I was recently having a discussion with a small group of friends on Facebook about going to church and why some have chosen to stop going and what they like about church. I asked those in the discussion if I could share the conversations and that I wouldn’t mention their real names. So, I will use an alias.
Reason 1: Feeling Unwelcomed
One of the members of the group brought up how he arrived at church about 10 minutes late. His wife was struggling with their little baby in the foyer. His wife took the baby to the nursery and then joined him. This was their first time at that particular church. They stopped going to church years ago, but wanted to start going again because they are parents now. They were church shopping.
Since they came in a little late the usher grabbed his shoulder and stopped from entering the sanctuary since they were preparing for prayer, they were told they had to stand there and not enter the sanctuary until the time was right. He felt as if they weren’t welcome and that the people were cold. He was saying that it was obvious that they weren’t wanted there and never came back. When they read this, I really hope they give my church a secind chance since my church us a very kind and loving place.
Reason #2- No Room in the Inn
There was a couple that was in the discussion. I wasn’t going to mention this one, but, I do think it should be included. I wasn’t going to include it because this couple actually visited my church. While they were being a part of the discussion, they were sending me a private message on Facebook. They attend another church locally, but they visited our church one Sunday.
This couple was saying that when they attended church there was a full house. They came in a few minutes late and the service already started. When they came in, they were left standing in the foyer. They were thinking about coming back to church, but have decided not to. The reason why is because nobody was willing to go to the overflow area.
Instead of getting help in finding a seat in the sanctuary, they were directed to the overflow room. In that room, the screen is harder to see. Instead of whoever was ushering that week, they were told to go sit i this other room.
Whoever was the usher should have had someone in the pews slide over so they could sit in the main sanctuary. No new comers should have been directed to a room where they would be sitting alone. They didn’t want me to share thier names. But, I think we dropped the ball on this. I invited them to come back and I let them know that this isn’t normal for our church. They told me not to worry about it since it wasn’t my fault. But, I still felt bad since it happened at my church.
Reason #3: Singled Out
This reason is one that I totally can understand and our church use to do this. It has also been one of those things that has stopped me from going to some churches and it makes me cringe.
One of the ladies in the group said that as she was looking for a new church home, she was put on the spot. When I asked her what she meant, she said that during the announcements they had a part in the service where the lay leader (announcer) would ask if there is anyone that is new to the church. She was saying that when they ask the new comers to stand and introduce themselves. She wasn’t the only new comer that day.
She does what I do when I’m looking for a church and that is google the church to see what they do. I was telling her that if the church that I’m planning on going to does the whole stand if you’re new thing and introduce yourself, then I won’t go. Our church use to do that and I was so glad to see that we no longer do it. She has decided that she doesn’t need to go to a church or building in order to worship God. She can do that from home.
Reason #4—I’ve been hurt by the Church.
One of the ladies said that the reason she stopped going to church was because she was hurt by the church. This woman has 3 children and was recently divorced. She was mentioning how the pain that she has been dealing with was too much to bear. She felt as if she couldn’t handle life anymore. She wanted to end her pain once and for all.
She was in a dark place emotionally and spiritually . She went to her pastor to let him know what she was feeling. As she was talking to her pastor she described her pain to him. As she was talking to him, she realized that she was being judged. He ran down a list of things that she needed to change in order to please God.
That was the last time she went to church. While she still believed in Jesus, she knew that church wasn’t where she needed to be.
We were all talking about how Satan is the one planting these thoughts in her heart and mind that we are all broken. There isn’t anyone who will be exempt from the pains of this world. There isn’t a perfect person in the world and that includes pastors and church leaders.
Reason #5 Hypocrites and Judgmental
This older gentleman was saying that churches are full of hypocrites and I had to agree with him because he is right. He was surprised when I agreed with him. If someone says that churches don’t have hypocrites they are lying because we are all hypocrites.
Definition of hypocrite
1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
I know for myself, I have said and done things that I shouldn’t have done. I have said one thing and done another. I have many regrets. I have no doubt that we have all done things or said things that are regretful.
I have missed opportunities to show kindness and love to my family members, friends and strangers. There have been many times when I have shown how selfishness and lack of concern. When this gentleman said he no longer attends church because of all the hypocrites within the walls, he was shocked that we all agreed with him.
John 10:10 (NIV) 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Reason #6- Organized Religion:
A short time after we began the conversation about why someone would stop going to church a woman jumped into the conversation.
I live in Utah where the Mormon Church (LDS Church) is the main church. This woman also lives in Utah. I think she said she said she lived in Ceder City which is about 50 miles from me. But, anyhow, she said she stopped going to any church because she decided that any organized church or religion isn’t something she is interested in. She has tried numerous churches and years ago she said she caved in and decided that she needs to stick with the Mormon Church.
I asked her why she decided on that the Mormon Church/ She said that while she didn’t believe everything they taught, it was just easier and they were there to help her when she needed food or help with other things.
After spending years in the Mormon Church she said that she lost faith in organized religion all together. I don’t think she lost her faith since she referenced a couple of Bible verses. These are the ones she quoted.
- John 4:24 (NIV) God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
- John 17:17 (NIV)- Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
One of the guys in the group wanted to have her go into more details since they weren’t familiar with the Mormon Church. I was a bit apprehensive on this conversation since I have so many friends that are Mormon (LDS). So, I tried to step back a bit with this conversation, but I personally feel that we all have the responsibility to be honest when it comes to talking to others about Jesus Christ.
The guy wanted more details and he asked her for specifics on why she left the Mormon church. I’m hoping I get the wording right. I did make sure to save the conversation since I wanted to share the correct words. So, this is what she said and I think it also pertains to other churches and not just the Mormon Church.
- She left the Mormon church because the Bishop and church leaders are focused on themselves and don’t understand what it means to be a Christian, even though they say they are Christian.
- Someone came up to her and asked her if she understood what the Bible verse John 3:16 meant to her. She then stated that she doesn’t know what the verse said since she was told that the Book of Mormon was all she read and that she doesn’t read the Bible.
- John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NIV)For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.She was challenged to read the Book of John in the Bible and she didn’t even know where that was in the Bible. But, she did read it and the Book of Romans.
She told those in our group that she is disillusioned with organized religion because she feels like she has been lied to her entire life. She said that he will stick with watching church on the internet or TV.
Reason #7- I don’t need to go to church in order to be saved or to go to Heaven
One of the members of the group responded to this excuse. Which in my opinion isn’t really an excuse. I’m going to ask Pastor Ray if he will write a blog or short devotional on this excuse or comment.
My response to this person and I can’t remember who it was is that I don’t believe that we have to go to church in order to be saved. For myself and I have been having problems going to church for medical reasons. But, I know for myself that when I go, it helps me get through my week. I listen to the sermons online on youtube. But it isn’t the same. Going to church encourages me and fellow-shipping with others feeds my soul. I know for myself when I don’t go to church, there is a void.
Pastor Ray has been doing sermons out of the Book of John. If you would like to listen to the sermons you can go to my churches website and listen to the Sermons and Bible Studies. You will be encouraged.
I do not believe we must “go to church” to be “saved”; I do believe that as fallible human beings we need some source of recharging, or encouragement, of community and of guidance. Holy Scripture, homilies that give us perspective and God’s comfort, the fellowship and strengthening that come from the mystical power of community — all these are food for our soul and can be found in a place of worship.
For more information about what you need to do in order to be saved you can read what is written below. This information came from the website Got Question. They have a great deal of information. I provided a link below after the paragraph.
(Got Question) How can I be saved? What do I need to do?
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). God has already done all of the work. All you must do is receive, in faith, the salvation God offers (Ephesians 2:8-9). Fully trust in Jesus alone as the payment for your sins. Believe in Him, and you will not perish (John 3:16). God is offering you salvation as a gift. All you have to do is accept it. Jesus is the way of salvation (John 14:6).