Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

5 Reasons People Don’t Go to Church (Part 2)

Yesterday I posted a blog about the growing trend of not going to church. Here are a few of the reasons I think people stay home:

1) Church people require us to practice what we believe. It is easier to avoid church people and go solo in your faith. But going solo doesn’t test your ability to react to the unlovely, occasionally offensive person. Jesus loved the church and highly values it. He created the body to represent Him and work together.

2) We are lazy and don’t have the discipline to get up every week and go to church. It is easier to sleep in on Sunday, read the paper and have a great breakfast.


3) Church is thought of as a consumer service. There are aspects of it we don’t like, so why consume? So many people say they don’t go based on dislikes for parts of the service.

4) Church seems irrelevant to daily living. Churches need to do a better job addressing the issues of the day and equipping people to live in our culture. Rather than isolate from the culture, the church needs to be a place that engages culture and makes a difference. For example, in preparing for a conference that would address the issue of depression, a pastor said the people in his church were not depressed–clearly he is out of touch with what people are dealing with today. How can the church encourage and help those depressed if the church doesn’t acknowledge the problem?


5) We don’t sacrifice our personal needs for others. Churches often requires participation. It is easier not to go and avoid being asked to do anything. Yet it is when we give of our selves, that we feel better.

These are just 5 of my thoughts. I would love to hear yours.

What are your reasons for not going to church, or why do you think others don’t value church enough to go? Discuss!


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Ken Hymes

    I’ve been a worship leader for twelve years, and honestly I don’t blame people one bit for not going to church. The church, generally: is complacent about its own virtue, and overtly or implicitly judgmental about outsiders; shows through its budgets and activities that its priority is salaries and facilities first, overseas mission trips second, and local needs last; feels happy to borrow the skills and techniques of popular culture when it is seen as useful, but disparages the subcultures that actually created the art forms in the first place; is full of fake scholarship about the Bible, and unwilling to have an honest conversation about scripture; is hostile or indifferent to any knowledge or insight that isn’t generated by seminaries and pastors; sees youth as a problem to be solved or managed; treats those few people who enter in out of need as projects rather than equals. Worse, at many many churches, there is sexual misconduct and emotional abuse that is protected and covered up. More basically, the quality of the experience at most churches is quite low. There is better speaking, better music, better socializing, better counseling, to be had elsewhere. If the focus was truly on Jesus and his teachings in church, then the budgets and the community posture would be radically different. There are exceptions, of course, but the church mostly needs to stop blaming those who don’t go to church for its own failures, and start looking itself in the mirror. The Gospel is attractive, survey after survey shows that Americans generally like Jesus and the Gospel to the extent they are aware of it. What they don’t like is the church. So if you can’t change the church, leave and spread the Gospel elsewhere, it’s the only reasonable thing to do. If you can’t be accepted by the church, Jesus never once said that was necessary. Christ is not contained in a building. The church loves to say that you can’t be a Christian outside the church. It’s horsecrap. Jesus said NOTHING about churches or buildings or pastors or bible study. Jesus pointed to God, and revealed God’s character through his words and his deeds. To follow Jesus is to do that.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Linda Mintle

    Some great points. I think one of the reasons we go to church is because it has been the traditional way of meeting and gathering. Even Jesus went to the temple.

    That said, I agree, we are the church and getting together in less traditional means is not problematic. I know you do “church” with other believers and continue to fellowships. My sense from talking to people is that many are not doing either–going or meeting with others to “commune with the saints”. Wondering why that is? Asking the question. My five reasons came from talking to people who don’t so what you do.

    I agree, in most churches you have to make great effort to build relationships because the service isn’t structured that way, Maybe that is part of the problem. It is my hope that we all can find a group of people who help us along the journey, remind us of the biblical perspective of life and practice doing life together. How it happens is less of an issue to me than if it happens. My concern is that people have abandoned the traditional church but aren’t in any type of activity, support or group where they commune, especially in our culture that continues to take God out of so much.

    Thanks for the thoughtful responses.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Carol

    I agree with Judith that it would be far better for everyone if churches held a service in the afternoon. I think they would see a remarkable rise in attendance! I also would love to see them stick to studying the Bible instead of all the “programs.” The next emphasis should be on helping the poor and needy and being very TRANSPARENT in their finances.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Judith Voth

    I think church should have 2 services….one for the “early-birds” and a service in the mid-afternoon for all those who need the extra “rest” from getting up “early” all week….both kids and their parents need a “break” to relax on Saturday and Sunday mornings to sleep in and have a relaxing breakfast together as a family on the weekends! Society today is so busy and fast paced during the week that they all need to “slow-down” at least for the 2 days on the weekends! Then the kids and teens won’t “resent” going to church so “early!”

    Church needs to be more warm and inviting for both the regular attenders as well as the “new-comer” who is starting to look for God on Sunday as they realize that is when Church is in “session”—-either before the service or after so that all can make a reasonable “connection” with a fellow human being or “Christian-Believer” called fellowship—this would cause them to want to come back again and later become more involved in other gatherings during the week.
    “SUNDAY” is the day that is the most “important” day to really “grab-whole” for dear life the newcomer or “seeker!” If they don’t feel at home or welcome on this particular day in your church, you will loose them immediately….and they won’t see the relevance of church in their life!!!
    Church should meet the needs of the needy people rather then the people meeting the needs of the church….I have been a Christian for a long time and have moved to many different areas of the country and found most churches so “cold” and “unfriendly” especially to newcomers…and sadly, I have heard this from many other Christians as well….so how does the church expect the “non-believer” or “seeker” to feel…it is quite “scary” to some extent to enter a church where you know no one and then no one “acknowledges” your visit and the people are only chatting with the people they already know and do not even try to look for any new people that may have come on that particular day—As a newcomer to so many churches thru the years, my first question to the person that I happen to sit beside is “how long have you attended this church” in order to find out if they are a newcomer like me or have gone to this church for several years!!! 99.99% of the time it is not the regular attender of the church willing to “welcome” or even ask the newcomer if they are indeed “new” to their church or even just “new” to this person!

    Churches and Christians are pre-judged by non-believers as very “judgmental” group of people and “hiprocrites” and this is another main reason they stay away from church….and even other “Christians” tend to agree with them which is also very “sad!
    The Churches “image” needs an overhall or a more loving image to society. Ghandi even said that he liked Christ, it was you Christians that he didn’t like!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Tom Gale

    Vicky makes some very valid points. The “church” in America loves standing on their beliefs and principles at the cost of relationships. When truth becomes separated from the One who is Truth, Jesus, it is always disastrous.

    There are over 30,000 Christian denominations worldwide, each standing on the “truth” of what they believe the Bible teaches, and we wonder why others looking on see thru this facade.

    The researchers say it well why people don’t “go to church.” That phrase, “go to church” isn’t even biblical. We are the Church, it is not something you go to. If you can go to something, you can also leave it and we wonder why so many people who do go aren’t committed beyond the one day a week.

    The whole structure on Sunday mornings isn’t very conducive for relationships to even form besides flourish. It is primarily non-participatory, everyone staring at the back of other people’s heads as the “trained professionals” put on the show. The institutional church is far from being what the Church truly is. I don’t blame most for not wanting to attend the typical church service.

    I was part of the system for 25+ years and very involved at many levels. I haven’t been a part of it for almost 10 years now and I don’t miss it. I have great fellowship with believers all around the world on a very regular basis, more than once a week.

    I wish I too wouldn’t be judged because of my choosing not to attend Sunday mornings. I’ve had many look down their nose at me when they ask, “Where do you go to church?” and I reply, “Nowhere.” This isn’t a sin issue as many would want us to think.

    One researcher said, “Sunday morning gatherings are the fakiest two hours of the week.” Amen to that!

  • Linda Mintle

    Sad to hear this is how you were treated. Not my experience but I know others who say the same.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Vicky Chase

    Your reasons are all too judgmental of the Christians who don’t go to church, I am one. I stopped going to church when I felt like a pariah in my own fellowship because of my political beliefs. There is too much hate in the Christian right. Otherwise “Christian” people see no problem with hating a person because they are a democrat or independant. They see no problem with labeling a young woman a slut because she dares to speak to congress about birth control pills. When I tried to share how i believed the views of other political parties beyond republican also matched with the Christian mission I was always shouted down with cries of “YOU BELIEVE IN ABORTION!” (I don’t)and “HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN”

    So if you can’t even make a fellow Christian who disagrees with you politically feel at home in the house of God how can we make those who are not Christians feel at home.

  • Pingback: 5 Reasons People Don’t Go to Church (Part 2) | Dr. Linda Mintle

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