Three Part series: Why People Change Churches, Why people come Back to Church, What makes People Drop out of Church
# 1 Why People Change Churches
To begin a very serious but common practice in churches it would probably do us well to understand the humor in it all. I love the story of the man who was stranded on a deserted island. He had been there for years when one day a boat came and rescued him. While surveying the way he had managed to stay alive and what he had built with his own hands the Captain noticed his thatch hut house and he said he built that first. What is that other building and he said well that is my church I attend. Really the Captain said , so what is that other building? He said oh that is the church I once attended until I got mad and left. The reasons people leave a lot of churches is about as relevant as that humorous story. This column does not allow us the time or space to mention all the reasons people change churches. I have heard my fair share of the whys people leave and to be totally honest over 31 years of being a pastor I have never had someone leave because the Pastor or church was liberal Theologically or corrupt in it’s preaching. I have had everything from not liking me the preacher to someone didn’t speak to me. Not liking the Pastor or someone not speaking to you is somewhat serious but Pastors are not perfect and neither or people and neither is the one doing the leaving. I have more admiration for people that don’t fit into the statistic that one in six people change churches each year than I do for the person that ups and jumps to anther church only to find it has many of the same problems just different that the ones they just left the other church to avoid.
People change churches and almost always try to put a spiritual twist on the whole situation to make it sound as though they are in touch with God somehow more greater than anyone else and they have to move or be judged. They don’t like the music, they don’t like change, they don’t like the building or they don’t like the fact the church is growing. Believe it or not the number one reason people have left a church I have been the pastor of is they didn’t want to be in a big church. Our church had grown and it was getting to big for them. Tat is strange when in Acts the Bible states the Lord added daily those that were being saved to the church and on one day over 3000 joined the church. Talk about losing your identity. I have never heard anyone say, this is the church where I attend and I am going to make it the best church it can be and get involved in the church to make it better instead of complaining. To find something wrong in a church is not difficult. We have our struggles and the obvious answer might be well just let the ones go that want to leave and they won’t cause a problem anymore. I don’t believe that is what pleases the Lord. People have left a church I have been the Pastor of because they didn’t want to borrow money and be a part of a larger church only to go down the road and join a church that has a bigger building some else has paid for and they gloat the church is debt free. They just got in on the sweetheart of a deal. Talk about have your cake and eat it too.
Sometimes there are situations where people could justifiably change churches. Immorality, unethicalness and the like but still people don’t Have to leave. God may be calling that church to fast and pray and become the church and come out stronger than before. Be careful before you leave a church for another one, I have always found God is trying to teach me something and He is trying to get my attention most of the time, because Pastors sometimes want to change churches too. You aren’t the only one. Surely there is a church somewhere who will appreciate me.
We have way to many casualties of battle and the world is looking at us and saying if this is what church is like I want nothing to do with it. The only ones who can change that are you and me.