Six reasons people stop coming to church and what Jesus would say back

Ali Stigall

For a time, I was not interested in coming to church. The Sunday tradition had grown monotonous, and I wasn’t getting anything out of it anymore — despite the fact that I came every week and even served.

The excuse “I’ll watch online” or “I’ll do my own church by reading the Bible at my kitchen table” became acceptable. But I never did either of those things.

This is not what church was intended to be. 

Those months when I stopped attending, I became aware of a couple things. One, without my church community I had no accountability for serving or being involved. And two, I felt distant from God. This was evident by how my personality changed. I was quick to anger, less patient, and unkind. Something needed to change.

I studied my heart for the real reason I’d stopped coming and came up with a few reasons why people stop attending church along with what Scripture has to say about each of them. 

6 Reasons People Stop Coming to Church

1. Shame

Maybe you have messed up or are currently caught in some kind of habitual sin. James 5:13-16 says, “…prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” 

The best place to overcome sin is inside the church, not outside of it. In the church, you’ll find people who have been freed from the same struggle you’re facing and can support you as you let Jesus change you from the inside out. 

2. Leadership disagreements 

There is no such thing as a perfect church. At some point, every one of us will disagree with someone or something the church is doing. While we should not follow blindly to man instead of God, we can respectfully come to an understanding based on God’s truth.  

1 Thessalonians 5:12 says, “Honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance.” 

3. Frustration 

Big or small church, when it feels like no one is reaching out or no one cares, you’re left feeling like, “What’s the point?”

Maybe you feel like another lost face in the crowd, or maybe you have not found the right place to get involved. Don’t give up. Because when we find our place in church, we discover what God has called us to do.

Romans 15:1-7 says, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

4. Life changes

A new job or even becoming a new parent can get you out of the habit of attending. Pretty soon, you stop coming altogether.

Hebrews 10:24 cautions against this, saying, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” 

5. A wrong view of what church is supposed to be 

When your mindset becomes “What can the church do for me?” instead of “What can I bring to the church?”, your motive becomes one of selfishness rather than selflessness. We each have unique gifts the Lord intended for us to use for His glory.

1 Corinthians 12:4-12 says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work…Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” 

There will never be a time God calls you away from church or a time you will not need church.

6. Spouses with different denominational backgrounds or spouses who do not want to come 

Our spouses are our helpers and encouragers. When one’s faith is wavering, the other can lead by example.

1 Peter 3:1-7 says, “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives…Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 

Church, as well as church community, is an important part of our spiritual growth during every season of life. There will never be a time when God calls you away from church or a time you will not need the church. 

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