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Why People Are Leaving Church

Updated on March 28, 2011

Religion versus Relationship

 From the beginning of the creation of man, humans have had a deep seated desire to 'know' their Creator/God.  The 'void' was actually instilled in man by God Himself so that man could follow that desire and learn what God is actually like and Who He really is.  It is supposed to be a very 'intimate' relationship, even as intimate as a husband and wife, but through the years, humans have managed to fill that 'void' with everything BUT God, including material goods, relationships with others and even their own selves.  Men continue to seek 'spirituality' but in their desparation to find God, they are seeking anything that looks somewhat similar.  They are 'hungry' but not sure what the hunger really is and so they fill it with everything they can, not knowing that God, their 'spiritual' Father is the only One that can fulfill the desire they are so desperating seeking.

Many people think that 'religion' is the 'way to find God' so they join a church, in hopes to find Him there.  They attend church everytime the building is open and find that it does somewhat satisfy their hunger.  However, after a while, the people or the pastor of the church ends up disappointing them and even hurting them, so they drop out of church altogether.  They change churches or even denominations, in hopes to find the 'right one' that will bring them closer to God.  They have moments of 'intimacy' through the worship they experience there, and through the messages from the pastor of the church, but deep down, they know that church isn't what they are looking for.  They know they want something 'more'. 

In my personal life, I wasn't raised in a home where we went to church every Sunday.  We did attend a Baptist church every now and then.  I remember going to sleep in my daddy's lap everytime we went.  I was glad he didn't mind me sleeping because he understood that particular pastor put everyone to sleep and he had to fight it himself everytime we went.  He could have forced me to stay awake and sternly rebuke me for not paying attention, but I'm so glad he didn't.  If he would have, I probably would have stayed away from church forever.  I remember, as a child, being curious about God from a very early age.  I remember asking my daddy, 'Where is God?' and he replied, 'He's everywhere honey'.  My father wasn't a religious man, mainly because he hadn't had a relationship with his own father, as he died when my father was 7, falling down an oil rig.  My father searched for God all of his life but always thought he wasn't 'good enough' for God and that he couldn't live up to God's 'standards', so he only attended church on occasion, such as Christmas and Easter. 

I stayed within the Baptist faith for the first twenty years of my life.  However, the older I got, I couldn't ignore this 'drawing' I felt from God.  I wanted to KNOW Him and I knew that there was more than just attending church and listening to a sermon and singing hymns.  In fact, the piano and organ themselves, were like fingernails scratching a chalkboard and would drive me insane.  I wanted to sing music that brought me nearer to God, not away from Him. The older I got, the more I wanted to know God for who He really was, not what any pastor told me about Him. 

So, I,like many thousands of others, went from church to church, changing denominations, hoping to find the 'answer' I was looking for.  Through my journey, I Iearned that everyone keeps God in a 'box' of sorts.  They have their preconceived ideas of who He is and what are His likes and dislikes.  Most people who attend denominational churches believe that God is a 'judge' sitting in Heaven, counting their sins against them and feel that no matter how hard they try, they just can't follow the 'laws' that God has set for them to follow so they fall away, disheartened within themselves.  They stop attending church because they either feel that they are hypocrites or they don't want to be a hypocrite and so they stay home instead.  They still have a yearning to know God but feel that they aren't 'good' enough to come into His presence, so they give up.

Then, there are those people who have attended church all of their lives, only to realize that it has become a 'club' of sorts and that they are there to attend the regular 'events' and 'gatherings' which usually include lots of food and games and fun.  They don't feel any closer to God by attending these events, but it fulfills their needing to be with others so they continue to attend until another member or the pastor ends up hurting them in one way or another, and they leave. Now, today, there are more and more people, who consider themselves 'Christians' but stay home from church, still longing for a deep relationship with God, but not knowing where to find Him.

When God's spirit inspired the writers of the Scriptures, He did that in order to show man about his own self as well as some of the personality aspects of God.  The Scriptures can be compared to a parent leaving an 'instruction manual' for his/her children so that they can know how to live life on this earth and how to know to 'wise' and make the best decisions for themselves and their own children.  God wants His children to live 'blessed' lives and His desire is that 'everything be on earth as it is in Heaven', but it's up to us and our choices in our own individual lives as to whether that happens or not.  Unfortunately, most 'religious' people believe that the Scriptures are the only way to 'know' God and that if they memorize the words on the pages, that will teach them and bring them closer to God.  They don't know that the Spirit of God within them will teach them the things and the depths of God and who He really is.  They read the words on the pages that promise them abundance of life and all the 'good' things that God has in store for them, but they find it all hard to really believe it in their heart. 

If you are reading this and you are one of the 'lost sheep' who have left the church and 'religion' please know that there is a reason you are reading this hub.  You may be hurt and lost and alone and feel that God is far away from you.  You want an intimate relationship with Him, and the desire is still there, regardless of the pain you've been through.  However, you don't know where to go or how to find God so you have given up.  You may feel as though you've been 'in the wilderness' and that you would do anything just to find an 'oasis' to get you through this hard time.

Remember these are a 'spirit' being in a physical body, having a 'human' experience.  Who you are is not who you are on the outside.  Your parents created your physical body, but God created who YOU are and the desire you have to know Him was created by your Father Himself.  Jesus said, 'The Kingdom of God' is within you'.  You can seek Him and FIND Him when you seek Him with all of your heart'.  God is your REAL parent and He does talk to you when you talk to Him.  The more you seek Him and who He really is for Himself, the more you will know Him.  He will reveal Himself to you, little by little and you will find that the void within you is smaller and smaller and that you are becoming 'whole'.  Your need to find God won't be within the walls of a church building.  You will find that you have a real relationship with Him and can talk to Him no matter where you are or what you are doing.  He will answer your questions, no matter how menial they may seem.  You can get answers to simple things like finding your keys to your car to how to make your marriage everything you could ever have hoped for.  God is within you and will guide you in all your ways.  He's not in a building or in a religion, He's within you and teaching you just as a parent teaches it's child as it is growing up from a baby to a toddler to a teenager and then as an adult.  Everyone grows spiritually as they do physically.  God will reveal Himself more and more the older you become spiritually.  It takes time just as growing physically takes time.  Be patient and listen for His voice.  You won't hear anything audibly but you will 'know' in your spirit the answers you are seeking.  You will find that the more you seek Him the more you find Him and the more you find Him the more you love Him.  Love will overwhelm you and become your 'all in all'.  God IS love and when you have His love, you have everything you've been searching for.....


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    • Christy Stewart profile image

      Christy Stewart 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Your comment on denominations strikes a chord with me, but I believe our denominational choices are often made with little thought or introspection. I would love to see you dig deeper, looking into the purpose for inter-denominational churches which are popping up everywhere.

    • Disappearinghead profile image


      7 years ago from Wales, UK

      I left church two years ago and have not looked back. Since then I've grown so much more in my understanding of who God is, and I now have what I believe to be a much better understanding of scripture since I abandoned those formal doctrines too. My wife and I do miss Church, but what do we actually miss? It's the singing in unified worship and the relationships with other members. But how can we go back to being members of an organisation whose doctrines we don't believe anymore?

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 

      7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      humans have managed to fill that 'void' with everything BUT God...

      This statement is so true. It is about an intimated relationship with God, not a church or denomination. Things happen to churches and denomination, but if you have a real relationship with the creator, no one can alter that!

    • Judah's Daughter profile image

      Judah's Daughter 

      7 years ago from Roseville, CA

      What a blessing that you found God who always knew exactly where you were. He's spoken these loving, sweet words to me and they are for all of us who are His ~ "Wherever you are, I AM". You are His sheep and you've found pasture in Him. Praise God! Voted up and beautiful!!

    • Jerami profile image


      7 years ago from Houston tx

      Kindred spirits indeed!

      Great story, There are many people that believe church is a requirement in knowing God, and they need to know that it isn't; for the reasons you have so eliquently explained.

      Will be reading more of your stuff.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      7 years ago from trailer in the country

      thankyou for writing is a gentle view of God...I agree with you that God can be found...I love hearing stories from the personal experience.


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