Barna Group research reports that 10% of American’s today say they “love Jesus but not the church”. This statistic is up from 7% in 2004. Life Way Research says that about 70% of the young adult group drop out of church. Two-thirds of the dropouts will return to church later in life, but…23% drop out for good. These people are choosing to remove themselves from a church family. Why?
See if some of these reasons for not going to church sound familiar:
I need down time on Sunday morning.
I can find God in other places.
Church is not relevant to me.
It doesn’t meet my needs.
I’m tired of the routine at church.
The church doesn’t connect with my life.
I don’t like the changes at church.
I have problems with how the church is run.
People at church are heavy handed with condemnation.
I don’t like the conflicts at church.
My children’s needs are not being meet.
There are no “good” churches close to me.
We know that some of these reasons are valid at times. Jesus went to church and participated, and he was God....Luke 4:16 says, “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.”(NIV) I’m sure he could have used several of these excuses even then, not to attend. He chose to go to church and sit with people who hated him. Jesus was very intentional in all he did. He gave us an example of church attendance even when the church wasn’t perfect.
Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” God, as always, has our own good in mind. Christians do not thrive in isolation. Following Christ is not easy and we need fellowship with other believers to be successful in the Christian life. God designed us to live in community. That is where we live out the great commission of telling others about Christ and -the church-is where we go for back up.
So, choosing to not attend church is a disobedient act toward God. Jesus and God are one. If you love Jesus why turn from His church? In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says, “I will build my church.” Jesus’ mission was church building. Of course, our churches today, just as in Jesus’ day, are imperfect. One day this will change-when Jesus comes back to Earth, gathers us to him, and transforms our earthly bodies into glorified ones. The church we attend at that time will be glorious-without blemish.
Let’s get to the bottom line. People who remove themselves from a church family dramatically reduce their ability to glorify God. They also are not putting themselves in position to receive God’s favor through their own disobedience.
Brian Dembowczyk says, “Dropping out of church is far more than rejecting church culture. Walking away from church is forsaking the gospel, refusing to be changed, and rejecting God’s mission for us. Walking away from the church is actually walking away from Jesus and all He died for.” Harsh and true.
Satin loves all the excuses that keep us from living victoriously. We need to get over ourselves and get the bigger picture. We must look past the people to Jesus.
Be creative. If a church doesn’t meet your needs-actively seek out one that does. That needs to be your mission until you find the body of believers that will encourage your walk with Christ. And church isn’t all about getting. When you become active in a church, often times all those things that use to bother you will become less and less important. And remember, the church is as close to heaven as we can get until God calls us to Him.
“I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18b)