After reading the title of this post you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Only three? I can give you ten!” Well, that’s why I have a comment section. I would love for you to leave a comment, especially if you’ve stopped going to church for more reasons than I’m going to give you.
We all know someone who stopped going to church and usually we can come up with a vague reason why. Over the years I’ve been saddened yet intrigued by those who exit the church silently, seemingly unnoticed, they disappear, only to be seen on your Facebook feed. What happened?
It’s happened to every single one of us if we are honest. I remember the first time I was going to stop going to church when I was in my early twenties. I was mad and I had every good reason to be upset. I allowed bitterness to creep in my heart. I would go to church disappointed and leave defeated and disillusioned. Have you ever been there? Fortunately back then a faithful friend reached out to me and rescued me from what would have been a very bad decision.
I’m not saying the decision to stop going to church is bad for everybody because entire movements have been birthed from exiting traditional church models that are working for people who have had bad experiences with what goes on inside the walls. The reasons however are not always good enough for me, so after 18 years of seeing my friends, family, people I love, stop going to church I want to give you three reasons YOU stopped going. You can let me know if I’m right!
- People Disappointed You - When people let us down it’s really difficult to bounce back, but when people who go to church let us down it’s that much more difficult to overcome. These are folks that say they are living by the book, yet there actions and words may not align with what you know is true. It could be numerous things but the bottom line is you had an expectation that someone didn’t live up to. You had a need that someone didn’t meet. The person made a promise they didn’t fulfill. They gave you their word and didn’t keep it. That’s tough stuff to overcome when your going church hoping that things would be different. This is where bumper stickers phrases like, ” They are just a bunch of hypocrites” and “Jesus, save me from your people” come from. The fact is when people disappoint us we make decisions and many times it’s a decision to stop going to church
- Pastors Disappointed You - If you’ve stopped going to church because a pastor disappointed you probably recognize they are only human. You may find yourself saying, “I don’t follow men anymore.” I’ve heard that statement a few times. I’m a pastor and I know I’ve disappointed people. If it will help you move forward in your faith I’m sorry for what I did or didn’t do and if it wasn’t me you lost hope in, I apologize for the pastor that caused you to lose hope. When men and women of God disappoint us it’s like a dagger that’s wounded our soul. Every vulnerable place feels victimized. It is a deep emotional wound that causes us to make the decision to stop going to church, so the pain wills stop. I’ve seen it over and over again.
- Processes Disappointed You – If you’ve asked yourself, “Why in the world did they do that?” you have probably been part of a painful church process. Processes in church disappoint us because most of the time they are only practiced when something goes wrong. They are not refined, perfected or much less proven. A lot of times a church will adopt a “one size fits all” process that exalts procedure over people. It becomes process first, people second and when that happens people are hurt, families destroyed, and churches split.
Do any of these reasons ring true with you? If so, I would like to hear which one of the three made you stop going to church? If your still going to church, let me know which reason wants to makes you stop!