In a recent article at the Malphurs Group website, author Susan Malphurs observes that while “there are those whom (for whatever reason) have walked away from God and have, therefore, left the Church,” it is also true that “many faithful believers are shifting their church attendance patterns, and…do not attend church services as often.”
The article lists 15 reasons. Here are six of them:
They are tired of the routine each Sunday.
While many churches do offer a variety of service times and days, many individuals get stuck in a rut of Sunday = church day. For many, Sunday may be their only day off and there is nothing fresh, new or inviting to get them in the church doors. Keep things fresh and exciting, so individuals who are on the fence about attending on Sunday morning will be motivated to join your church in worship.
They have learned so much about God, and the church isn’t connecting with their lives.
These are people of faith, who are learning and educating themselves. They also have needs that the church leadership is not listening to or paying attention to. The focus of the teaching does not reach the needs of those in the congregation. People want to have real, practical applications to their lives when they go to church, and they want to hear from God. If the content isn’t applicable, they wonder why they should come.
As you prepare your messages and hold different ministry events, look to see that you are targeting multiple needs and multiple generations. Not necessarily at the same time, but that you aren’t excluding one pocket of individuals as you serve another.
The church has changed and does not hold the same initial appeal as it once did.
What originally attracted them to the church either no longer connects with them or has changed with new leadership or a different make-up of the congregation. Evaluate who is sitting in the congregation and make sure leadership reaches out to these individuals. For long-time members and attenders, make sure they don’t get lost in the familiarity of the crowd by neglecting their needs.
They have problems with how churches are run.
Churches, like any other organization or business, have a set of processes and order for how things are run. Individuals from the congregation will inevitably disagree with facets of this system; however, many times the church is at fault for running improperly.
Conflict, poor leadership from the pulpit, and personal agendas trumping the church’s vision/mission are key reasons for faulty administration. If you find yourself stuck in this situation, seek outside evaluation or observation, in order to create healthy interactions with your ministry team, grow your church leadership pipeline, and begin clarifying the unique vision pathway your church strategic plan will follow.
They have problems with how people are handled (or not handled).
If there is no clear process in place to address church discipline and/or conflict resolution, people get frustrated with how situations are resolved. Scripture speaks on these issues, but many times the leadership is not in agreement or unclear as to what should be done regarding church conflict. Make sure you have an understanding of how your church handles church discipline and church conflict resolution, so you are consistent with your interactions and don’t drive people away with inconsistency and poor leadership.
They dislike the conflicts within the church.
Not many people enjoy conflict. But no one likes it when conflict keeps brewing and never comes to a resolution. Many pastors and other church leaders fail at conflict resolution in the church. When your leadership is in conflict, it’s time to pray, seek help from an outside church consulting firm to help navigate direction, clarify issues and pursue godly problem solving. When you do this, individuals will hopefully be encouraged by your humility, forgiveness of others, and resolution rather than detracted by your abundance of church conflict or unwillingness to admit guilt.”
Read the whole list here: 15 Reasons Why Committed Christians Do Not Attend Church