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Reasons Why People Quit Church

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Church isn't for everyone, even those with a pure heart, decent morale, and good intentions. There is another place where some belong, under the title 'Spiritual, but not religious' or 'Religious, but not Churchgoer'. People who feel connected to something greater, in a spiritual sense that transcends all areas of life, but choose not to be affiliated with any particular brand of denominations of church on the market. I find myself residing here with significant numbers joining me.

We've tried our best, frequenting several churches to find a "right fit", only to become increasingly apprehensive of the church going experience. Some say we're too picky or perhaps we just want to feel something. In fact, the churchgoing experience seems to get worse the more we try to fit in. We even lose a little faith every time we see what it means to be Christian. It also makes me wonder how following God begins with and depends on a church. Some would say if you don't go to church, you must not believe in anything of the spiritual or religious nature. I say, 'that's too bad' and I'm here to expose the truth of why people have lost church, but hopefully not God.

My message is intended to inspire those who can't find the right church for them or can't go or don't want to go, yet can still find a way to believe and communicate with God. It took me years of giving up on church and God before I realized I don't have to go to church to have God in my life. Nobody is less of a person for not going to church.

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1. Missed out on Church 101

Nervously thumbing through the bible, pretending to know where anything is as my pew neighbor practically turns right to the exact page blindfolded with a smug grin, began my initial distaste for church. Was there a test I didn't study for- how come I feel so ill-prepared? Why do I always feel like an idiot going to church, worried about impressing the devouted followers and the pastor or preacher, but where is God in all this? Then someone makes a reference to a bible story and I'm lost all over again. Everyone around me begins talking of terms I've never heard, as if trying to outdo each other with saintly knowledge of the bible. If only they knew they lost me at the first thou shalt....

Many of us are feeling left in the dust when we go to church. Guess I forgot to study before I went, maybe I was too busy those years studying to get my college degree. "The dog ate my bible pastor/preacher." "A whale, a burning bush?" Are you talking about a Sex In The City episode?

When it comes to basic bible knowledge, those initially trying out church for the first time without prior knowledge are in over their heads. For them, it becomes too overwhelming and discouraging when other church members seem to look down upon people who are not well versed. When I've gone to church it seems everybody is quoting a verse from the bible. For some reason I can't remember a bible verse any better than I can remember a funny joke I was told just a minute ago.

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2. Spiritual Versus Religious

As I mentioned in the intro, an increasing amount of people are labeling themselves as "spiritual". I should probably not differentiate between the two because there is only a fine line. However, in some formats people have attributed certain differences between the two such as "Spirituality tends to be more personal and private while religion tends to incorporate public rituals and organized doctrines."

As I have found personally, there are numerous distractions in the church going experience that lead me away from God. "Go to elaborate churches to worship, told what to pray and when to pray it. All those factors remove you from god."...as one source has put it. I compare it to writing a paper. I've always considered myself a writer and do it for a living now, but my writing pieces, even as a child, are remarkably different/disengaged when I have set guidelines and told what to write. When I am free to write on the topic of my choice, the outcome is better.

I always come home to the Bible, but just not how I am supposed to interpret it or when to study what. Those that consider themselves spiritual are part of a larger group- it encompasses and transcends all religions. It is bigger.

Just recently I attended church and there was a guest speaker who was wonderful, but to my dismay he was not a pastor or preacher, just a man with spiritual experience. He spoke of truth- our truth, the people's truth. There were gasps in the church at some of his points which made me realize some regular church goers are accustomed to, and expect, a certain message. One that stunts their growth. Growing is something we can do inside ourselves with God residing there, whereas people can get emotionally and psychologically stuck in a rut at church hearing a message that seems to be a one-size fits all.



3. Day of Rest

Didn't someone say Sunday is a day of rest, but you want me to get up early and dress up? I want quality time with my pillow and not think twice about my bed head. The thought of getting the kids ready and cheerleading everyone to church is exhausting. We want our day of rest. I don't want to get out of bed extra early to look extra churchly and put on my saint act and wear my best smile when 10 minutes ago I was yelling at my kids to put their socks on. I put on "fake" dress-up clothes that fashionably go with the "fake" attitude I feel like I have to put on too.

Really, the physical exhaustion is nothing compared to the brutal mental preparedness that goes on to create and maintain the proper definition of a churchgoer.Which brings to mind, does God think me less honorable for not dressing up for church? Maybe if we came as we are, then we would act like who we really are instead of putting up a fake appearance and attitude. Would it mean I'm less devoted if I wore jeans and a ponytail, wouldn't God want me to come as I really am? If God is inside us, why would he be concerned about what is on our outside?

4. Conflicting Evidence

There are a lot of good people who don't go to church. We put in a helping hand when needed, we participate in random acts of kindness, and we don't pretend to practice what we preach. Have you ever seen the devout in public at any given time, especially on a day other than Sunday- or even Sunday afternoon after church? They have two lives, one in church and one definitely outside of church.

Church has left a bad taste in some of our mouths from people who have purposely hurt us or wronged us and claim to be godly to the fact that there is conflicting stories and interpretations among religions and even within a single church. If a Monk can uphold almost impossible religious rituals without question to his faith or to make others feel less worthy, then a Christian can uphold general principles of Christianity without arguing the Book among each other and other religions. They can also be a good example within their community, instead of turning people off to their church by the way they act.  

I'm simply saying that people should not seek church to feel as though they have done their good deed for the week, and they can act inconsiderately the rest of the week. Church should not be a sanction for them to feel better about themselves for having done numerous wrongs Monday through Saturday.

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5. Thou Shall Not Judge

The feeling of scrutiny and judgment lie heavy upon many church goers- why must we have an extra burden dumped upon us? Everybody judges, but it spreads through a church congregation like wild fire. Do you get the feeling not all of your sins have been forgiven when you walk through those saintly doors? If God ever needs help on judgement day, he need not go further than the nearest church. It wouldn't be a tough recruiting assignment with all those eagerly judging folk. They try to enforce their views, politics, and parenting advice, among other let's-not-go-there topics.

In the well-known book, 'The Shack', a shocking statement suggested we should not even judge a serial killer. Now think about that a minute, but it's true. We have no right to judge that person because God may forgive him and we probably wouldn't. God knows our hearts and perhaps the serial killer was acting out of what he learned as a child from previous abuse. God forgives more than he judges harshly so why aren't any church goers following his example?

A personal experience for me was a time when I was trying out a new church by going to a women's bible study group. I had never been to the church, but it was where my daughter went to daycare before I was laid off. I told the ladies I was staying home with my daughter and all of them chimed in with 'good for you, doing the right thing by staying home with your child, good values, that's the right thing to do.. blah blah blah' and all I was thinking was I'd still be working if my boss hadn't cut me loose. But I am a woman of good values, I wanted to work and make a living for my daughter, isn't that also the right thing to do? They judged before I told them my whole story.

I also remember church when it was taboo to get a divorce. I remember because my mom had a hard time finding a suitable church for us to attend when I was a child and my parents got divorced. Sad, but true.

6. Work

There are many industries that don't close on Sundays or even weekends. For example, I was a waitress many years and worked on the weekends, especially Sundays because that was when I made the most money- money I needed to pay the bills. Sure, I could have prayed for an extra $100 from God and stayed home from work, but not to sound obvious and repetitive, I needed to pay my bills. I especially enjoyed the bad Sunday church tippers who turned their nose up to me because I didn't go to church.

Some people don't have a choice whether to work on that day or not. One job I had in the mental health industry, I was on-call, especially Sundays. Unfortunately that's life and even when it's not our choice, as in work situations, we are still made to feel guilty by the righteous mass who faithfully go to church.

7. Church isn't the Only Place to Worship

Nowhere in the Bible does it specifically state that a believer must go to church. There are places besides church where someone can worship and feel God's presence within them. I'm sure there is a verse in the scripture stating something similar about God residing within us no matter where we are. The church doesn't necessarily represent God, the people do, and wherever the people/believers are, he will be too.

Over time, church can dull the individual excitement and spirit of worship. Church is structured with a specific layout. No matter what church you go to, there is a general format that is followed precisely almost every week, following someone else's ideas of worship and catering little to individuals or breaking away from routine. If church doesn't get you excited, you shouldn't go.

8. Creepiness Factor

Why is it the more mentally ill a person is, the more religious they seem to be? I've worked with and been around my fair share of the mentally ill and religion can get pretty weird if you listen to their 'testimonies' and the way they "talk to Jesus". The extremely mentally ill, such as schizophrenia and bipolar, are irrationally fearful people and religion claims to 'save' people so I believe it is why they are attracted to religion and it's promises.

What about the catholic priests and the molested boys- some rumor, some not and that is definitely creepy. I think this is a prime example of religions' restrictions. People feel they have to hide their true selves in order to be accepted by the church, and sadly the restrictions can cause more corruption and lure of the forbidden (sin) behind closed doors.

Religious cults; preying on the vulnerable who may wind up joining a cult. Others are power hungry and opportunistic, and they are the ones that form and/or lead a cult. The two feed off each other and create cultural and moralistic havoc. Any church that offers an escape from reality is not going to benefit anyone no matter how dire their current circumstances may seem.

9. Repetitive or dull songs

While many, possibly majority, of church frequenters enjoy singing, and are uplifted by the experience, there is an equally impressive number of us who don't enjoy it, or at least the songs. I don't want to hear myself singing, let alone granny next to me who is tone deaf- really no offense, but she is usually the one singing the loudest.

The hymns in most churches haven't been updated in God knows how long. If church music was meant to excite everyone enough to participate, then let's not leave out the rockers and rappers of most recent generations- we just don't feel included. This doesn't mean we don't want to hear others, more qualified, sing- that is very enjoyable. Maybe some of us would just like to sit it out and enjoy the music rather than participate, but it's taboo to sit out songs.

There are people who go for the sole purpose to hear a sermon and thoughtfully apply it to their lives. If singing were cut to a minimum, then we could sleep in a little later and go for a half hour church session instead. Actually I know people who arrive at church late to skip the singing part- ingenious!

10. Unanswered Prayers

"Every act you have performed since the day you were born was performed because you wanted something," Dale Carnegie. This is human nature and a mother knows this best when she has a baby- babies are pure wants and needs. Even making a donation and being charitable has a pay off for you- you feel better after you give and you like that feeling so you may do it from time to time depending on how often you want that feeling.

Church gives some people what they want- some go to learn, to socialize, and to get prayers answered. We expect and believe one time or another our prayers should be answered. When they aren't, some people will justify the reason for an unanswered prayer and others will lose faith. Faith may be intangible (that's the point) but we all need something to grasp to keep that faith. Enough unanswered prayers or sometimes just one prayer (or bargain) with God if he does just this one thing for you, then you will never doubt him and become devoted to him everlasting. If prayers go unanswered, then there is no motivation to believe if we don't get what we want.

God isn't a magic genie. If we believe more in ourselves, that God can work through us then we can help ourselves. Like the saying goes, "Pray to God, but row for the shore" or "God helps those who help themselves" or "With God, all things are possible". These statements give us personal power through God. It can serve some people well to separate themselves from the church to grow beyond expectations and what God owes us or a feeling God is punishing us by not answering prayers. These are all injected into us from churches.


There are several benefits for believing in a religion and/or spirituality itself. These benefits are reflected in our physical and mental health and have even been tested and recorded in psychological studies. The unanimous verdict is that someone who believes in something, of religious or spiritual nature, show more positive and healthy activity in their brain, which may also help you live longer and happier as well. However, this does not pertain to going to church, so believers can reap these benefits without the hassles of going to church. Often times people give up on religion and a spiritual life altogether just because they don't want to go to church, but church is not indicative of believing. Church isn't what makes someone happy, it is the power of believing.

Comments

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on May 31, 2019:

Laura, I often say "my mother must have conceived me in the church" because that is the first none home things I remember doing continually. Being caught in it at such a young age I am told I was 4 when I asked to be baptized and was. By the time I was 12 I was able to teach children 6 to 9 - there were too few adults attending Sunday School - and in the 1950s we went to Sunday School, morning worship, often times 3pm worship, BTU (Baptist Training Union) and evening worship. I believe I had read the Bible through by the 6th grade in '55. I didn't miss out on "church 101." (my story http://prop1.org/protest/elijah/author.htm#book)

During that I questioned why the church wasn't following the teachings of Christ, why did people say they were "born again" and the only change was going to church more often and nothing more. At 17 I practically stopped going to church at 19 left home but before 29 I had an experience I call my "new conception" that my mother didn't see any change in me until I invited her to my first sermon in May of 73. I began intense Bible study and made note of the contradictions and finally in August '76 I left my job and wife to become the nomad Jesus taught is the way of the "new born."

At first I attended church but soon realized most of your reasons for leaving which I couldn't hav e seen had I not gone through the almost 3 years of objectively reading the Bible, therefore, I concur with analysis as to why people do but I want to add just a bit more.

1) My study taught me church means "the called out from" the world and if students of the Bible were not blinded by organized church's teachings they'd see the title Christian derived from the early church's following Jesus' example but church don't teach Acts 11.

2) My life tells me "the called out" eventually have every day as rest days except for obtaining body requirements as man lived in and pre-Garden.

and 3) The book tells us we are to do our studying and live it independent of others as the creation story implies we lived until Adam had a man woven from him causing him to rename THEM BOTH woman.

I enjoyed your reading frank truth. Thank you!!!

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on November 27, 2017:

Just ran across this article and found it refreshing. It has been my experience that pastors teach that God is Jealous, Vengeful, Wrathful and a Warrior. This is based on the Bible. I take exception to this depiction because I believe God is Good and always Good. Depicting God with negative emotions is Blasphemy. I cannot seem to find a church which understands God is Good and never Evil. In my view, all negative emotions are a Projection of the person and not of God.

JohnPLyons on April 04, 2017:

A very interesting and well written article. Thanks

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on March 12, 2017:

Hi, Izettl,

This is one amazing and truthful piece of writing so much so that when I began reading it, it spoke to me in a particular way.

Let me unload this on you and get your input.

I attend (now get your program and laser pointer as to not be confused) a non-denominational body of believers (church) but it is being operated underneath the umbrella of the Pentecostal Church and I will not name the city for fear of what might happen later.

These days even believers cannot take that many chances.

My wife and I and our three grandchildren started attending this church five years ago and all seemed fine.

Truthfully and without bias, the body of believers from the pastor on down are some of the friendliest, most caring people we have ever met.

When our daughter passed away last year, the pastor and his wife were the first to arrive at the hospital to offer sympathies.

Now during this time of a year ago, I was the teenagers' Sunday School teacher until our daughter was admitted to a hospital in Birmingham, Alabama and spent most of the summer in the facility before release in August.

I, being the caring dad, stayed home all of the time to field phone calls, write down names of callers, etc., but turned my class over to a man whom I thought was a friend.

Turns out, he covered my class for a brief time then when I did get to come back to church my class had been turned over to the pastor's oldest daughter and her husband.

The pastor's wife called me on the Saturday before the Sunday I returned and just said to "talk to (daughter's name) in the morning."

So I did, well, attempt to talk to the daughter who would only respond with, "we've taken over that class."

I asked her what about me? She responded with the same pointless answer.

Since then I have put my name on all of the volunteer teaching lists even phoned the pastor (who makes the appointments) which I am bothered by for what if some of a body's believers are gifted and never appointed?

This past week the youth director took the youth, my wife and grandkids and the youth to Winterfest in Pigeon Forge.

Naturally the Adult Sunday School class, which she teaches, was vacant so I called the Sunday School manager and almost begged him to let me teach.

No. He was going to handle it.

It is like this everytime I want to teach when an opening comes up. The pastor's friends if his family are not there, always get the call.

So what do I do?

Thanks!

Sanxuary on December 26, 2016:

I must be the last one to make a comment. I find that most people in church practice nothing and are concerned only with Earthly agendas and some club membership. Its a personal relationship and practicing at all times to attain spiritual maturity. Its not what matters on Earth but what you sacrifice now to get to heaven. Most will follow the media when they condemn the believers and accept the mark to keep talking to their God on face book when the time comes. They have no idea that turning down a higher paying job and suffering poverty is more important then promoting a sin upon others. They could careless if they vote for evil and discriminate against others. Its church on Sunday and Earthly agendas the rest of the week. They sell their trust to anyone but God and do not know his glory when you rebel against evil. In fear of what others think and standing only in their shoes to critisize others who know the only path to get their. Have they forgotten their savoir or does it only count in the eyes of the club? You have probably educated more by disagreeing then by blind faith. I find more people believe in God once I tell them no person can tell you about God, Their is no penalty for believing unless you include the people of this World. Stop believing what people tell you and read for yourself. Then believe for yourself and decide your journey. Its good against evil to save your own soul. Good decisions lead to wise results and let no person deter you from your own personal relationship with God. Seek truth always and bring no harm to others and you will find your way and will know if what you hear is good. Not all places are bad but the shoe does not always fit and your journey may not belong in a house of low spiritual maturity. It may be blind to this World and to those who do not understand that we judge ourselves. We are selfish so we can save ourselves first. With so many broken homes its hard to pretend with others that we our perfect enough to sing hymns and hear how we must live to only fail for a lack of practice. The World is so evil that we are blessed more by running away and escaping evil. We are being told to save everything when its better that we lose a few things first and to hope it finds its way back from example. The church may not be broken but the people are. With no people because they leave because of people who claim some strange perfection they must recognize those who need to escape first to find sanctuary.

foodforthought on August 24, 2015:

I am glad to hear that is not your perception but sad to admit that many do have that perception. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. May God bless you.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on August 08, 2015:

@Cop speak,

Thanks and that's a good way to put it!

@Food for thought~

Interesting thoughts. Thanks for the clarification of the bi-polar and schizophrenic. My point was that is what other people think or assume. It's not my perception personally.

food for thought on July 20, 2015:

I forgot to put the beginning of that quote in but when I tried to (having done this on a phone because it's my only internet) it jumped to the top of my post and I could not scroll down. Here it is: But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Right after that is what I quoted in the first post. Then it finishes with: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Basically by putting ourselves in situations that are challenging we are refining ours spirits as well as those we affect who were initially difficult to us (iron sharpens iron). I truly hopes this message reaches you properly, you seem to be a decent individual.

I would like to mention also that I am bipolar. I had almost no interest in religion or God until I had a psychotic break. This break was actually very peaceful and without fear. I am not a fearful person and never have been. I just thought I'd mention a suggestion of not making such a blanket statement such as : schizophrenics and bipolars are fearful etc. There are paranoid schizophrenics but that does not entail the entire population of schizophrenics and clearly not all bipolars seeing as I am not. You did not hurt

food for thought on July 20, 2015:

I just felt the urge to comment about God's love. If we are to delve deeper into understanding God's love than going to church and dealing with frustrating individuals seems like an ideal environment for growth with God.

For one thing, we are involved with others who believe in God enough to show up at a believers meeting place regularly.

We are also given a prime opportunity into understanding a deeper aspect of God's love (He loves all and wants none to perish which is incredibly deep). Our opportunity with these difficult individuals will teach us the most optimum methods to ineract both in ways of support and rebuking. Hence, in time, all within the church can grow and those who don't would leave out of a feeling of discomfort from those growing within the body. It also teaches us humility because we must accept being rebuked ourselves.

It is far more difficult out in the world away from church to come across other believers in this manner. If you follow God at home and share with those of like mind, spirit and morals than your growth can be severely stunted due to a lack of growth in understanding God's deeper love. It is possible to seek out challenging people outside of church but it's far more work. I am not against that I just felt a need to mention it. There is no attack on my end; I am actually fine with what you wrote (after reading all comments as well). I do hope you consider this deeper aspect in some way. Please remember that Jesus said: if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

Smitty from Arizona on July 20, 2015:

I love your Hub. It's too bad that so many churches today are just a country club for Christians, instead of a hospital for those that are hurting.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on May 30, 2015:

Thanks Carlos. I love the saying about pure Christians in church and heaven. that's great! I agree. I must ADD cause I get distracted by the gossip and ironically some of the worst people I've ever me in church.

Carlos on May 14, 2015:

I avoid the "critics" within any church. My salvation is mine and my responsibility. There's a parable on wheat and tares, that Christ taught. It's pretty much with anything in life, the positives are along the negatives. Show me a good loving wholesome church with all pure Christians and I'll show you heaven.

God bless.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on March 07, 2015:

Elder Redwood

I understand but I feel closer to God and more self disciplined when worshipping within my own family. When I went every Sunday- it was duty and I felt "done" for the week. When I do it at home, it's part of my everyday life.

I think you're mistaken that all these points in the article are me- I represent what many out there think, have experienced, and what I hear from others. Perhaps some have been me at one time or another as many of us mortals have experienced.

The saddest part of your comment is you don't know me yet pray for me to see like God. I live with morals and values and with God in my home. I wanted to point out also that just because one doesn't go to church, it's people like you whom chase them away from God completely. It's your all-or-nothing thinking. They think (I've been there before) if I don't go to church or even want to, I have no place with God. I really hope it's not all or nothing with you- that's sad. People like you put such a high price on what it takes to get in heaven and for God to accept us, it's just not true. I hope God helps you find peace.

Elder redwood on March 07, 2015:

You know there is a kingdom called "Self" and we must be careful that we aren't trapped in that kingdom. If we are trapped in the kingdom of self then we will loose the ability to develop relationships, both latitudinal and vertical. Our relationships with our families and friends will become face value because until you can identify with the God of the Bible and have an understanding the grace of God then one will be as two ships passing by in the night. I am praying that the God of the Lord Jesus Christ will open our eyes so we can begin to see like him.

sigministries on February 12, 2015:

The bible says fail not to assemble yourselves together like some do. The purpose of the church(building) is for believers to fellowship together to get empowered by one another. So the church( building) serves its purpose. Then to the church( in us) is what Jesus is coming back for. So we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The key is fellowshipping being connected with a body of believers . God does things in decent and in order. To rationalize the word of God is dangerous because it can lead to sin. Now God is the true Judge. But we as believers are allowed to judge sin and not the person. I understand in this day in time going to church isnt popular for some based on different experiences, but be encourage in this season, the bible talks about a great falling away. So lets be carefull in this season the choices we make as believers. Read and obey the word of God. Dont put your own thoughts and feeling based emotions and feelings and lack of results. Its not about religion but relationship.

gwesley on September 24, 2014:

Today's Consumer Driven Society

cannot help but see church from the consumer seat.

I pay my money---you, the church, provide services

Today's Individualism

has reached narcissistic levels.

People are just in the way of my ambition until they can give me what I want.

Today's Theology has created numerous designer Jesus figures.

If you don't like the God in the bible, make up your own.

Today's Church decided to go retail. We have bands--Dove Awards, Jesus dolls, and a host of other money making proposals. Our preachers have big grins, houses, cars, planes and ego to match. Send your money and be blessed with a return on your "seed faith" investment. It's the Jesus Lottery!!

No wonder people are turned off with church. ? Too many church leaders and churches have become the world we all need respite from.

Today's Church has gone into the Performing Arts. Used to, a minister needed Seminary for preparation to serve people--Now they need a performing Arts degree. The church has no mandate to entertain people or to make people excited or happy. In Christian worship,

The congregation are the performers--God is the audience--and the Ministers are merely prompters. (paraphrase of Kierkegaard)

The church building is a place for Christians to gather. As someone has well said, "It is a hospital for sinful people--not a haven for "good" people. This makes me right at home.

Non Christians must always be welcome, but they really have no reason for attending beyond curiosity or search. I am not a member of the Lions Club and I would resent it if they kept insisting that I go to their meetings and behaving according to their charter. BUT, as a Lion's Club Member, wouldn't it be natural for me to attend regularly and abide by the charter I agreed upon? Perhaps the biggest immature fault of many Christians is their expectation that "outsiders"-- "non-Christians" ACT like they are. Changing ones behavior does not make one a Christian, changing ones belief does.

"Money paid to workers isn't a gift. It is something they earn by working. But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in Him."

Romans 4:4

I take my sorry self down to the meeting house and go inside with the rest of my church who is just as in need as I am for Grace, Discipleship and Encouragement. Ain't one of us got it all together. I do this weekly as the early Christians did each first day of the week--Sunday (not the Sabbath which is Saturday) the Lords Day--a resurrection Sunday.

"Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that." Hebrews 10:25

Most importantly, I worship and study the bible daily. My daily worship and study help to define my understanding of God and my relationship with Him. THEN, when I join with other believers (the church) for corporate worship, my expectations are more in keeping with biblical truth. I am more interested in what pleases God more than myself.

"My friends, when you meet to worship, you must do everything for the good of everyone there" I Corinthians 14:26

Those who love God in private worship--Daily--understand this verse of scripture and practice it. A building full of the church doing this very thing makes for an attractive place!

A building full of people who never read the bible or pray?

There's your mess!

"You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following Him. Plant your roots in Christ and let Him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful."

Colossians 2:6-7

Glenn

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on September 15, 2014:

I completely agree Ericajean. It is good to be with people of same mind and spirit...and I'll add values too!

THank you for stopping by Bangani Sibeko and Raine.

Wise words Mark.

Ericajean on August 04, 2014:

Thanks Mark! Your answer makes sense. I actually do see the physical Church as a place to go for encouragement if someone needs/feels led to go there.

There is no Scripture that says someone goes to hell if they do not attend Church. However, being with others of the same mind and Spirit is good - and not just in a church building.

Blessings!

mark on July 25, 2014:

It is my oppinion , simply put the living word will make a change in any ones life - however this takes to open it and read it with intent ,purpose,and dedication the result is understanding ,application and good truth of how one is to lead a good moral and righteous life .this is not without trial and error . Albeit life teaches us that obeidience and discipline takes effort and many dont want to put in effort as this costs us . Church be it what it is (a sick place and many are sick simply is indicated by how one thinks and acts ) - for those needing a place to start it is good - for those that have started and growth is needed study the Word - for those that know the Word , practice it - for those that need encouradgement go - for those that love it continue - for those that are serrious with wanting a relationship with their God of the Living, go and seek His face - for those that love music go and enjoy it with all heart - for those that want a position in church SUCK UP TO THE PASTOR AND WIFE AND ELDERS AND THE ELITE you are sure to make a way and find out you still arent good enough . ............

But for those of you that are serious about living a meaning full life that pleases and honors God - practice undefiled religion with a good heart , in all you do be righteous , honor the ways of a loving God , help where you can , tell no one of the good you do when giving alms , trust God , do not moan and groan , be fare , if married treat husband / wife with love and honor , dont send your children to sunday school - fathers teach your children gods ways .

There is many ways to serve , praise , and worship God - none greater than a heart that does it with a smile seasoned with compassion and always trusting God regardless of the circumstances in faith .

so if the pillow is calling sleep with joy - if a run ,run with joy - if to fly , fly be gratefull and be thankfull , no mater what do all with thanks giving .

However since their is a season for all good things and you feel that there is more you can do - ask God for His spirit to Fill you and get busy with some miracles - helping - share the gospel - and making your self available to work for the kingdom of God .

Enough said - this be the truth that keeps all together Love the Lord God Almighty with all your Heart ,Soul , Mind and strength .

FOR THIS GOD DESERVES .

Mackwho on July 16, 2014:

Here is another good link... And thank you for your patience of approving my post!

http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/lancia...

Mackwho on July 16, 2014:

okay throu all of this has anyone talked to you about the miracles of the Echuarist of the Catholic Church?

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_Lanciano

There is no explanation and the miracle could have not been faked... So a God must exist and using reason would not a God reward Hid Church if it was the true Church?

Raine Law Yuen from Cape Town on June 29, 2014:

Just completed a hub on manifesting through prayer. Although I was bought up with Christian values I have come to a point in believing that spirituality rather than organized religion is the way to find truth. Spirituality is an inner focus to finding your truth whilst organized religion places an outer focus to faith. It can also be said that this is where the historic difference between Eastern and Western philosophy lie. the East developed along holism and the belief that inner reflection is necessary to obtain individual and societal harmony whilst the West followed the philosophy of ancient Greece and the belief that man is the centre of his universe and pursued Individuality, reasoning and duliasm - Mind body and spirit are all separate. This philosophy served the interest of the West over many years but only to learn that we are all interdependent and with technology its all seems to be backfiring - We just cannot compete with smart technology - hence the need to go inward and back to basics. As the old Chinese curse goes 'may you live in interesting times' I think such a time is now.

Bongani Sibeko from Johannesburg on June 04, 2014:

An-eye-opening, insightful and truthful article. The most divisive mechanism man has come up with is religion. Religion creates all these rituals we have to follow and obey and when we do not do so, we are called and labelled names. We become slaves of religion.

God doesn't dwell on man made temples. Going to church especially the way religion has made church to be is very discouraging. We go to church for some meaning in life, we make a mistake that if we don't go to church God will not hear from us. God is not restricted and limited to a church building, he doesn't even live there!

It's time for us to rise up and denounce religion and join what our hearts yearn for, the kingdom of God. God doesn't recognize all these religions, he never designed any religion. He calls us to his kingdom where there is true love, no prejudice whatsoever!

God bless you for exposing such truth!

Anil on April 20, 2014:

After attending evangelical churches in the USA for 16 years, I am disillusioned and cynical.

Pastor-directed church models encourage exploitation and spiritual abuse of the people (congregation) by leaders. Furthermore, they tend to lead to pastor-centered churches. It is true that even the best model can be corrupted due to man's corrupt nature. Yet God wants us to pick a model that has the principles of the body of Christ.

Here, I describe My Dream Church from my study of the Bible.

https://sites.google.com/site/mydreamchurch/

Bob7777 on April 09, 2014:

A house divided among itself will not stand. I am not against the church or body of Christ nor will I ever be. It's just that I can't seem to find a church where people actually can understand or have taken time to understand that there are even different situations/ scenarios (if U will) in life and personal levels of integrity other than what the average church goer has experienced or is willing to give credence to and that some people want to give God 100% whereas most church goers don't understand that this means giving more and more to God (including our simple trust) as our walk with him progresses on a daily basis (God may even literally ask someone to lay down their own life for another eventually if our faith is proven strong enough). Things are not always so black and white. And yes while we should acknowledge that sin is black and white, we are to hate the sin and not the sinner with exception to all out hedonistic behavior or apostasy (in other words if ever U have complete evil opposing Christ then yes I believe the war is on). The problem I have encountered almost constantly is that within the 4 walls of the church U have the holy of holies (and I believe that they are often true Christians) who are so afraid of sinning that they force their uptight standards on U and then U have the cool Christian club who go too far in the opposite direction almost having no moral code or holy reverence for God or respect for others. I believe the devil is quite aware of this and it's one way he divides a church in this day and age. Go to the two extremes and let even the fish in the middle be tempted into doubting that God really loves them or that he is even real because at the end of the day you are left numb with all the head games and a lack of the true issues being addressed. And it's all wrapped up and disguised in church politics so that a church member who is seeking the truth gets a neatly packaged but surface level answer or is even told in so many words, " don't be a problem just walk with God, because your questions are causing problems or unrest". I have experienced in my own life gossip and slander sweeping thru an entire church only to leave the target of these attacks feeling justified in leaving that church. I have seen a mob mentality in a church in which people gang up on one person like they are going to war instead of putting themselves in that person's situation and being understanding and encouraging (and no I am not saying to be accepting of sin and there are many times that somebody has not sinned (other than they have made mistakes in the past but other church members decide it's easier to label them as a bad egg), it's just that they didn't give others around them that perfect churchy impression one must expect in a church gathering or it's that they did or said something that looked bad to the scrupulous human eye or ears). I have seen people caught up in being accepted by others because they would rather be liked and seen as cool than to speak the truth or bee seen with others who don't fit in with their idea of cool (very common in today's often times unholy and unChrist-like churches). I have seen a church resemble more of a materialistic popularity contest where it's members literally sit around (a good portion of them so as to affect or influence the spirit or attitude of that church) and assign the members of that church a sort of popularity status on a scale of 1-10 so that U would be temepted not to do or say anything so as not to be lowered on their ranking scale and if things would continue long enough in that manner most of the members of that church would be influenced to live for the approval of people and lose their focus on serving God. Need I mention situations that require deeper spiritual levels of understanding or capabilities which not all Church goers may possess depending on their walk with God so U can be seen as an odd ball or outcast by other members of your church simply because U have given God 100%. C.S. Lewis once said that if he could define what hell would be like it would have to be like a giant office building with many politicians inside never doing more than they have to and never looking like the culprit. I hope we can't say the same thing about the Church today. I know there are good Christians out there and I thank God for those he has brought into my life to encourage me especially thru their Christ-like example. We have hope in Christ and I encourage everyone to run the good race and to finish to the end giving God the glory. The only answer I can find is to go out there and do God's will as the HolySpirit (that Jesus sent to us when he tore away the holy veil) guides us accordingly in each situation.

john smith on April 07, 2014:

BRILLIANT ! you,ve been to my church hav,nt you?

Just left it 4/4/14 Full of matthew chapt 23.... OH WOE !

BY:WATERSTAR on March 26, 2014:

FROM: WATERSTAR. are people really quitting Church or is it running out of spiritual vitamines . in any case one of the main reason is the Facts that Most of The establish Old Churches have lost their Vision of who Jesus really his and what he stand For and Most of the Old Churches have become Cold and Lukewarm Not enough Love For People Soul and Too Much Love For Money $ .and we are in a knowledge age where everybody see and feel the lack of love.but The Main reason is because we are in the End of Days and the Rapture is about to take Place and only the wise Virgin who Love God can see it ,as it is written in the gospel of ST. Luke in the Last days before Jesus Return people all over the World will Love Pleasure more than God all kind of marrying and Living in Common Law living a whole Lot of dont Care attitude so it really not Leaving The Churches as to Falling out of Love With and For God and have become UN THANKFULL for what Jesus as done in giving His Life so that man Can Have Everlasting Life in Paradise Mankind have Forgotten what God have done for them and dont care much about anything or anyone but themself alone they quit on themself they gave up Like a runner in a race that just stop running , But it not too Late to Jump back in Just shake off the Dust go back to the Book of acts of the Apostle Chapter 2 and verse 38 and get started and this time Find a Holy Ghost Jesus Believing Church and get going we are running out of time so Snap to it You dont want to missed Jesus at the Rapture of the Church it will be a very hard day for those left behind. Heaven is wort it just to go to Church and give Thanks it simple just be humble Jesus Still Love you the way you are. BY: WATERSTAR

Ultraman from Maryland on March 12, 2014:

It is unfortunate that people call themselves Christians and talk/act otherwise. Just because someone calls themselves a Christian or go to church does not mean they are one. Christians can be easily identified by expressions of love, nonjudgmental, willing to help, humble, respectful, sincere, and honesty. There are many other adjectives I could use, but I think you get the jist of what I am saying. Again it is unfortunate for the body of Christ because a lot of GOD'S gifts are never realized because the so called Christians behavior and speech hardens the hearts of people looking for a church to go to. I know it is important to go to church where you feel comfortable, however first and foremost Christians are suppose to go to church to have a relationship with Jesus/GOD. Once that relationship is established you can then through behavior and speech show love which will attract people. Regardless of the negativity you receive from the so called Christian, YOU THE REAL CHRISTIAN will be a light upon the hill as an example of what a Christian is suppose to be.

deorganicchurch from Newark, DE on March 08, 2014:

It seems harder these days to find a good church, since so many people are so into themselves that they have problems relating to others. I can go online and download many great messages without ever leaving my house, but I can't download spending quality time with other believers where iron sharpens iron. I think if a church fails in developing quality people that are becoming more Christlike, it has failed in a major area. I do commend that many churches preach the gospel to the unsaved and lead them to Christ. This is perhaps the strongest trait of a great number of churches. The problem is what happens after they are saved. The Bible tells us to go into the world and make disciples. Making disciples involves more than just preaching saving faith, it involves promoting continual growth of the believer as they spend the remaining portion of their life conforming into the image of Christ. When a large number of people attending a church do not display Christlike behavior, there is a serious problem in that church. It seems like Western society, especially young people, want less to do with Christ as each year passes by. This might be the falling away prophesied in the Bible.

Dave t on March 06, 2014:

It's sad that the original post starts off about why the writer doesn't go to church, and veers towards why they don't have a faith. Many of the comments go the same way.

A church should accept anyone, in whatever state their life is, just like its leader Christ did. Where a church makes you feel unwelcome or looked down upon, that church has a problem.

Note: feel free to replace the word 'sin' with 'things that God doesn't want' below...

Please remember though that entirety of a church is sinful people, including the pastor ("everyone has fallen short" if you are looking for a reference). Some of that sinfulness will be poor behaviour by how they treat each other and you as a visitor.

I encourage readers here to see past that, and recognize that they can still learn from God, and grow their faith even in a building full of inherently bad humans. Spending time with other Christians is a blessing and encouragement. Worshiping together is a key part of that, and it's not about finding a group of perfect people to be your role models.

Looking for a perfect church is futile, but do keep looking till you find one that genuinely welcomes you as you are.

Of course, awful histories of church leaders' behaviour often in the news is clearly wrong, but if you reject everyone who has ever sinned, you will in fact reject everyone on the planet. Sometimes in a church they'll say or imply that you are a sinner, and that just makes them sound like hypocrites. It's the message that matters. I hope you can see that.

My advice: try to forgive those who make you feel unwelcome. Look to the teachings and life of Jesus taught at the church, not whether the attenders are immaculate. Ignore what you think is the dress code and just turn up, late if you want; listen to the message, drink the free instant coffee and leave.

The life changing message will eventually help you realise that the other stuff doesn't matter.

keepthisinmind on March 06, 2014:

Faith is the evidence of things not seen the substance of things hoped for. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house. Men and brethern children of the stocke of Abraham,and whosoever among you feareth God,to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Hierusalem & their rulers, because they know him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day,they have fufilled them in condeming him. And though they found no cause of death in him,yet desired they Pilate that he should be slaine. And when they had fufilled all that was written of him,they tooke him down from the tree, and layd him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead: and he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Hierusalem,who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,God hath fufilled the same vnto vs their children,in that he hath raised up Jesus againe, as it is also written in the second Psalme: Thou art my sonne this day hath i begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him vp from the dead ,now no more to return to corruption ,he said on this wise i will give you the sure mercies of Dauid. Wherefore he saith also in another Psalme, Thou shalt not suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. For Dauid after he had served his own generation by the will of God fell on sleepe, and was laid unto his fathers and saw corruption: but he whom God raised againe saw no corruption. Be it known vnto you therfore, men and brethern,that through this man is preached vnto you the forgiveness of sinnes. And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of moses. Beware therefore , lest that come vpon you which is spoken of in the prophets, Behold ye despisers and wonder and perish: for i worke a worke in your days a worke which you shall in no wise believe though a man declare it vnto you.

deorganicchurch from Newark, DE on March 05, 2014:

The church is supposed to be a body of Christ, where each believer is a part of his spiritual family, and they can count on each other in good times and bad. It is sad that those churches do not function as an spiritual household of faith by walking in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There should be a brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ that exists between members of a given church because they are fit the frame together. Sadly to say, the biblical example and the real world reality are far apart from each other. A Christian should be reaching towards his/her Savior in order to be more like him. To have a cold, judgmental attitude towards others is evidence of a person not walking close to Christ. Many of these people are not even saved at all. Going to church doesn't make somebody a born-again believer. They need to be spiritually reborn through the salvation process. If this has not happened, no amount of religious study or church attendance will make up for it. The lost are still under the penalty of sin and do not have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. This is why, despite going to church for years, they are unable to exhibit any Christlike behavior. I attend an organic, house church where this is not the case. The members love one another and walk through life being guided by the spirit that lives within them. It really helps to be around other Christians who walk in faith, since they are able to help build you up in the faith. If a church like this is not available nearby, you can meet with one or two other believers and start sharing your lives together in Christ. Perhaps over time, the group will grow into a house church, and you will have no need to attend a typical traditional church.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on February 24, 2014:

That was a refreshing hub on the outlook of churches in general. I was brought up in a very heavy churchgoing family, but I was never allowed to ask the questions that I kept directed and the preacher during bible classes. He probably did not have the answers. Needless to say I do not ever go to any church anymore. I simply respect myself and any person with a pure good heart who lives by one rule only. "Never do to others you do not want others do to you!"

Pam on February 23, 2014:

I trust GOD I like a visit to church but it seems like churchgoers wont let you have private time with your savior they are always doing what the church as a whole does right away want to you to join some kind of prayer group or bible study better people than me have tried to study the bible and never get the answer cant I just read the bible GOD doesn't say study the bible there are ten folks and we cant even do them right .I would like to walk into a church and be left alone I don't want to meet you or hug you or shake your hand I want to be with GOD not a sinner like me if they was a church that would do some of the things a am talking about maybe more would go and passing the plate before the service is so well GOD isn't happy I am sure I pray to him almost every day while I go about my life sometimes I cry because I know what I did made him sad but I am not a fake and I like people and hate to judge but I am sure that most people would get more out of going to church if someone would just let them worship our LORD I don't jugde anyones reasons for going to church I just pray that someday some one would start a church like this that doesn't put any one faith or how they do it GOD BLESS YOU AND ME .AMEN

Stacey Annestedt from Alabama on February 20, 2014:

I agree with your post there are many reasons why a person doesn't go to church. We all want to be closer to God but seem to find so many others things to do. I am a prime example I have tried to say it was the preaching style of the pastor. So we changed churches. We love the new church but we have to get up 30 minutes earlier to get there for preaching. After working all week I enjoy getting to sleep late. My point is when my husband and I were going to church regularly life seemed to go smoother and the aches and pains lessened. It is amazing how much better things get when you are walking hand in hand with God , he makes everything better.

RJ on February 20, 2014:

I enjoyed reading this. I went through the church going rat race for many years so everything you said resonated with me. I too used to ask the questions that you ask, like why are of society's rejects flocking to church, where the heck are the normal people? The other issue I had is with "God only helps those who help themselves" kind of thinking. Well if you help yourself then your doing it yourself anyway, so divine input wasn't happening although credit was always given. I then committed the real unpardonable sin, I began to question and search for answers. After much searching, praying, pleading, etc., I realized that I no longer believed in any of this stuff. I asked myself how is Christianity any different from a cult? The only answer I could come up with was the Christianity has more members, so it is an accepted religion. The Bible is rife with contradictions, errors, etc. and the apologists explanations for all of this are very unsatisfying. Does anyone really believe in the talking snake, the talking donkey, a strong man that can carry the gates of a city who loses his powers when his hair is cut, Noah's flood and many more unbelievable nonsense? Would anyone believe this stuff if it was written in any other book besides the Bible? It is so obviously false that it strains my mind to wonder how I once believed this stuff. So now I get to enjoy my life without worrying if unsaved loved ones will have to endure hell since I know it doesn't exist and I also get to sleep in on Sundays and keep that 10% that used to go into the collection plate. Life is good and I continue to have success in my life that I formerly attributed to God, but now the I can actually give the credit where it belongs, my own hard work. No more fake religion for me, I have been set free from the cult of Christianity!

glidagida on February 15, 2014:

The Baptism of Love by Francis Frangipane

By Francis Frangipane

It is hard for us in this anxious, fearful age to quiet our souls and actually dwell upon God in our hearts. We can engage ourselves with Bible study or other acts of obedience. In varying degrees we know how to witness, exhort and bless. We know how to analyze these things and even perfect them. But to lift our souls above the material world and consciously ponder on God Himself seems beyond the reach of our Christian experience.

To Dwell Upon God

Yet, to actually grasp the substance of God is to enter a spiritual place of immunity; it is to receive into our spirits the victory Christ won for us, which is oneness with God in Christ.

Thus we cannot content ourselves merely with the tasks we are called to perform. Ultimately we will discover that study and church attendance are but forms which have little satisfaction in and of themselves. These activities must become what the Lord has ordained them to be: means through which we seek and find God. Our pleasure will be found not in the mechanics of spiritual disciplines, but that these disciplines bring us closer to God.

Paul’s cry was, “That I may know Him!” (Phil. 3:10). It was this desire to know Jesus that produced Paul’s knowledge of salvation, church order, evangelism and end-time events. Out of his heart’s passion to know God came revelation, the writing of Scriptures and knowledge of the Eternal. Paul’s knowledge was based upon his experience with Christ.

On the other hand, we have contented ourselves not with seeking the face of God, but with studying the facts of God. We are satisfied with a religion about Christ without the reality of Christ.

The Bible is the historical record of man’s experiences with the Almighty. Out of personal encounters people had with the living God, our theological perspectives have developed. But knowledge about God is only the first step toward entering the presence of God. As much as the Bible is a book of truths, it is also a map to God. As Christians, we study and debate the map yet too often fail to make the journey.

Love Surpasses Knowledge

There is a place greater than knowledge; it is a simple, yet eternally profound place where we actually abide in Christ’s love. This is, indeed, the shelter of the Most High. Remember the apostle’s prayer was that we each would “know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). As important as knowledge is, that verse tells us love “surpasses knowledge.” Doctrinal knowledge is the framework, the vehicle, that opens the door toward divine realities, but love causes us to be “filled up to all the fullness of God” (v. 19).

There is a dwelling place of love that God desires us to enter. It is a place where our knowledge of God is fulfilled by the substance of God. The Amplified Bible’s rendering states:

“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!” (Eph. 3:17-19)

Is this not our goal, to be rooted deeply in love, to grasp the breadth, length, height and depth of God’s love; and to know for ourselves the deep, personal love of Christ? Can any goal be more wonderful? Indeed, to be filled and flooded with God Himself is the very hope of the gospel!

You see, God cannot truly be known without, in some way, also being experienced. If you had never seen a sunrise or a starry night sky, could any description substitute for your own eyes beholding the expansive beauty? Awe comes from seeing and encountering, not merely from knowing that somewhere a beautiful sky exists.

Likewise, to truly know God we must seek Him until we pass through the outer, informational realm about God and actually find for ourselves the living presence of the Lord Himself. This is the “upward call” of God in Christ Jesus. It draws us through our doctrines into the immediacy of the divine presence. The journey leaves us in the place of transcendent surrender, where we listen to His voice and, from listening, ascend into His love.

The earth’s last great move of God shall be distinguished by an outpouring from Christ of irresistible desire for His people. To those who truly yearn for His appearing there shall come, in ever-increasing waves, seasons of renewal from the presence of the Lord (see Acts 3:19-21). Intimacy with Christ shall be restored to its highest level since the first century.

The Baptism of Love

Many on the outside of this move of God as well as those touched and healed by it will look and marvel: “How did these common people obtain such power?” They will see miracles similar to when Jesus Christ walked the earth. Multitudes will be drawn into the valley of decision. For them, the kingdom of God will be at hand.

But for those whom the Lord has drawn to Himself, there will be no mystery as to how He empowered them. Having returned to the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ, they will have received the baptism of love.

Is this possible, my Lord? Is it true that I might know the love of God that surpasses all knowledge? O God, I seek to know You, to live in the substance of Your love. For Your love is the shelter of my protection. Help me, Master, to recognize Your love, not as a divine emotion, but as Your very substance! Help me to see that it was neither Pilate nor Satan that put You on the cross; it was love alone to which You succumbed. Remind me again that it is Your love that still intercedes for me even now.

Francis Frangipane

www.frangipane.org

Tony T on February 13, 2014:

I didn't read everyones post but I agree with the author on almost every point. I think the true answer is right in the scripture. In Matthew 6 verse 1 on, Yeshua (Jesus) warns us against all the things that occur in church Doing charitable deeds among men, praying out loud in front of others repetitious prayers, and worrying about what we are wearing. If we can' t listen to the very words of Christ then Christians we are not. Worship the lord in your home with your family wear you are comfortable. Where the prayer and worship will continue to flow throughout your week and your life. Where you can get a little mor pillow time and not have to dress up. Believe that the Holy Spirit will bring you all you need in understanding the Word as you read. We don't need pastors or any other human to learn about God . To me that is an insult to The Holy Spirit. Why would God design a system where we needed to rely on other humans to understand his word.

Food for thought

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on February 05, 2014:

Thanks everyone for the comments. Those that disagree, well, someone else mentioned this...the old world church hasn't caught up with the new. Many still hang onto the old definition of church and God, but has grown with us as he should and things have changed while many churches have not. I actually believe many have stunted peoples' growth. A new term has been introduced in our society and that's spirituality. People are gravitating to that and it's a personal relationship with God, not the old style.

donald reed on February 02, 2014:

for me it's been hard all the back stabbing gossip and the like

I'm finding that most of the people that go to church are not right in there heads and think they have the right to hert good people

and as long as the areas in life are up it's ok the damage that they have done. And they no how to quote the bible very quickly but wont look at the sin that has caused others to get into sin . But it is all neatly justified

muhammadahmed71 on January 20, 2014:

The reason is western self created democracy,which totally destroyed God rights, parents rights,family rights even self rights.

Mandhla azarel Moyo from Nairobi, Kenya on January 18, 2014:

The Church needs to change to its already different and dynamic environment. I dont know why we still keep the ideal that the old is gold when we have diamonds and platinum and other such more fascinating rocks and rubies. Truth is, the problem of how to blend the word into the reality of the world?

nicole on January 18, 2014:

Thanks for this, I agree with the majority of it, I been to church my whole life and honestly its when I stop going that I get close to God. When I go to church it seems like its more about what we all look like that matters to its wonderful members, its about what we can do for them which makes them determine if we are worthy of their approval, but like I said I've been to church my whole life and because of that I feel like I have to go, and who would want to be in a place where they want you to believe they care for you but they don't, they are too buisy judging your outward appearance, the car you drive and the amount of money you have oh oh and what you have you have to bring to the table to ever really care or love you with the same unconditional love they preach about and expect you to have.

I usually find peace at church when I'm alone, when I can talk to God my way without people listening and wanting some perfect well spoken convo.

Well this just helped me really realize where the problem in my life is, the more I go the more I lose faith, and I'm guessing this must be how other people are.

The really good people I've met, I've actually never met at church, they were judged tooooo much to go there, every fake friend who took so much time to judge my and all my friends was an strict church goer, they kill the spirit, creativity and individuality in the name of God, the same God who gave us those gifts.

pigletsfriend on January 13, 2014:

i have a question can anyone help me. i was brought up in baptist church and that is where i became a christiain and baptised. i have struddled to keep and maintain friends. so i thought i would start to go to the church of england where everyone is accepted!! i thought very wrong. i started to attend a speical choir in town run by one of the pastoral carers and got bullied to a point where contracts needed to be signed. then i joined the free spirit gospel choir same lady ran all was fine there for a bit. then i went to a open mic and talk a support worker so i could learn some new socail skills as i have aspergers. the first choir i attended was a specail needs one where folk with mental health problems and learning disabiltes attended. one day at first the contract was broken i had a strange message after we was not suppose to talk about it so i refused and sent one message to the leader of the choirs and told her that the contract had been broke. it never got sorted so i went to my private lesson again with this leader i paid for it and there was laughing and the bulliy was there so that day i decided i would not go back there as there is no way it was going to work no one was going to sort the mess out. that evening i had some problems with my daugher and i drove out to a grave yard sat with my friend who recently passed away i no i can not tak to her so i prayed to God. i then decided that all i need was a friend and to talk to some one may be have a prayer with them. but i got a socal worker call me instesad and we had a laugh and there was a mis understanding and it was over i was told it was the leader that called. so i decided to leave that too. i then thought about a few things as she was not acting ver christina like i do not no the rules of the church of england at the time so it is not realy my fault so i deced to bomb blast her with very home truths and send her some scripture to back it up. she did not like it so she blocked me from all groups on face book and blocked her self. so i decided that it was morily rong of her so i asked to see the rev at the church. i emailed him with very informal complaints about this leader and he said to me to come and see him so i did ther was a nother rev there too. he said to protect the leader and me being the vonrable adult that i needed support to atend anythign that tis lady ran. unknown to this i went to open mic before the meeting no support worker but took my mum who i care for i also have children at home. i do have aspergers wich is a form of autism. he told me later that i could not come less i had support workers with me my budget does not cover this the only other option was not to come. how can that be possible. why was it not sorted with the leader and me to put it behind us and move on and sort the contract out that was already there. apparently there was some misunderstandings beween us and that is why they decided that. i am a indpendent person with a few socail issuse and need a bit of support. there is no way i can get more and would not want to embarace myself in fround of some friends i like wither they mix with me or not. and when we perfom with these choirs i have family and other friends from other churches come to see me why would a support worker want to sit near a choir and not sing or join in with these things if they did not have a chrsitian belif any way? so i ahve decided i will take the ole mater up with the prist higher up and see if i can make it more efficial that somthing gets done. i feel be littled and intimadated all because of mis understandings between 2 people. if they want her to just be a choir leader and not be her friend or be her sisiter in christ then find i can cope with that but take away all i had on my door step i enjoy and not beable to atted nothering that she leads like preayer things in lady chapel on sunmday or when she give the bread and wine out i have to have a supprt worker or not attend is very dscrimanating and very b littling. when i was in baptist churches or in another one i worked for metnal health in one running a social support group alone. i have taught in sunday school and a holiday bible club for teens if i was not trusted since i was 14 to help out in a church i am not 43 and this as jut came up is there something moral wrong i belive deeply it is between me and the choir teacher but no one will let me sort her and least of all her self. so now i have to see if the prest will sor t it all out or i will need to make it formal complaint i am not sure any ideas what i should do does it come under disablty discrimanation? this lady as a brother with autism like me i wonder if it is something to do with that i never met him and she nver spoke of him i heard it from a socal worker that she had a brother with it strange! i wonder if she does not like to mix with the likes of me or aspergers or autism people i am not that bad i have lack of eye contact do not mix too well but never nasty i give a lot to i reaise money for cancer that is what my best friend died of who was a good christian friend and accepted just as i was. now she as gone i have no one close to me to pop by for a cuppa and no one ever comes to see me or calls me to see how i am nothing. i am not sure where i belong and to scard after this to step foot in a church for the fear of being be littled if something went rong i can not let it drop i do not want others to go through it i want to get it sorted before someone eles goes through it. it will never changfe the fact i beive in teh Lord Jesus christ but settling in a church as realy rocked me and got me very nervos. i need a apology and i will for give and put it behind me so i can continue to do the things me and one of my children and my mum injoy and that is going to church we are christian and need to be part of a church as that is what God wants i pray daily for the situation but do not find guidence only come to the concluion that i need to sort the mess out what do you think i no i go on a bit but that is how it is when i email folk or tell them what i think i can be far to honest but is that a crime in a church? it is also part of my condition it is too hard to lie i ahve to go in to detail and facts.

UK bird on January 10, 2014:

LOVING this ... am based in the UK but this rings so true!

Soundness on December 29, 2013:

Although I do not support all of your areas of concern, I absolutely understand some of your points. There are Christian believers and followers - then you have some Christians who are both. Being a Christian is about loving GOD above all else and loving others. I am not spiritual because that leaves too much to chance. I embrace the holy spirit because I know the purpose. Some people confuse fellowship with only going to church. A church is "a body of believers" assembled anywhere (to share the gospel (good news of Christ) but many think it's a building. The concept is to share the positive love of GOD and witness by telling trying experiences in your life and how GOD brought you through them in ways one could have not ever foreseen. Allowing your life to be an example doesn't mean that you will always be at your best at a specific point in time, however, many successes emerge from failures. Although saved at a young age, as an older women I began to read and study the Bible. I took "my time" on a personal level and then later through academia (hermeneutics, genres, etc;) . It was extremely enlightening and just because someone is fluent in quoting scriptures does not mean that individual is more of a Christian, more knowledgeable or comprehends the true interpretations. A lot of what I have come to learn is different from what is demonstrated publicly, passed down through generations and told ... how Christians are "supposed to be, what we are to wear, who we can associate with, we can't make mistakes else we're no longer a Christian" - it's nonsense. Some are still living by the Old Testament (society couldn't abide by those laws then) and it is not the covenant (agreement) we (who have given our lives to Christ and profess his deity) are now under "WITH" GOD. It is not always easy, and at times it seems like more hardships now than before. I love GOD and "KNOW" what his love feels like. It is that experience that should be shared ... whenever and wherever.

Cnunn85 on December 26, 2013:

Reading your article just makes me realize that some people (such as yourself) only come to chuch to criticize everything and everybody. Not knowing exactly where chapters in the Bible means that you have taken the time read the bible, you don't have to keep up with everyone else we learn at our own paces. We simply come to church for the fellowship not to focus on all the negatives. There is NO perfect church or building because is first in us:-)

StillLearning on December 11, 2013:

Thank you so much for this article. I was one of those judgemental Christians who took everything the pastors said as Gospel until last year. Then I had one of the hardest years ever and my eyes were opened. See I'm a follower and a people pleaser; I hate any kind of conflict and just learned to go along with pretty much whatever at church. I was at the same church for 22 years always trying to fit in, doing what I was told was right, and never questioning anything. Sure I felt judged and put down I never once felt like I was good enough for those people, but church was something I was supposed to do or so I was told.

Last year seemed extremely difficult for me at church. People from my church started posting on Facebook putting down my kids and what they wore or messaging me privately telling me my daughters shouldn't date this guy or whatever. In the beginning it made me feel like a failure as a mom and upset that my so called "church family" would treat me this way.

Then one of my friends' daughters left home when she was 18 after she had a falling out with her mom. Well after her living arrangement fell through she moved in with me and again I felt the displeasure of church opinions. This mom acted like the grieving mom at church so sad that her daughter left, but outside of church was different. She told her daughter she broke her trust and couldn't come home and she gave her daughters stuff and room away to her siblings. I took the brunt of doing the right thing among others at church. Well this lady decided not to talk to me ever again and wouldn't forgive me for helping her kid out. I felt like by what the Bible says we should try to at least talk it out, but that never happened. I was having a really hard time going to church there after that, I felt like the hypocrite knowing this lady is there that won't even talk to me and we are singing a few pews away from each other about God's love and forgiveness.

But I trudged on, then my mother in law got sick and came to live with us. She could no longer be alone or go out. So I stayed home with her on Sunday mornings and went when I could. I felt very judged when I went, I would get comments like "You haven't been here in awhile" or "nice to see you showed up".

I think the final straw came as my mother in law was with us for 3 months and during that time I received no phone calls, no visits from any of my so called 'church friends'. I was shut in as much as my mother in law and felt utterly abandoned and alone. Sure the church was there for me if I showed up, but no one was going to take the time to be there for me if it was inconvenient for them.

Last year I saw the real fakeness of church and its people. You know everyone throws around the phrase don't forsake the assembling of yourself together, but they don't quote the whole verse and what I believe it is trying to say. It talks about community, lifting each other up, being there for one another, spurring each other on to good works and love and sadly church isn't the place to find those things.

When I left, the women's minister condemned me of course and her words after I told her all my problems with others was. "You go to church for God not for other people." Really? Well give me a church building that is empty and I will go for God. I'm still searching, still trying to figure out who I am after fitting myself into the good little church goer role for so long, but one thing I know for certain I don't need anyone else around me to connect with God, to worship Him, or to come before His throne.

Ericajean on December 07, 2013:

Well well. A nice hub that I have been praying for. I voted this one Up because after reading "So You Don't Want to Go to Church" about three years prior I learned a few things:

*Church is a building- yet, it is supposed to be an organism, a body of Christ. So if I need help or a friend, no one should say "do you belong to a church?" No. I belong to God. Buildings crumble and fall.

*When Paul wrote his letters to Ephesus and Corinthians and other churches, these were mostly homes in a certain area. Even the Amish visit each other's home on Sunday and not an actual church building(according to my finite understanding).

*Sunday is a day of rest and I've always believed that if I am getting up early, dressing up to see people I do not want to see- how is that worshiping God? How am I honoring Him?

*Some people are just plain addicted to church. They literally fall in love with the pastor's sermons, the thousands of ministries and the cliques. A lot of separatism there- but aren't we called to be Holy and set apart unto the Lord? Not form evil factions within a church.

So for these reasons and many more, my husband and I have decided to fellowship in God's home- which is this Earth, this land. Anywhere is a fellowship meeting spot. The important thing mentioned in Acts and elsewhere in the bible is that we fellowship. So even if we do not go to a church building, getting together with other believers often is good.

Seriously on December 07, 2013:

Well i certainly feel that God is very much punishing me in the first place since i am dealing with my Loneliness right now, and when i see so many other men and women that have been Very Blessed By God to have met one another with a Family, it hurts me even much more. Why should i go to Church when i don't have a Love Life like so many others have?, and many of us good men hate very much being Alone all the time Too. And with the Holidays approaching, it is even worse.

Kukata Kali on November 25, 2013:

I appreciated the expression and enjoyed the opinion :)

pam on November 19, 2013:

hey I understand what your saying I have been there I have a son in prison I have a son that just got off drugs a daughter that would not be here if she had not stopped drugs which means I would not have my 4 adorable Grandchildren Logan, Wesley, Cooper, and my little April, she was named after my other daughter April she has gone to see Jesus oh you don't think I could blame so many things yes I was mad at God and when he took my Daddy 2 weeks after my Daughter yes I still wonder and I still make excuses to stay on my pillar but God has a plan for us and with out him I would be nuts you guys its not ok to play God on Sunday and Satan The rest of the week we all could just say God help me to live more like you. We cant justify everything but I was such a good christen oh yea please listen to this I was a Sunday School teacher and guess what I was setting in Church at a revival and during invitation oh yea I was saved right there you know how I felt so you know instead of walking away start praying for who upset you they may be lost or just a sinner God didn't say when your saved you will never sin again he said repent daily I love you all and hope I have not said anything to hurt but help.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 19, 2013:

pam

I realize we judge others but church, or any place of God, isn't where we want to be judged. It is a turn-off for people who have sinned and I've heard many say things about not belonging in a church because of the stereotypes of not fitting in, someone with tattoos, someone whose gone to prison, someone who lost their children due to drugs. I'm just mentioning some I've heard. Don't shoot the messenger. And for me personally I saw the church turn my mother away because of going through a divorce back in the 80's. I think by judgment, I also mean that the elders in a church or the regulars are often the worst. How can that be justified?

pam on November 19, 2013:

I am a Christain I can not believe all that I'm hearing I am human I am a sinner saved by grace I am no where near perfect that's Gods department rather we are church goers are not we all are sinners we judge people and don't even realize it if you don't believe that back up and read all these again. God steal loves us all he wants us to do a work for him we go to work and at the end of our week we want our pay. I pray that God will touch our hearts and minds and we will realize if he didn't have work for us we wouldn't be hear. when our work for him is over he will take us from this life and than we will get our pay. Before that time I pray that my head along with yours will have given that pillar up for Him amen.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 17, 2013:

I might change some things in this article. It's probably the only one of my aged hubs that hasn't been revised over the years. It's time...and you bring up some great points. I've written other hubs pertaining to this topic such as an informational hub about in-home churches (a possible substitute for leaving a traditional church). I wrote a very personal hub about nearly giving up on God. I dabble in this topic and often times learn things as I go concerning religion. I'm not the expert that you are- that's why encourage you to write some hubs. I'd be interested.

I'd like to write something concerning the children of parents who've left the church. For my children, God is part of our every day lives. We still pray- we teach long the way. There are always good teaching moments to relate to God.

RKeithAndrews on November 15, 2013:

Pretty good article! Definitely thought provoking. Guess the term "quit" annoys me a bit. While reading I wondered about other less pointed terms such as "leave" or maybe something along the lines of "distance themselves."

At any rate, the author has embarked upon negotiating a rather spindly topic and is to be commended for rattling some branches to get folks thinking about something not only timely but pressing upon our American society.

The points she makes are merely a few, as Hub space limits her extending the article much further. And yet that is likely a good thing as once one sets out upon this topic it can become a rather bumpy ride with so many nuances.

The article does well to initiate or jump start conversation on this matter of religious flux in America.

Without additional comment on the article - it's flow of information, style, etc, I'd like to chime in on the four year-old topic (still breathing fresh readership) and ask if there are ponderings on "quitting" the church as related to location in America - the South, Midwest, Northeast, etc. And how location may or may not be a determining factor toward walking out the door of the church.

Further, are there, for lack of a better term, substitutes for having left the church?

And for those having left who have young children how does this factor in to relating religion or impressing spirituality and spiritual formation on their children?

Please leave some notes on this and refer your readers to this Hub and the authors main page because she has additional topics which are spread in many directions.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 14, 2013:

To correct one of my many typos..."you" will wear them like badges of honor, not "they".

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 14, 2013:

It's not about winning...it's about standing up to a bully. I viewed your comments as those similar to bully behavior. Now that I know where you came from, your upbringing and the path you chose in the church, I understand.

And that last comment from you I respect because now I don't believe you were just aiming to hurt or tear down someone. You opened yourself up a little and I have respect for that kind of courage. When I started this journey on Hubs I thought to myself 'I have not written in 18 years'. I loved to write as a child and my dad told me sometimes in high school that there is no money to be made through writing. I stopped. I was stupid enough to stop like the elders at the church did to you. They killed your spirit. Inevitably we all come across someone who does that. My responses to you come from a place of not allowing anyone to kill my spirit again.

Fast forward to the beginning of the recession I got laid off from a lucrative living in Human Resources (same career my dad had). I was bored sometimes even though I had a 6 month old. I got on hubpages and I knew I didn't have the time to write. Then I realized I had the time to write, but not perfectly. Since having kids, the harsh reality, and sometimes relief, is that I can't do anything perfect anymore- a tough reality for a former perfectionist...4.0 student. So I decided to write anyway...what could it hurt? No one would read it anyway. One of my first pieces was a huge weight off my chest. I admit it was a selfish act at first. Then people started to comment how they went through something similar as well. For a person who is very private in real life, a preferred loner, and a stay-at-home mom with no connection to the outside world on most days, Hubs saved me. I do research for some of my hubs, but research becomes outdated quickly. I don't put a lot of emphasis on studies for that reason- today coffee is good for us, tomorrow it kills us.

I would encourage you to write something on this topic. All I needed to look up was the stats for people leaving churches and the new trend toward "spirituality". I knew I wasn't the only one. What I stress in my religion hubs is for people not to get discouraged with God and lose sight of Him even if the church failed them.

I don't need to scrounge up some psychobabble for your experiences through life. But I still encourage to you to write on some of those experiences and add in some factual backup too. You have the time to research so there's your edge. I too went through some emotional abuse as a kid- I was always stupid and my dad was the expert, being a genius. I am free of that now. My mom has always been a victim. Me, well I won't be like either. Productive? I hope you find your own definition for that- don't let others tell you what that is. I wanted to write, but realized I don't have much time so I had the choice to not do it at all or just go ahead but know I wasn't writing my best. I don't regret just doing it.

My other writing gigs...business documents, blogs, and newsletters (can't make mistakes on those), and my passion which I continually revise and perfect is children's fiction. Still some facts involved in that, but mostly I use my imagination, my area of strength.

I find that writing on personal experiences is a challenge. It is rewarding but sometimes logic gets tangled up with emotions. I think if you do something with your personal experiences RKA, they will not be wasted lessons. Maybe one day they will wear them like badges of honor.

RKAndrews on November 14, 2013:

You win. I don't know what. But you win.

A long time ago I was told that one cannot take out of a person's mind with reason what reason didn't put there in the first place. I heeded that, sporadically. The times I did not were wasted. Similarly, reason was declared to be something subjective which... defies definition!

Again, I wish you all the best. I sincerely hope your chronic illness will continue to translate into literary productivity for you. You have a genuine talent which must continue to be nurtured.

Stay the course, remain true to yourself, as you indubitably are.

I understand The Hub is, among other purposes, a place for writers to exchange notes and share experiences and offer guidance one to the other.

“Don’t comment here again unless you can give some factual back up related to my hub or this topic.”

Perhaps in some small way I can underscore the premise of your hub.

Born and raised in the church. Not overly religious. Middle-of-the road.

Product of a physically and emotionally abusive father to myself and my mother. A loner in grade school. Introverted.

Sought out another home and discovered it in the church. Once there I subconsciously began to idealize the church. Visiting minister placed hands on my shoulders and said, “One day you’re going to be a minister.”

Thus, the journey began. College and seminary. Not one of the golden boys in the denomination. Went against the grain. Theologically liberal for my time.

Married. Two children. Sold my soul to the church, not “the company store.” Became a good example of, “The cobbler’s children go without shoes.”

Every church I served, striving to lift it from mediocrity and stuffy conservatism, beat me up. Elders cursed me. I came to realize the truth of the repeated statement: “Some of the meanest people I’ve ever met are in church.”

Health began to deteriorate. Began medications for depression and physical health problems related to serving the church and some semblance of God’s people.

Remembering resenting a father became paralleled with being resented as a father. Left the church. Haven’t darkened the doors for nearly five yearas.

Want to think two things. (1) “I didn’t leave the church, it left me.” (2) I have moved beyond the church.

Days are now spent, for the most part, wondering what I ever accomplishe