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Why Christians are Leaving Church

Updated on February 2, 2017

The Missing Body

Many Christians stop going to church or don't go as often as they once did. This is because of disillusionment with religion, the politics or leadership failure. Your love God but are sick of "church" as usual. In spite of its faults, the church (body of Christ) has been ordained by God and together we are to be the representation of God in the earth.

People, from all denominations, are falling away from the Church attendance, and sometimes God. Spiritual isolation and the un-churched is not the exception, but sadly a regular occurrence.

It is not that these brothers and sisters do not love God, but perhaps because of some emotional, spiritual wound or an inability to fit in with established religion, they refuse to go back to church. The Church is supposed to be your spiritual home, a place to connect with other believers.

When Christians Disappear

You might not know their names, or even noticed when they stopped coming, but they are out there! There are many wounded men and women who go to church looking for love, acceptance, and healing, only to feel that they are invisible. These believers want to go to church again, but seem to be unable to find their way.

If you are one of these spiritually isolated Christians, know that God is not finished with you, and has a place for you in the body of Christ! When I say the body of Christ, I do not necessarily mean the church, but among God's sanctified believers.

Have you ever left a church because you were wounded?

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The Benefits of a Smaller Ministry

I may be prejudice, but when I came to the Lord, I attended a little home fellowship. It was small and intimate, and I was able to ask questions and receive prayer and counseling when I needed it.

It was a place where people were mentored and found Godly accountability. That small fellowship has since become a thriving church in the inner city. That little home church has also birthed many, Pastors, Evangelists, Prophets, Teachers and Apostles.

Ephesians 4:11-12: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Many a large ministry had humble beginnings in a home, school or storefront. These pioneers did not mind rolling up their sleeves and working tirelessly with the people in the rural and inner-city neighborhoods.

Should your Church be Well Known?

Some are drawn to big ministries with big name Pastors. Some want to be able to say, my Pastor is Bishop so and so. I feel it is more important to seek God for the ministry you should attend.

He knows you and knows what you need. There are churches that have lost the Glory of God, yet they are filled with people. So seek to attend a ministry, just because it is large.

I sometimes wonder if the mega church has forever changed the concept of what a successful ministry looks like. A successful ministry has nothing to do with numbers, but rather is the will of God being carried out?

There are many wonderful church leaders, with smaller ministries, who walk humbly before the Lord and serve the people with the heart of a true shepherd. Those are the ones you so seldom hear about, because they may be small or hidden away, but these ministries are Pastored by men and women after God's heart.

Michah 6:8: He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Are you Discouraged by...

Lavish Lifestyle of Leaders

Pastors living in homes worth millions of dollars, while members struggle to maintain a simple household. The people are caused to question their own walk with God, when a Pastor drives a $100,000 car and then turns to the congregation and tells them, "see how God will bless you when you serve God?" Is God only the God of the Pastor? Is he not also the God of His people?


I have seen offerings being taken, like a common auction. "Everyone with one hundred dollars, come! If you love the Lord, come running down the aisle now. While the anointing if flowing, run, don't hesitate! This is your breakthrough, come with your offering." What about those who have no offering to give.

I have seen the offering go from, " if you have $100," down to $1.00 finally to, "whatever money you have, bring it now. " I have seen those with the largest offerings receive a Word from the Lord, while those who gave the widows mite receive and pat on the head for a blessing. This type of manipulation is common and can really turn people off.

Spiritual Abuse

I personally know ministries where the members were being terrorized from the pulpit. Threats of death and being cursed, was uncommon, to try to keep the people in control. This same ministry required to give thirty percent tithes, and stay in mandatory three-day shut-ins with no food of water even for the children.


I won't go into the recent church scandals, recall you own if you desire. When sexual sin is a problem with the leaders in a ministry. A Pastor's sin should not be swept under the rug, nor should the scripture, "touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm", be used to keep people quiet about the immorality.

Sin is to be condemned no matter who commits it, and if there is repentance, the fallen is to refrain from ministry for a period of time, to later be restored in a spirit of meekness and love.

These are the things that drive God's people from the church and cause them to wonder as sheep without a shepherd.

God is aware that the church is imperfect as He reveals in the letter to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3.

How to Protect your Relationship with God

You can not control what others do, and ultimately you are responsible for only one thing, that is the relationship between God and you. If you are in a spiritual situation where you are unhappy, continue to pray and read the Word of God.

You can maintain spiritual strength even in adverse situations. Apostle Paul was imprisoned for the balance of his life, yet he wrote most of the New Testament. Do not allow what you see around you to steal your joy and intimacy with God.

Remain prayerful and keep in touch with like-minded Christians. God never promised you would have a perfect world, but told is, that in this world we would have tribulation. He ended that scripture with: be of good cheer for I have overcome the world. John 16:33. No matter what the situation, God will give you the strength and grace to go through it and come out on the other side victorious!

Finding a Good Church

Finding a New Church

You will never find a perfect church, because the church is made of people, and people are fallible. You will, however, be able to find a perfect church for you. Men and women are human and subject to human faults and failures. This is why the scripture reminds us, the arm of flesh will fail us.

It can be discouraging to be a part of a ministry that you think in wonderful, only to find that there are many problems. Follow a ministry as long as they are following the Word of God. If a ministry fails to line up with the Word of God, stop following that ministry.

1Co 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

It is also important to examine yourself, to determine if you are being overly sensitive or perhaps, the Lord has touched on some areas of your life that needs to change. Are you being resistant to His correction?

Resist the belief that no church is right, or that everyone is a hypocrite. The enemy will use these discouragements in church, to turn away from the Lord.

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

I have often heard the saying, God will not have you leave a church unless He shows you where to go! Sounds good, but not necessarily true. It depends on why you are leaving. If you are being spiritually, physically, or emotionally abused, you should leave that ministry for you own well being. Don't walk, but run as fast as you can!

Have you Stop Going to Church?

If you are one of those who is discouraged with the church experience, or you have been, neglected, hurt or have been abused in church, know that God loves you.

You are a part of the body of Christ and the Lord will minister healing and restoration to you. Ask God to help you forgive those who you feel have mistreated you. You may have to go to those you have offended and ask forgiveness as well.

Find a safe place to come together with other believers for the sake of fellowship and hearing God's word. Know that God is still doing a work in your life, and out of your experience, God will get the glory. Continue to read the bible and seek the Lord through prayer.

When looking for fellowship, look for a ministry where God's Word is preached, there is liberty and God's spirit flows. Cell groups, or home group, are a great place to obtain healing and restoration as the group is small and others will minister and counsel you. Just allow the Holy Spirit to minister to every need you have.

What to Look for in a Ministry

The Church is a place to learn the Word of God, receive healing, deliverance, and to develop men and woman for the work of the ministry. God has put in the body, the tools to teach and prepare each believer for the work that God has given them to do. The people of God do not belong to the pastors, they belong to God.

When Looking for a Ministry ask yourself this:

  • Is the teaching sound and biblical?
  • Is the presence of God there?
  • Is the Pastor himself under authority?
  • Is the love of God there?
  • Is the ministry active in outreach?
  • Is there healing and deliverance taking place?
  • Does the teaching promote spiritual growth?
  • Are people being trained to fulfill their God-given ministries?
  • Do you feel welcomed?
  • Is there liberty rather than legalism?

You may not be able to find all these in one ministry but look for as many as possible leading with sound biblical doctrine, love and the Spirit of God being present.


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    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 2 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thanks Neil, for taking time to leave this insightful comment.

    • profile image

      Neil Braithwaite 2 years ago

      You make some very good points. But you are only addressing the symptoms of a far greater and much more dangerous problem with what we know as "church" today.

      The church today is nothing more than a man-made "religious" institution grounded in the un-biblical traditions of man, just as the "church" in Jesus' time had become.

      You need only study Jesus' teachings about the doctrines of man imposed on the Jews of His day by the leaders of the Temple that He called, "The sons of Hell." Matthew 23 tells us exactly what Jesus thought of the “church” leaders of His day and the system THEY had put in place.

      Jesus didn’t care much for the so-called “religious” leaders, specifically because they had corrupted the pure ordinances of God by turning “God’s house” into a “religious” institution which they funded on the backs of even poor widows. And based on Jesus' remarks to His disciples after His rant to the Pharisees and scribes, He also didn’t care much for the building itself either. Matthew 24:1-2.

      Today’s “church” is no different than what Jesus observed when He came on the scene. His words would ring as true as they did then if He were to speak them in any church today.

      Most who come out of the harlot churches today are being led by the Holy Spirit. Please don’t patronize them by telling them how to find a “good” church! In doing so, you lay the blame at their feet for somehow not knowing better how to find a “good” church. You also encourage them to ignore the Holy Spirit and return to the harlot system and reunite again with the "sons of hell."

      “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Matthew 23:15

      And why do you suppose Jesus called them the "sons of hell?" Because THEY were NOT being led by the Spirit of God, but by the prince of darkness – Satan!

      For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14

      Those who listen to the Holy Spirit are not at fault - they are the ones listening to and being led by the Spirit of God! They are saving themselves by obedience to the Holy Spirit from the eternal judgment that will not only fall on the false leaders of today's harlot church, but all those who blindly follow and support them.

      Please read the first two posts on my blog and another hubpage author for a much more in depth teaching on this issue.

      In Him

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 2 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thanks for your comment flpalermo. Many are frustrated with traditional church. There are churches who have home meetings or 'cell' groups, where the setting is intimate and people can ask questions and receive prayer. The church I received Christ in started as a home fellowship. They still have home fellowship, even though they have grown into a main church building. I learned everything I know from those small intimate home fellowship meetings! I did check out the website. Very nice!

    • flpalermo profile image

      flpalermo 2 years ago

      Did you know that the early Church met in peoples homes? I have been watching a church at home program on T.V. where the members don't need to get involved in a "traditional" Christian Church. If it's not wrong, I will like you to see for yourselves. Check it out at Very good article.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thank you for your comment Fuller Life. We have a long way to go as the body of Christ. We must continue to look to Him as the author and finisher of our faith! Jesus, no frills!

    • Fuller-Life profile image

      Fuller-Life 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you for showing courage in writing this hub. I agree with many things you said. We as the Church must begin to rethink what we are doing and what our mission is all about. Great hub!

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Timothy, thanks so much for taking time to comment on this hub. The scriptures you use, are some of my favorites.

    • Timothy Donnelly profile image

      Timothy Donnelly 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I enjoyed reading this hub; I think it is quite relevant for many people and families. The video you included about "How To Find a Good Church" is also appropriate.

      Scriptures help one distinguish between church paradigms as in 1st Kings 19: 11-12 where it is revealed "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."

      This truth corresponds with at least two other verses in Another Testament of Jesus Christ, for instance in Helaman 5: 30 "And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—" and moreover in 3rd Nephi 11:3 "And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn."

      For me, loud and aggressive preaching is disheartening and can be intimidating; especially knowing that the Holy Spirit does not communicate with the soul in this manner, for sure.

      Thank you for this well-done Hub, 2besure; it helps one reconsider to faithfully attend and gather with a choice flock of the Good Shepherd, who is Christ.

      Remember also that the Anointed One said in John 10: 16 "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."

      Peace, Good Tidings, and Fare Thee Well.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      lambservant, what you say is true! We have to be so careful how we treat people . We also need to train our leaders and greeters and members to walk in love. Love should be a yearly series for every ministry.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I love and appreciate this hub. My closest friend quit attending church quite awhile back. It breaks my heart. I know of many, many others as well. Most often it is because they have been hurt, and they resist going elsewhere for fear of the same thing happening. Or if they do go to a new church, they have their defenses up so high that they don't really get involved.

      Then there are those who just would rather sleep in on Sunday or they have some activity that involves Sunday and they put that first. I once knew a woman who said she loved God and is a believer in Jesus, but she has horses and all the events she had to go to for the horses were on Sunday. Then there are the little league teams who play on Sunday so the parents make that a priority. What kind of message does that send to a child. God is not as important than your sports.

      I just wrote a hub with some of your other themes in your hub so what you said really resonates. I would love to send this to my friend. You offered here a non-judgmental, compassionate, and biblical piece. God bless you.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thanks for taking time to comment Rev. Akins! You are one of the unsung heroes, I talk about! You may not be famous or wealthy, but you are the heart of ministry. You roll up your sleeves and labor in the Gospel every day. You know each member by name, sometimes loose sleep over they troubles. God Bless you for your service.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Ruth K., finding the right church can be difficult especially when you know what you are looking for. Keep praying that the Lord will show you a church that meets you needs, that means, spiritually, and where you gifts and talents will be used. Everyone has something to offer and believers are most content, when they are fulfilling God's call on their lives. Blessings

    • profile image

      Ruth K. 4 years ago

      Church has become routine, programmed and boring for me... Sometimes I feel like a robot who's buttons are being pushed by the pastors or worship leader. The Holy Spirit seems out of the window and Jesus far away as the people " reverend" the Pastor. Speaking in toungues is like a showing off technique rather than prayer.. The pastors kids do most of the music ministry and are treated as royalty. The scripture in acts is ignored while some have cars and even Jets and some walk on foot, as nothing is in common. There is no widows mite and nothing is given to the poor. We are expected to give tithe and offering and yet we are not even told how much the building is and if the monies are actually the pastors coz he stands at the front while we give our offering" and OH the flattery! You look so lovely. U have lovely hair! You have the cutest babies! Etc!

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      janshares, thanks for taking time to comment. God is good and it is important to know him for yourself. People have faults, but the Lord, never fails.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Wonderful hub, 2besure, voted up and awesome. So many people need this. It's a shame that so many things prevent or distract from having a relationship with God and being a part of a loving faith community.

    • Edwinoel Tanglao profile image

      Edwinoel Tanglao 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      True, 2besure, whatever leads you to the truth in Christ's words, pray and continue to be an instrument of the love of Jesus in your church by helping others, not to be a willing instrument of evil and be blinded by what is material. May we see the light in the blood of Christ on the cross and see better the essence of the truth in his words and in his love.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      More and more believers are beginning to see, that it is not in the hype. Juse give me Jesus!

    • Esrom Art profile image

      Esrom Aritonang 6 years ago from Indonesia

      I love your explanation and I agree with you. Church need invention and innovation to make it better and facing the hyper modern situation. I wrote an article in the same sound, title: Drink Coffee with Jesus. God bless us.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      perich, perhaps closing your church, is a part of the new plan God has for you and ministry. True if you are called to Pastor, you do not want to find yourself as a minister of music in another Pastor's minister. Many are sick or the business of organized "Church!" Simple church (organic) church. As an ordained minister, I too feel the frustration or organized religion!

      I was birthed in organic church during the 70's. It was a home fellowship. It was wonderful, we had accountability and could not hind in the masses. We all were encouraged to get involved in witnessing. We all prayed, God used us all in signs, wonders and miracles. All this birthed in a basement apartment in the Bronx, NY. I will keep you in prayer. Please keep me informed of what is happening with your ministry! Pam

    • profile image

      prerich 6 years ago

      I recently closed an organized body. The stress was extreme on myself and my family. We are looked upon as leaders in the community - and I was told by a fellow pastor that he couldn't see me just going to a church, I would have to pastor one. Well I realized that I can't join what I'm born into. I've had pastor friends that wanted me to join their body after ours closed - to help the music ministry, teach ect. but after talking to them - they wanted me to come for the wrong reasons. I basiclly have a Bible Study during the week and its begining to go out on skype. I become a fan of "simple church" or "organic church". Organized Church in the U.S. has become a monster and it devoures everthing around it, its more of a business than church. I'm not saying that people can't function in organized (Romanized?) religion - but organic, house church seems more authentic - not popular but definately more authentic.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Amen Lady_E, love is the key to healing and restoration.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      A very, very important Hub. Lots don't know how to get back which is why Xtians should reach out more to help them..... and once they are back, shower them with Love.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Amen Blair! Amen! Thanks for these words.

    • Blair Rockefeller profile image

      Blair Rockefeller 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I believe small home groups are vital. Expecially if you are in a large church. There needs to be that personal interaction of believers with each other. As far as the faults of some. I find that for myself I must always ask, "How can I serve God?" Not "How can God serve me?"

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      Beautiful Hub and a wonderful, needful message. Thank you. It has been delivered right on time.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I believe we think we have a choice in where we go to church when in reality God Chooses a church for us...


      Certifiedhandy, can you give me a scripture for this statement?

      God give us common sense and freedom of choice. The Spirit of God will lead us but not control our decisions.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I believe we think we have a choice in where we go to church when in reality God Chooses a church for us...


      Certifiedhandy, can you give me a scripture for this statement?

    • profile image

      Certifiedhandy 6 years ago

      I believe we think we have a choice in where we go to church when in reality God Chooses a church for us, plants us in order to grow, bare fruit, mold our characters and serve and we not understanding the Perfect Will of God leave when our pride and selfish nature gets out of control. This is why "church hopping" is so popular in this country. The music has to be just the way we like it. And it doesn't hurt if we can rub shoulders with a celeb now and then. So we leave, stay a little while at Bishop so-and-so then uproot ourself and join somewhere else. Its about Gods' Will not yours LOL...

      In His Service

    • Joni Douglas profile image

      Joni Douglas 6 years ago

      Well done. Bigger isn't always better in fact, for most who truly want to have a personal relationship with the other members of their church, smaller is usually better. Great Job.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Great points Michael! Thanks.

    • Michael Adams1959 profile image

      Michael Adams1959 6 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

      I have been in big churches and seen them split over the power struggles, I have seen smalls with the family only clicks we need to JUST serve God! AWESOME HUB

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thanks for your insight Pastor Akins. I also appreciate your labor in the Lord.

    • Rev. Akins profile image

      Rev. Akins 6 years ago from Tucson, AZ

      As a pastor of a small rural church I agree with you on several points. I hope that most mega churches are serving God, maybe not the way I would, but may they be a blessing in what they do as Christians. I agree that the pastor seems to have a lot of power in some churches, and I have seen what happens when the pastor is corrupted by the power. People are people, whatever the title they have. Great Hub, I really enjoyed reading it.

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