These might be some of the top four reasons that people are leaving churches.
We know that God resists or is opposed to the proud (James 4:6), but so are people. How hard is it to talk to someone who’s talking all about themselves? Why is it that our society has become so me-centered or self-focused. But honestly, I have to ask myself that same question. What about you? Why not try to be slow to speak and quick to hear. God gave us two ears and one mouth, and I wonder if He wasn’t trying to tell us something like you ought to listen twice as much as you speak. If people see it’s all about them, then they’re not going to stick around for long.
Having relatives in the sheep business, they say that sheep are one of the least intelligent animals there are. They will stay in one place and eat down to the roots and destroy the fields unless the shepherd keeps moving them to other pastures. When the shepherd tends the flock for the wrong reason and doesn’t adequately study for his Sunday messages, then he is going to feed them only an appetizer at church and they’ll go away hungry. He is cheating the members. When members are not being properly fed the Word of God with verse-by-verse preaching, then they either have to go to another church or simply starve to death.
One of the first churches I attended was one that said we can’t eat this or we can’t play cards or we can’t … just fill in the blank. It was like the Pharisees were alive and well and living right here. When I started hearing that I needed to put aside a tithe called the first tithe and then a second and a third, it was time for me to leave. This church was trapped in legalism and observed many of the laws that were given by Moses specifically to Israel. When we are weighing people down with unnecessary rules and regulations not found in the New Covenant, then people are certainly going to leave that church eventually.
Lack of Love
Some churches I have been to have embraced me immediately, even though I was a stranger. But a few other churches that I’ve visited while traveling kept their distance. They looked at me as if to say, “Who is that? Why is he here?” I couldn’t really get comfortable with them because they weren’t comfortable with me being there. Only one person came up to me during services, and it was a very old lady who greeted me and introduced herself and even sat next to me. Where there is no love, there is no fellowship and relationship with one another. Why would anyone want to stick around for that?
Perhaps if I could add a fifth reason, it would be the most important of all. If churches are not Christ-centered, Word-elevating, and biblically sound, then it becomes a matter of “me-ology” and not theology (the study of God). People may be leaving the church because they’ve discovered that Jesus left long ago.