? If we give our money, it won’t make us poor. God will give them back.

    I meet many friends there. They are my big family. If they hurt you, so what?? They are just ordinary people. They are not angels. They know me so well. We go to the zoo, concert, theatre together sometimes. They hurt me too, but it doesn’t matter. I forgave them and forget it.

    I’m a teacher at Sunday School and a singer at church. I never accept salary from pastor. I need money, but money isn’t my everything. My pastor can give me dolars, but Jesus give me what I need. So…

    You have no reason to not attend at church!!

    • I am happy that you have found a place to worship. But rather than not having a reason to not attend church, other than the scriptures teaching to not forsake the gathering together of the brethren, I have to look at the statistics (check with Ed Setzer) on how many unbelievers are IN the brick and mortar. I long for the church in Acts that meets together, supports each other (spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially), and espoused true biblical Christianity, fleshed out on the other side of the brick and mortar. It would be interesting to see churches "do" church without the stain glass, sound systems, programs, denominational nonsense . . . etc.
      Again, I am truly happy for you and your family. I just don't see the biblical church anymore.

      • Jason,
        Reading your posts makes me completely PSYCHED about what's going on at our church right now. With an absolute focus on Matthew 22:37-39 our goal has become loving God (obeying & knowing his Word) and loving our neighbors (both those who are around us inside the church and our neighbors outside the church and around us every day.) Your posts both sound like what you've experienced is a lot of worldly people at church, and few (if any) Godly people sharing His love. I hope that what we're developing is the exact support system you're longing for, filled with loving people who have a thirst for God's word and desire to share all of it with the world around us. As far as I'm concerned, this is our call. Your comments seem to suggest that you agree. I've requested a follow on Twitter, and I hope you'll accept because I'd like to talk with you more.

        Truly,
        Rick

  22. I would say that a big reason people don't go to church is because church spends more time "doing" church than "being" church.

    There is a difference.

    People may desire to go to church if the church had a genuine vitality. Not the extreme of "TRADITION" nor the extreme of "DRAMATIC".

    We are seeing in my community that more people come to churches and stay at churches when they see that God is tangible and interacts with us in tangible ways. We have became guilty of "biblioatry" (a form of idolatry) rather than placing faith in a living God that is still powerful.

    It's not wonder the world accuses our book of being mythology, we worship the "yesterdays" more than we use the book to recognize God when he's in our lives.

    just my buck fifty

  23. The desire to go to church comes from my desire to strengthen my relationship with Christ. I want to be challenged and held accountable. I've walked with Christ for 17 years. Most churches I've attended are serving up Milk and not the meat of the Word. I gravitate towards the weekly bible study or mid-week service which tend to be more challenging. But honestly, it's been years since I was excited about going to & being involved in Church.

    Fellowship with other Christians is important and I think it's why I force myself to attend.

  24. Firstly, let me give a history: I was raised in a true historical Southern Baptist Church which was founded on reformed theology. I have attended all my life, at one point had desire to attend seminary. My path changed and I moved to another state where I signed with a Christian band and toured. Came back after that season in my life and started to raise a family and lead worship. I was in ministry (music) at quite a few churches ranging from established to plants.

    Today, I don't go to church, and sure that I don't want to, and not sure if I will ever want to go back. The reason is simply because the brick and mortar loves to eat it's own. I have been chewed up and spit out even when NOT in a paid position. Money has never been a reason why I led music, but was doing it out of my hearts desire to help and step in situations where there was a need. I will not do it again. I loathe what the church has become. I know there is no perfect "church", but it is true how what is inside the brick and mortar shows what happens outside the brick and mortar.

    I have experience the first half of St. Augustine's quote when he said "The Church is a whore, but she is my mother." I am now very wary of any person toting the Christian banner. I know the Lord radically saved me, and it was all of grace and not of I. Again, I do hold to reformed theology, but even in many of the reformed theological circles I have found such a haughty hyper-calvinistic attitude that I don't care to be associated with that as that's not how The Christ of the Bible I know acted. Sadly I can sympathize with Ghandi's quote: "If it weren't for Christians . . . I would be one."

    I have tried to go and visit churches, but I am so scarred that whenever I see someone smiling and welcoming me, my view is of disbelief. It's like when you beat a dog, he is less likely to come when you call. I do have my quiet time, I read my bible daily, do Morning and Evenings by Spurgeon, and have a heart of prayer, especially for those who have offended me. I no longer hold ill will towards those who scarred me, but it's hard to see past the history of my experience.

    • Thanks for sharing your story Jason. I have heard stories like yours so many times. I can honestly say that our church has seen many with similar situations come, be restored in their faith in the church, and move onto other ministries. I, too, have been injured in church settings, even more than outside the church. Glad to hear you've offered forgiveness.

  25. I am still attending the church that I grew up in and my mom also grew up going to the same church. When I moved to another city for university for 2 years, I found a church with the same affiliation and that I really liked, I never got to go as often as I wanted to because school and work would get in the way, and when I did go I felt like an outsider, even though this new church was about a tenth of the size of the church I grew up attending.

    But it made me realize what it felt like to be the new person in a church, so when I decided to move back home I tried to make more of an effort in including new people instead of just staying in my clique.

    There were also time when I couldn't attend church because of my work schedule, I would work night shifts that would be starting at the same time or part way though the Saturday night service, and then I would be too tired to attend the Sunday morning service.

    I switched jobs so that I would have a more consistent work schedule, but then it was straight nights, and a lot of the time I felt too tired to go to church or I would go Sunday morning after a night shift, but I never got as much out of it when I was tired as I did when I really wanted to be there.

    Now I work as the janitor during the Saturday night service, and I'm at the church but I don't get to really listen to the sermon, so I'm there but not really.

    The things that I like the most are Bible studies outside of church, even if they were/are still held at the church that I regularly attend. it adds to the community and I have gotten to know lots of new people through our church hosting Alpha or other groups that I'm evolved with. Our church also has leadership classes and I have meet lots of people that I probably wouldn't have meet.

    Having the other classes, small groups, Alpha or Bible studies, whether they are being held at the church or just have members of the church meeting in someone's house has really built a stronger community.

    I'm also involved in child care for some of the small groups at the church and that has opened up a different age group for me to be involved with.

    • You are very active with church. I'm so glad to hear stories of when church actually "works" for someone. I know it does!

      • If someone just attends church Sunday mornings, then that is all it is… something that they do, its boring and they get nothing out of it, that what it felt like when I was younger, it seems more like something that has to be done as part of being a christian not something that you want to do.

        When I really wanted to go to church then what I was hearing in the sermons and the fellowship actually meant something. So its not so much about just getting to know people and the community, but its also where your heart lies. Do you really want to be there?

  26. I agree with what John Paul and Josh said. Church meetings are mainly a sheep-pen for mature sheep. It's where sheep hang out with other sheep. Those who are not yet sheep, will not like it there very much. Sheep stink, bite, and are really noisy.

    It's time we quit beating ourselves up, because we can't get unchurched (not a real word – PC Christianese for non-attenders) people into our pews, and work hard to get them into Jesus. Yes we should invite them to come with us; but check your motives, and ask what else are you doing to bring them to Christ?

    The other large group that we need to go after, and repent to are the "De-churched" who took all of the spiritual/mental abuse and foolishness they could stomach, and finally decided to go fishing, bowling, hiking, biking, camping, deer hunting, sky-diving, scuba-diving, or whatever else makes them feel good. Church was just making them feel angry, bitter, rejected, and hurt; for a million different reasons, unique to each one. Much of this because of modern pharisees who created a climate of legalism, religiosity, elitism, and yes hypocrisy.

    I am a pastor, elder, worshiper of Jesus, who hasn't missed more than a week or two of church services any year for 40+ years, and I've seen it all. I have also been guilty at times.

    • rewjr

      Let me put this thought to you. That not going to church is our societies default setting, satan has seen to that. So the the real sheep are the are outside the doors of a church, and are the blind followers of the world and its ways. It does take individualism, and a thought process and reconciliation, to find Christ, be a believer and advocate for Christ and having him be a every day part of your life. That does not sound like a sheep. But there is hope for all because Christ does look for and wants all his lost sheep.

  27. As for your questions to consider: I do believe that church is necessary for the believer. We were created to live in community, no one can do this alone. I know I sure can't.

    Thanks for a great thought-provoking post today!

  28. Ron, I think, like so many of the comments before me,that there are many and various reasons for not attending church. But I think at the root of it all is a control issue. I've never not attended. But if I were not a church attending believer, my though process might be like the following (maybe not consciously): I'm comfortable not attending church. I'm in control of my life. If I attend, then I have to acknowledge that God is real and wants to be a part of my life. If that's true, then I have to let go of control and let him have it. I don't want to do that. Because I'm comfortable like I am. I'm in control of my own life.

    I think it's all about control, and being convicted. All of a sudden I'm faced with a tough choice: who is on the throne in my life, me or God? If I attend church, then I'm acknowledging that God is/should be. But am I really willing to let him be there?

    Anyway, that's what I think is the main reason, in spite of all the excuses…

  29. I didn't grow up in the church (parents atheists) so it took until a friend invited to a new church held at a movie theatre for me to step in the door. I was always intimiated by the traditional churches, and I'm not sure I would have stayed had I first gone to one. Because I wasn't a believer at the time, I always thought I wasn't good enough to attend church and that I would be judged. And I also believed that the church just wanted my money, as that's what I was brought up to believe.
    The first day I went, at the door there were people to welcome me, a welcome desk for asking information, and of course the familiarity of a movie theatre. I'm thankful that my friend asked (numerous times until I finally said yes), and I had her to go with. It took me a couple years of attending, asking questions, small groups, etc., but I am now a Christ Follower and I can't get enough.

  30. in my experience, if people don't find fellowship with people that are similar to themselves, they don't stick around. any hint of insincerity and they're gone.

  31. For my money, the more reasonable question is why *do* people go to church.

    The default is not going to church. That's what makes sense outside of the context of a relationship with Jesus. Once that is established, someone needs to be educated about the need for meeting together regularly with other people who have a relationship with Jesus.

    So if people who should go to church aren't, perhaps it's because they aren't being educated about the need to meet together with other people that have a relationship with Jesus. Or perhaps people are broken and prefer death to life.

    Church is a weird place, even for people who can identify and defend it's place inside the believer's weekly routine. Asking "Why people don't attend church" seems a lot like asking "Why don't people eat healthy foods" or "Why don't smokers stop smoking".

  32. I stopped going to church because I was tired of the games church people play. It wasn't making a difference in the lives of those who were in leadership. It was changing the community. Sermons were shallow and poorly conceived, full of triteness and christian cliches. It had become busy work. In short, I was disillusioned. People who I talk to about why they don't go to church mention the narrowness of thought, the freedom they feel w/o a church obligation, and the question church people can seldom answer well, "Why should I?"

  33. I think part of not going is the visual hypocrisy: the "we have everything together" mentality on parade so that people don't know you're broken inside, but everyone is broken, and those that know it don't feel they can fit in or are looking for more authenticity.

    I think part of it for many men is that church is for women; there's no challenge for them or to them. In my local church, women have something specifically for them at least twice a week; men have 1 thing on Wednesday mornings at 6. That's not quite catering to men.

    I go, but I'm frustrated. I want more.

  34. A lot of people don't go to church because they've been before… and it was boring, irrelevant to anything going on in their lives. It had a strange, distinctive odor – like the inside of grandma's purse. They were expected to "dress up" and "look their best" for a Jesus they didn't even know yet. They didn't understand the insider language, weren't sure how to look up a verse in the Bible – and no one bothered to explain anything. And so they left, firmly reinforced in their thinking that church was ok for some people, but not for them.

  35. Ahh, an easy question, but one with about a million potential responses and endless combination of them.

    1. Church people are a bunch of weird people
    2. The churches I've been to just don't speak to me personally. Too many are trying to shove this stuff down my throat.
    3. All they ever talk about is wanting my money.
    4. Sheesh, haven't you seen those wackos on TV?! No way am I ever going.
    5. My weekends are for me.
    6. It's just not important to me.
    7. I'm too busy.
    8. I've been, but nobody ever reached out to me. I felt lost there.
    9. I don't know anybody there.
    10. My friends make fun of me. Its just easier to hide my faith.
    11. The game is on TV then.
    12. I have to go golfing, fishing, camping, biking, flying a kite…
    13. I've had church friends/family who really hurt me.
    14. Been there done that.
    15. God never did anything for me.
    16. It's not the trendy thing to do.
    17. Its a bunch of republican conservatives.
    18. Church is for old people.

    And you can keep going and going and going. As at any point in history, we have to go where the people are (physically and mentally), not make them come to us. Otherwise, they have no reason to "come" to a church. We are the church, we need step out of the physical building and work on building the church outside Sunday. We all know this, but so many fail to act (I include myself in that statement) and live up to God's command to teach.

  36. Growing up, I attended a small country church. Nothing against a small country church, but the one I attended was made up of older people and aside from me and my 3 siblings, I think there may have been 2 people around our age. I struggled with going to church because it didn't seem relevant to me, and they never seemed to focus on the grace/loving side of God, but rather you're going to HELL if you EVER mess up. Also, my dad has always been a deacon or leader of some sort, and even now my husband is a worship leader and elder so I've sort of always been in the middle of church politics, and it can be very discouraging. Christians can be very mean and unloving people!

    • I understand and know exactly what you mean. I was raised in an extremely "religious" Christian family where everything we did and said centered around the church. We spent the week preparing to go to church on Sunday and mostly we spent all day there from early in the morning to late at night. Then, during the week there were always evening activities that were compulsory to attend and participate in. Everyone was very attentive and keen to provide advice and instruction. However, if someone dared to "backslide" ie leave the church community they were condemned out of hand and were character assasinated and hardly anyone bothered to find out why they had left. Yes, Christians can be very mean and unloving especially to those who turn away from the church. Some folk who are nurtured in the faith when first introduced to the church and are offered friendship and support until they become committed, then find that these so called "friends" aren't interested in them as people, only as converts. They then become totally disillusioned by the whole process and become confused as to the purpose of the Christian message.

  37. Bro. Ron,
    My family and I now regularly attend Grace Comm Rossview Campus. I grew up in Spring Creek Baptist here in Clarksville. My father served as a deacon as long as I could remember, and chairmen for at least one term. However, things began to change at that church when I was about 10 years old. The pastor and his wife began seeking more and more control of the church. Not soon after that the church began internal disagreements. My father no longer saw eye to eye with the preacher. He was again nominated for deacon, and was forced to attend a class to teach him to be one after serving my entire childhood. One Sunday the pastor was to tell the congregation who was “fit and unfit” to be elected. After 10 years of my life, and long before my life, my father had served. However, that day the pastor (long time family friends of ours) said my father was unfit to be a deacon in front of the entire attending congregation. Total and utter humiliation to my father and our family. My parents were 20+ yr members. We all cried, some people stood up in his defense, and it was aweful. That was when I was 12. We changed churches, but never felt at home. That pastor is no longer there, and my parents have rejoined Spring Creek. It took until now at 26yrs of age for me to find a home again. I didn’t want to go to church for 14 years. I thank God today that I have put the past behind me, and found my home at GComm! That’s my story.

    • Wow! What a story Jay. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. It's a great challenge and encouragement to me as a pastor. Be sure and say hello Sunday!

    • Dear Jay,

      I am sorry that incident happened to you and your family. Brother. I am glad to hear that you have put the past behind you. It's good to hear that you have found your home at GComm. Probably, there are folks down there in your ol' home church who would love to have you back or they would be delighted to see you even if you just visit them. Home sweet home…you can't beat that…

    • Hey Jay,
      I got some tips for ya…If this matter still gives you hard time everytime you think about it…I would like to share you the remedy…it's called the four promises of forgiveness. FYI this is all based on scriptures; Matt. 6:12, 1 Cor. 13:5; Eph. 4:32. Remind yourself these things for me …to forgive all those who were not fair to you and your family…also to all who were involved ….including the preacher: Here we go…the four promises of forgiveness…you can say itloud if would like…
      1. I will not dwell on this incident. 2. I will not bring this incident up and use it against them. 3. I will not talk to others about this incident. 4. I will not allow this incident to stand between us (me and my family) or hinder our personal relationship …with brothers and sisters in Christ, the preacher and all who were involved in my previous church that I used to attend when I was 12. I have prayed for you. Remember to read Matt. 6:14-15. I hope this helps. I am sure your ol pastor would appreciate if you give him a call. God bless you…Thanks.

  38. Ron,
    I think many people become disillusioned with church. They know they are “supposed” to go for their relationship with the Lord, but inwardly, part of what they’re looking for is Community. They want to be noticed by someone when walking in. They want to hear “hey —, come sit with us.” They want to be Known. And if that doesn’t happen, it’s hard to feel connected to the body of worshippers. We Christians are often hardest on each other. I think one of the best ways we can truly be salt and light is to help make our churches feel like home.

  39. We attend church, but we know of some who say, they've been too busy just making a living, while others say churches just want their $$$. Still ofthers have been deeply offended by church members or church staff, and the Bible says, "A brother offended is not easily won."

  40. Always loved going to church. The only time we haven't been involved with a local group is when we've been hunting for a new church. I have a question along with why people don't go to church – Why do 3,500 people leave 'the church' everyday? Sad.

  41. Great question! Our pastors asked us the same one. I believe there are many reasons. The youth are said to be "the next generation" of the church when they are part of the church NOW. We need to get them involved in service and true bible teaching (not just the stories of the bible but Who is God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) A firm foundation needs to be built from the very beginning with Love Joy and in the Spirits power.
    Some fellowships are like a country club not a hospital. We need to be receiving of the wounded, down trodden and addicted. We should be looking outward to serve the community not inward to pacify ourselves. It sounds hard but it is true. I personally have to examine my heart daily and ask God if I am doing what He wants me to do and not just following a program.

  42. YOU ARE THE FIRST PASTOR THAT I'VE HEARD, THAT SEEM TO REALLY CARE. I LISTEN TO A LOT OF THEM AS THEY SPEAK GOD'S WORDS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. THERE IS ALWAYS A REASON. I GREW UP IN CHURCH ALSO. THERE ISN'T ANYTHING GREATER THAN FELLOWSHIP WITH THE SAINTS. SO WHAT HAPPENED, A LONG LONG STORY. I'VE SHARED WITH SOME PASTORS AND FAMILY MEMBERS. THEY ALL TOLD ME TO NEVER TELL ANY ONE AGAIN. Jesus LITERARY CAME DOWN, TURNING CLOUDS TO A LADDER INTO MY ROOM, HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND, AND GRANTED ME REPENTANCE ,TAUGHT ME(IN2004), AND HAS BEEN HELPING ME TO LIVE FROM DAY TO DAY IN HIM SINCE. I'M STILL OUT OF THE ASSEMBLY, ONLY WITH THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS AT TBN.24/7. THE STORY IS HORRIBLE, AND CONSIST OF MANY PASTORS IN THIS TOWN. PLEASE PRAY THAT MY FAMILY AND I, RECEIVE GOD'S WILL TO BE PLACED WHERE HE HAS ORDAINED, BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD. THANK YOU.