6.16.15 Have you ever wondered why people leave the Church? I found a study awhile back and I'd like to share some of it with you tonight.
.People leave church when they can’t find community-When people can’t find community, can’t plug-in or access meaningful relationships, they split in hopes they’ll find it somewhere else. When a church learns to do community well, it is a life-giving experience. When churches fail to build community, church just becomes another item on your list that sucks the life out of you.
. People leave church because they need less drama in their lives-Church needs to be a safe place where one can escape the typical relational drama we all face and instead experience loving support and acceptance. When church just becomes another area that is going to add drama to my life, I need to cut the cord and move on for my own sanity. 2 Timothy 2:22-26 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
.People leave church because of unresolved conflict-If we want people to stop leaving church, we need to develop radical humility and become the peacemakers that Jesus claimed would be blessed. Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
.People leave church because of controlling leaders and unskilled teachers-Leaders make or break an organization, and church is no different. When the pastor or church leader(s) come across as controlling (whether it is real or perceived) it creates an environment that doesn’t feel safe to people. No one wants to be controlled or dominated in church– not even the people who assimilate and eventually tolerate such environments. Instead, people want to feel heard and included in issues of decision making and long-term vision.
. People leave church because they get turned off by social climbing, cliques, and nepotism-the popular folks at church amass followers, and power. Such a system requires you to play the “game” with people of influence if you want to be a fully included member of the group (leading to the formation of cliques). Paul exhorts us to, “Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion” (Rom. 12:16). Paul urged the Corinthian church to “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). James tells us not to show partiality (James 2:1).
. People leave church when they feel like they need to become a carbon copy of an individual or ideal in order to be fully included and appreciated-Most people don’t want to be like everyone else, and when a certain culture tells them they must become a clone as a condition of acceptance, many will leave instead of submitting to such a dehumanizing experience.
. People leave church because they’re looking for something authentic-People want to do church with people who are real, people who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable in relationship, and who are willing to sit beside you in the messiness of life. When church feels fake and like it’s not a safe place to be vulnerable, people leave in hopes they’ll find someplace that is. Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.
. People leave church because they feel lonely-People leave church because they start to feel like an outsider, and that makes them lonely. It is an emotion that is painful, powerful, and given enough time, unbearable. If leaving church is what’s needed to stop feeling so lonely and to stop feeling like an outsider– they’ll do it.
.People leave church when they don’t find Jesus-Church of all places should look like Jesus! Church should be a place where people are busy loving the unlovable, embracing the outcast, serving the widow, immigrant and fatherless. It should be a place where power is rejected, gender and race is irrelevant, and where the most coveted position is the position of servant. if we built loving communities of faith that were raw and authentic, that embraced the excluded, and were known by how well they loved others, there wouldn’t be an empty chair in the sanctuary. If a church were really to look like Jesus, people wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Wow I hope you enjoy this as much as I have, It opens up your eyes to see if any of these are going on in your Church. I do have to say if you come to Bethlehem and don't find Jesus there then your not looking for Him. Mike our Pastor makes sure Jesus in welcome in our worship. Take a look @ the above list and if you are having some of these issues in your Church then you need to pray and let God change what needs to be changed.
God I come to you asking if there's anything like these going on in our Church that you take them away and point us in the direction you would have us go. I want to thank you for you sending us Mike and his family as they are a great fit for our Church. God I ask that if there are any Churches out there that is having some of these issues then they will open their eyes and turn their eyes to you. Now please be with my facebook family and friends and know that I love you. I ask these things in Jesus Name Amen.