Updated: Apr 1, 2019
Here’s my take on the reason believers don’t attend church regularly.
There are so many people that I know that absolutely love God yet have no consistent church home. I've noticed a trend in the last maybe 15-20 years of my life were lots of folks in my neck of the woods have drastically been declining in faithfully coming to church. This intrigues me so much as I'm one of those who love and adore fellowship with God, but at one point in my life I played lingo with how important church membership really was. I even conducted a survey on it years ago at a huge city-wide event because I really wanted to find out how other Christians felt regarding going to church. I've pinpointed 5 major reasons why people don't go to church, and then added my thoughts concerning those reasons. (I will be posting another entry on this matter soon, so please subscribe so you can see it when I'm done with it.) If you love God but don't go to church, lets see if you can find yourself in any of these, and please leave a comment so we can talk about it!
1) I WORSHIP GOD AT HOME
Most people that I know that love God but don't do the 'church thing' always say. "I can worship God at home all by myself, I don't need to go to church." That was my mantra for a long time. I call this the 'church kid' saying because you have enough teaching to know that when you're born again that you ARE the church. Growing up in the church you learned that Jesus provided way for the Holy Spirit to live in you and if He's with you then every where you go, there He is... so, boom... walking church! Many of which who feel that its absolutely ok to 'worship God at home' every week and never commit to being a part of a local church congregation. You say that you don't need a man to tell you anything about God or how to live, that you can find out about God YOURSELF. You can worship and sing praises to God YOURSELF. You can read your Word and minister truths you find in it to YOURSELF. You can hear God speak to you for YOURSELF.
My Take... YOURSELFish. Oooooohhhhh, yeah, I went there honey.... Hahahaha! Jesus gave up His life for his bride, which is the Church, so He must care a great deal about that institution. Every person who accepts Him becomes a part of that system, which He refers to throughout scriptures when He talks, as the Kingdom of God. As a Kingdom Citizen, you are such an important part to seeing that the system operates as it was designed. You are such an important part of your community that God saved you to impact it, and He chooses His church to be the tool to get it through to rest of the entire world. Your life is no longer your own! You've been bought by a price. Jesus' life was traded for yours. YOU ARE ROYALTY AND YOU ARE NEEDED! Please find out who you are in Him and start giving your life by serving others. I encourage you, not to just start going to church, but after a while of hearing the uncompromised Word of God, start serving in one with the servants heart that Jesus has. It's much better to give than to receive. You may think that if you listen to the gospel station on the radio every now and then, or watch a TV pastor at home whenever you get a chance that that's enough of the interaction that you need with God, you got your 'fix' of God knowledge and then your done. Been there, done that. God sent His precious Son to die a brutal death to offer his body for his beautiful bride, the church! You are the church, and so are your other brothers and sisters in Christ, and we need each other!
A second thought about this is the idea about being alone. He says in His Word that he takes the isolated and places them in families. We call those extended families churches! When I'm going through things that seem like they're unbearable my church family is right there and I don't know what I'd do without them sometimes. There are times that you'll find they may seem dysfunctional, as you see in all families real talk, but were all striving for that perfection. We have each others back at the church I go to, we do life together! If you don't have that at the churches you've been to you can do a few things. 1. Be like that for others! Be loving, be like family! Maybe your the missing piece. 2. Go church shopping. Find a church body that won't let you stay in your stinking thinking, but that will get you out of sin and bondage and love you to greatness. (They're still some good ones left y'all.) 3. After you've found your church, settle down. Don't do the church hop dance from church to church, but commit yourself. Get your roots dug in and bloom where you are planted. Others need to eat from the fruit from your tree.
2) I'M TOO BUSY ALL WEEK, I’M RESTING
People's schedules are jammed packed with super busy lives, trust me, I'm one of them, so I know. You probably work all week long, run the kids back and forth from school and practices, appointments you have to keep. Then let's not forget, there’s more work you have to do at home! You got cleaning, cooking to do and the never ending battle with laundry (I got a family of 6-7 and it never... ever stops, ugh). Truth is adulting is hard, and has so many responsibilities and duties to uphold, especially with having a family that your accountable for. Plus, you gotta put that food on the table to provide for your family and do what you have to do because cash is king, right? Don't work, don't eat... that's in the bible! So if I don't make it to church, God understands how tired I am and He knows I love Him, but He even said that I need my rest. I'm exhausted, I'm not going to church, it's too much going on in my life right now, God knows my heart!
My Take... God knows your heart, but do you know His? The rest that you are looking for will be found in the presence of God! He said, come to Me and I will give you rest. True story, every single time I struggle with getting to church, or just flat out, don't want to get my butt out the bed to get ready and convince myself to stay home, or fall out with my husband, or gotta wrestle with the kids and not feel like doing nothing but staying at home..... when I push through and go anyway I get a personal breakthrough, everytime. (See My Video where this exact thing happened to me!) I've realized me being comfortable at home is comfortable to my adversary the devil, so I've learned that when everything is trying to keep me from the Word at church, that's when I need to push to get there even harder. I've been a minister for over 8 years and I serve as one of the core leaders at my church. Even with all of the applied knowledge I have in the Word of God, and even though I'm used all the time to give answers to people that are searching for God; I myself still get tempted and have to fight the sway of the enemies thoughts in my mind. I think in living everyday life we forget that there is a battle that's going on within us and around us for our lives; called spiritual warfare. We cannot fight spiritual battles with natural resources, like sleep and a hot bubble bath at 11 o clock in the morning during church service. You fight spiritual battles with faith, and faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, and that begins (not ends) in church. Those were thoughts from the enemy to keep you out of the power of the Holy Ghost that you get in fellowshipping with others living the same type of life that you are, and most importantly, fellowshipping with God.
3) CHURCH HURT
This one right here breaks my heart. If you don't understand this concept, church hurt is when you've been deeply hurt, misused, or offended by someone from the church, and usually by someone who is in a leadership position. Sometimes it even goes deeper when there is sin or severe character flaws in the lives of those in leadership that lead to the abuse of those who were supposed to be being served. Experiencing disappointment from leaders in the church who are supposed to know better can be devastating! To look up to someone and admire them from the knowledge that they have in the Word of God, the achievements that they have in life, how well they conduct themselves as a man/ or woman of God, and then to see them in a whole different light will be enough to shake and shatter someones heart. There was recently a thing going viral on social media about #churchhurt where people shared the pain they experienced from going to church. I saw that pain, I felt that pain, I had that pain... It's not right that bad things like that have happened to people in church, it's not the place for it, church is a Holy Place!
My Take... I humbly ask, for the sake of your peace, please forgive them! I myself have experienced a great deal of church hurt and it took me a very, very long time for me to let go of it. What I hadn't realized is that I placed those who were in leadership over me on a pedestal of perfection that they couldn't even climb on. What I also learned, was to pray for those who hurt me because there is a saying that, "hurt people hurt people", which is so true! You never know the details of someones life, the battles that they face, where they've come from, and what triggers them, even your leaders. You step up in ministry where you're at and watch the demonic attacks come at you that never have before entered in your life. Amongst leaders, especially the ones with great influence, come great attacks from the enemy on many different angels, to get them to stop spreading the Gospel. What changed my thinking on letting it go, is one day i was getting all mad again, reliving how badly I was wronged by someone and God brought up to me the face of someone that I had done something to that was difficult for them to forgive me about. He told me the same measure you judge others, that's how the world will judge you! Oooouch! That was a very humbling moment for me, and I forgave them like I would want someone to forgive me. You may not be a leader, but you've accepted Christ and have become either an example or a hindrance to someones Christ walk by your words or actions too. Remember YOU are the walking church! We're all at church to be closer to God and change to be more like Him because we realized that without Him, we're all a hot mess, right? So on people's journeys on being perfected is people coming to God as they are! Flaws, sidity ways, lying cheating, gang banging, stripping, all of that; we have to be able to look past, love, and forgive. We have to walk in grace with one another because church isn't FOR perfect people, it's where we GET perfected, and many of us just aren't there yet. So if you come to church feeling like the people there should know better and should treat people more loving, maybe consider that they've been there because they have personality flaws that always push people away and THEIR at church because they want love, even if it's a leader! Let's pray for those who hurt you, despitefully use you, and speak all manner of evil against you.... because that's what Jesus said to do. And guess who rightfully should be on the pedestal anyway, that's right, it's Jesus!
A big kicker of the brethren is OFFENSE! The apostles warned us to not be ignorant of the devils devices, but to beware that petty things will keep us from fellowshipping with each other. In churches, offense is deadly! Paul laid out several practical things that church folks get caught up in that keeps the focus off of creating disciples and having people wanting to leave the church altogether. He talked about how brothers and sisters in Christ get caught up in all the wrong things. What he said if you translated how church people talk in today's time would be stuff like, 'what on earth is Keke wearing, girl did you hear about Tay and Felicia last night, that Sis Sheila never returned my favorite pan, Bro John is sitting in my seat again, Bro David is singing that same ole tired song and his nasty butt keep trying to holla at everything walking by'.... see, nothing has changed, read your bible, hahaha! Let's not allow small, insignificant things blindsight us on what our calling is toward each other, to be a loving, powerful, chain breaking body of Christ to supply each others needs. If the church looked like what God wanted it to look like, every triphlyn person in the neighborhood would be there trying to get it right and the church would lovingly correct them and bring them to the truths of God without banging them over their head, but not letting them stay in sin.
Now there's a whole other side to the petty little, "she didn't speak to me today" issues that I think every church faces, it's serious issues of those in leadership who don't represent Christ in any other times outside of church. Corrupt church leaders cause so much injury to the Body of Christ, and will face harsh treatment directly from God for every soul that they turned away from the faith. You'll find leaders that commit adultery, misuse church funds, lie, steal, abuse and manipulate others to get what they can get out of them. Then you have some horrible leaders who have sexually abused people, even children! People like that make the world shun church and not take church, or God seriously. They sadly mistake what the evil leaders did to them as something that God did to them. I pray that if that was you, a victim of a leader's misuse of authority, that you can come to forgive them, not for there sakes, but for yours. God will get them, because He said "vengeance is Mine." He also said if someone hurt one of my children that it's better for them to take brick, tie it around there necks and jump in the ocean, because when He gets to them it's going to be a lot worse. I hope though, that if you were on the more serious side that you not attribute man's actions as God's actions. They chose to disobey God and do things there way, and they will pay for it! But please believe me when I say, that those horrible leaders DO NOT reflect all leaders or all churches! I feel like when people do that, it's just like a white woman saying; "a black man robbed me so I don't trust any black men and all of them are criminals". Nah, we not having that sis! And it's not the same for every church either. Go and look for a church home that will grow you up in the Faith. And when you go looking, don't go looking for faults. Forgive and be free from every entanglement of the enemy. Because remember; hurt people hurt people and if you bring that hurt to another ministry before long you'll be the one inflicting it on others. It's the church trap. Don't be that ole bitter sister Betty that hurt you, get free!
4) THEY ALWAYS ASKING FOR MONEY
I've noticed that mainly in black communities, people are raving more and more about how wrong they feel it is for churches to ask for money during service, or to take an offering. Many people who feel that this is wrong believe that the pastor or leaders are coercing the congregation to give financially so that they can live a lavish lifestyle on the "gullible" member's accounts of giving. On the extreme side of things some pastors have even been thrown in jail and found guilty of fraud. I've been at churches where they did the big dollar amount line. You know, when they call all those who are giving $200 or more to come down the aisle and give their $200, then call for those giving $100 or more, then $50, then $20, then all the way down to whatever they can get. Yeah, I never understood that type of offering collection either. A lot of people feel that its a showoff way, to get people to compete on how much they're giving. Maybe they're right.
My Take... God says to give, so just give the way He says to give, with gratitude. Even to this day, I get a little uncomfortable around offering time, and sometimes I officiate the offering at my church. There is a fear that the enemy inflicts on believers to not believe God concerning tithes and offerings, and he tempts me to pocket my envelope each time, why? Because I like money, a lot! But if God commands me to give 10% of my earnings of all that I receive, and asks for me to give an offering to show my gratitude for Him, then I'm gonna put my money where my heart is, and that is with God. I have crucified my flesh concerning giving and I'm experiencing the blessing in my life!
I've paid close attention to my finances and my life concerning giving, especially since I had some hesitancies about it. I noticed that when I felt that I didn't have enough to pay my tithes and I didn't pay them to pay a bill instead, that all hell broke loose and it seemed that all bills were due at the same time, crazy off the cuff financial issues would arise, and old creditors came to hunt me down. And there were times that I didn't have enough and tithed anyway it seemed like my dollar supernaturally stretched. To be honest, there were also times where I'd tithe and still been in a financial crises. But during that crises I experienced a supernatural peace that I didn't understand, cuz normally I would have lost sleep, been irritable, crying and depressed somewhere worrying about the lack I was experiencing. But even though I didn't see it then, God was setting me up for the win in my situation. I could feel the anointing all over me and the confidence in His Word that 'He would rebuke the devourer for my sake', and every other Word I could find on giving. I learned to not give out of necessity, saying that God commands it and I need to do it, to giving out of gratitude, because God has been so good to me, that I'm going to give back.
Also, the tithe is actually meant to be given to the priest to sustain the house of God and his household, and the church should be glad to offer it to God to do just that. Pastors sacrifice so much of their life studying the Word of God to pour into the lives of it's members, and counseling, and giving there lives to the ministry, that the ones they serve are the ones that God commands to sustain them. Things have changed so much in how people view giving. You have lots of pastors now that feel forced to work another job because people don't obey God concerning giving and they have to put food on the table and pay their bills somehow. But running a church is a full time job and we ought to bless those who are blessing us and seeing fit that we get the Word of God delivered to live victorious lives. My Pastor and his wife have a very successful business that they run that actually has had to save the church from financial hardships several times. He doesn't even take a salary from the church. Our church has enough members that there should never be any financial deficit, but only less than half of the families give, so they cover what's not there from what there business makes. I get so tired of people judging them about the nice cars that they have and the beautiful home that they have thinking that it's from the church. It's from the business, but one day, I pray that our church gets in position to properly bless them with a brand new vehicle. They are the biggest givers I have ever met! They've bought and given away 5 nice vehicles to families of our congregation who needed them, some from the church account, and some from their business account. Pastors do so much unseen good, and there congregations should have it in there heart to not only bless them financially, but to see that the vision of the church is funded... by the whole church.
5) I’M NOT GOING THROUGH ANYTHING BAD RIGHT NOW
People who love God can love on Him from anywhere, at home, at work, out and about. Feeling God's love is a beautiful thing, that if you desire and seek after it enough will come chasing you down. Some people know this and know how to access God. Some people fellowship with Him alone on a regular basis, while others every blue moon. To some that love God, they only walk through them church doors if all hell is breaking loose and they need the strength of other believers. I had a coworker friend that was so extremely upset that her church had closed on a Sunday due to a snow storm, but she really needed strength from her church family because of a serious trail she was going through. I prayed with her and gave her some scriptures, but she really needed her brothers and sisters in Christ that day. That's when the church should be there, when you're going through. Church is often times referred to as a hospital for those who are sick to be made whole.
My Take... The church is not a hospital for sick patients, but more of a charging station for the strength of believers. The person that always melts my heart and gets me in my prayer closet to intercede is the one's that come when the crap done hit the fan and there lives are in shambles. I cry when people go through pain, and I rejoice when they win in life. So when someone is broken, and they come in to the church, that's exactly where they need to be... no shade, no shame, ever! I'll always be a listening ear, and consoling heart to those who are hurting and going trough. Thats Christianity 101, right? But we want to grow in our lives right? Let's take the time out to learn more about who God is, because then He'll show us who we are, and then we can find out what were supposed to be doing in life. Church is conducive for finding purpose and direction in life. If you're in the right church consistently, your Pastor would be hearing from God for you on a regular basis to speak on what you need to live a victorious life. If you follow that direction of the Holy Spirit's leading and open up your Word at home from there, then to where the Spirit of God opens it up to you, you won't be in constant dire need. The Word has enough power within itself to bring itself to pass once you confess it and believe it in your heart!
Don't wait till you're in a crisis to fellowship with God. What if you had a friend or family member that only came around when they needed something from you. That would abusing your love because all they want is what you could give them, not who you are, but since you love them you help. That's how God is! Some of us only come to Him at times we are at our lowest in life and He's always there to lift us up! Then we thank Him and were on our way, back out of His life and love until the next tragedy. But He wants to do everyday with us, He wants to keep us in His protection and love daily! But it's a choice that we have to make to stay in communion with God. Attending church every Sunday is a huge step towards doing just that, actually it's the foundation of it. The real relationship with God is what happens after church has sparked your heart, it happens at home when no-one else is looking. Thats when the love for God increases and flows in every other area in you life. What if someone came to your church on there last dime because they thought you were going to be there to give them a hug or a quick word bringing hope after service, but you were at home. You never know how God can use you. God wants all of you, and He's given a fair price to have you, which is all of His son Jesus. Let's come to church but let's not stop there. Let's BE the church!