WHY DID YOU LEAVE?
The following results from a few years ago are of a survey taken of those who had stopped attending church. The respondents were from various denominations. Although there are many ways to interpret such responses, I think what we can learn from them can be helpful to us because they tell us something about those who leave and those of us who remain.
Why do people leave the church?
59% said it was due to changes in life situations
19% said they got too busy to attend;
17% said family/home responsibilities prevented church attendance
Other reasons were moving too far from meeting place, work situations, divorce/separation
37% said it was disenchantment with the preacher/church
Specific details included the behavior of church members:
17% said the members seemed hypocritical or judgmental of others
12% said the church was run by a clique that discouraged involvement
Of all respondents, 80% indicated they did not have a strong belief in God
14% said the church wasn’t helping them to grow spiritually
14% said they had stopped believing in organized religion
Of those who left, 16% said no one contacted them after they left and 16% said nobody seemed to care that they had left.
In Romans 14:10-12, Paul reminds us that each of us will appear before the judgment seat of God and give an account of our self to God. Pointing the finger of blame to others will be of no benefit, we are accountable for our own life.
However, we are also commanded to bear one another’s burdens; the spiritual helping those who have fallen and thus fulfilling the law of Christ. We do this even with the understanding that we each will have to bear his own load (Gal. 6:1-5).
Unfortunately, in our spiritual struggles we may think no one cares and no one helps. God has promised that we are never alone when we remain in fellowship with Him (Heb. 13:5-6; Josh. 1:5). “I am with you always…” (Matt. 28:20).
We are our brothers’ keepers. We must always be reaching out to one another for help and support and to be a help and support. Even though some actually resent their brethren inserting themselves into their lives when they are drifting away, we should not be deterred from throwing out the “life line” to them.
Throughout the ages, many have left the Lord (for a myriad of reasons), may we all work diligently to ensure that we are not a contributing factor in their reasoning for leaving.