Two Common Reasons People Leave a Church

Jason Silver | Pastor and Author

exitTwo of the most common reasons (not the only reasons) for people leaving a Church are:

1. Familiarity
2. Unreasonable Expectations leading to disappointment.

When disappointment sets in, we believe that there’s something wrong with our Church, or maybe we’re with the wrong Church. With such belief, leaving that Church is most likely imminent.

Although most folks, never really see that they will almost certainly go around the same mountain again at the next Church they go to. I’ve had many people over the years come to a church I pastored and their first Sunday give a big long story about why they left the 3 or 4 churches before they landed on our doorstep. And the “why they left” was always someone else’s fault, never their own. Personal responsibility is seldom, if ever mentioned in the process.

If you begin attending and commit to a Church with false or idealistic expectations of what it takes to make it work, no matter how long you stay there, you will have major challenges. And if you cement those ideas by saying to yourself ‘I am right and the Church is wrong’ it only makes matters worst.

Even though we see in scripture how the Church should be, much of our introduction to it comes from our parents, family members, or friends. No matter whose Church you are exposed to, remember that yours will be different because God has given yours its own mission and vision.

How You Can Help:

1) Reduce and or eliminate false expectations for your local Church. Grab a hold of the common vision of the Church. Live today, enjoy today and work toward a better and brighter tomorrow as you grow together in your relationships. In other words, set goals and work toward them as you create the Church God gave you the vision for.

2) Realize that local Churches like marriages go through different phases. Just like the weather; some days it’s sunny, some days it cold, others overcast and rainy, while others are stormy. All Churches are confronted with changes and challenges. But when stormy days arrive, the true test of your commitment will be ‘how did we weather the storm.’ Those who stand firm during times of storms, come out at the other end with a stronger and renewed love for one another.

3) There’s nothing wrong with going to another Church to visit or for a conference and leaving impressed with how they do Church. However, avoid comparing your Church with theirs, and returning back with a corrective attitude towards how your leadership should be doing what that Church is doing. This is actually hurtful, and shows lack of appreciation for the hard work of your home Church leadership. Not to mention, if you actually attended the other Church for any period of time , you would eventually find things you didn’t like about it too.

It’s been said regarding a marriage certificate, that it really is a work permit. Well the same can be said about commitment to a local Church… we’re all in this to work together!

As disciples we are called to be contributors, not consumers. It’s not all about what your Church can do for you, it’s what can you do for your church family?

Copyright 2011-12 | Permission to copy, print, or use material is freely granted. Provided that the integrity of the material is not compromised in any manner.

5 thoughts on “Two Common Reasons People Leave a Church

  1. Well said. I think we can add petty offense to your list of common reasons… which is tied in to “going around the mountain” (i.e. a cycle of petty offenses at previous churches.)


  2. Maybe the problem exists in the simple fact that we keep using the word church to express a location or a building instead of what it really is…the people; the ecclesia; the called out ones. Everywhere in this article the connotation of “church” is used to express a certain location or a place not the people. I believe Pastor’s are to blame for some of the reaction of the other believers not commiting to a certain local body of believers because of how they have taught their congregations over time to believe thats what really important isnt your day to day walk, or how you are connected outside the four wall’s with the unbelieving community or a solid group of believers that they can fellowship with asside from the formal programs that organization (Church building / Church Politics) deems fit.
    In the Old Testament God told his people, and any others that chose to believe in the almighty God, they were required to worship at the temple. This means they were to worship at the temple; serve at the temple, and in their community; find forgiveness of sins through sacrfices at the temple; and find the presence of God. Why? Because this is where the Spirit of God decided to dwell for much of the old testament. In the New Testament he leaves this message “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14). This is to say the spirit which came upon them at times in the Old Testament and dwelt fully within the temple would now dwell fully within the believers of Pentecost and on.
    So Are we to bring people to “the church” or are we to teach believers they are to be the church in the world. This does not mean we forsake the assembling of ourselves together but this does mean that we, the called out ones, are the church not the building. It never has been about a building since the day of Pentecost. Teach believers that they are to bring the presence of the living God to the world because the light of the world lives in them and you will do them a greater service then to teach them they have to commit to the programs and man made set up of the local political building you call the church.


    1. Hey good points cousin! However I assure you, when I wrote the article, it was meaning the Church as the people. Unfortunately when writing or speaking reagarding the Church, we can’t always go into a long explanation on what the Church really means every time. I used to, but many times, believe it or not, people already get it. Although a reminder once in a while doesn’t hurt.

      It has much to do with semantics (the use of words, and people’s understanding of those words) If for example I was a City Councilman, and my friend asked my wife, “Hey where’s Jason today?” And she said he’s at Council.” Like most folks, my friend would picture me with a group of people, meeting in a room, in a building. Yet at the same time, people connect the chambers (where the council meets) location as the council too, even though it is people that make up the council, not the room, or building.

      Jesus didn’t didn’t die for a building, he died for people. The “sent out ones”. However there’s nothing inherently wrong with wherever we meet, what matters is as you said, “That we assemble”. And we assemble to get recharged to be “sent out again.” Houses are no more holy to meet in than a warehouse. It is the Church that is holy, wherever we meet we bring light in.

      I really think you’d enjoy my book Craig, it talks about us bringing the Presence of God to the world. Here’s the link to the website:

      Blessings Brother!


      1. LOL i didnt even know it was you I was replying to buddy but i guess you got an idea of what I am thinking through at this point. I will check your book out as well. CHeck out my blog if you want =… Thanks for the reply Jay.


  3. I’m glad you didn’t know it was me, then you might not have been as forthright…LOL

    Tell everyone I said, “Merry Christmas!” I’m hopefully coming to the Maritimes in March break, I’m hoping to meet anyone from the Silver Family that could meet at one place like Tim Hortons or something. Because I won’t have time to see everyone separately. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s