Why are people leaving church?                                                              Why are churches not attracting people?

Surely there are many valid resons why people leave churches. And, almost always, it’s a very tough decision for both the church and the ones departing. It’s situations like this when the true Christ-like narture of a church is revealed.

There are also many reasons given for why people leave chuches, but they aren’t so valid. They’re not the real reasons. You see, people also leave churches for personal resons – ranging from dislike for the pastor, to dislike of some members of the church, to feeling overchurched to not feeling anything when it comes to church. And many other personal reasons that they would rather not tallk about. Thus the need for “other” reasons.   

One things for sure; It’s no secret that many people are leaving churches in this COVID- era. I’ve seen estimates of an average of 60% of church members of small and medium sized churches have left.

It’s a mystery as to how long they’ll be gone or if they’re ever coming back. And almost every church like ours is asking the same question: What does this mean for the future of (fill in church’s name)?

 Jon Benzinger is a guy I came across on Twitter. That’s it! He’s like one of us, it seems. He’s not on the New York Times Best Seller List and he doesn’t have a series of educational videos to buy. At least not yet. At least as far as I know.

On Twitter, this is how Jon describes himself: “Husband. Father. Helping people know, love & serve Jesus as one of the pastors of @rbcgilbert & contributors to @redeeming_truth. Having caught my curiousity, I checked out the tweets he sent out about “When it’s time to leave a church.”

Now, I don’t know what the future holds for us at VSCC, but I know God does, and because of that I know we are being called to follow God’s will for us in these challenging years ahead. And to do that, we must stay close to the heart of Christ, to the truth of His message, and the Spirit of His love.

That’s the context for which I present Jon’s thoughts. Take a look and see what you think. I admit, there are some that I relate to immediately, but there ar also some that I’m still working though. And there aer some I disagree with. Regardless, they are all credible and important for us to explore. As we move forward together, listenng to the voice of our Shepherd must be our guide.

Here are Jon’s 11 reasons why you should consider leaving a church.

  1. If the point of the sermon is rarely ever the point of a biblical passage or group of passages
  2. If you realize you haven’t heard about the Cross recently
  • If anti-Gospel movements, figures and/or ideologies set the direction for your leaders
  1. If people exist for the benefit of the leaders (rather than the other way around)
  2. If people are not being fed the Word, led biblically, protected from wolves & cared for spiritually
  3. If love is always pitted against sound doctrine (when it’s not either-or, but both-and)
  • If the divisive ones are the leaders who point out false doctrine, not the ones who inject it into the church
  • If Pastor Mark is replaced by Pastor Mary or Adam can marry Steve
  1. If the ministry philosophy is “To win the world we must become like & be liked by the world”
  2. If your leaders have ideas or an agenda they refuse to be public about & only “insiders” know of
  3. If loyalty to leadership is more important than loyalty to Scripture
  • If the content is increasingly more political than biblical
  • If “The world is watching” is more influential than “God is watching” or “The Bible says”
  • If being unified with & building bridges to false teachers is more important than being unified with fellow brothers and sisters
  1. If the words sin, hell, wrath, and judgment are only ever said in mocking tones to distance leaders from those who aren’t afraid to say those biblical words
  • If Jesus is a homie, a bro, a life coach, or a therapist, but not Savior, Lord, God, and King

Wow! That’s quite a list. But you should see how many tweets Jon received in response. It seems like a lot of people are thinking about this topic as our churches continue to dwindle. Perhaps a reset is needed fo everyone, including churches and pastors.

If you’re willing, let me know the kinds of things you would put on your list, and/or let me know what you think might needs to be reset at Vine Street.

Blessings on the path to eternity!

Pastor Bob <><