Why People Stop Coming To Church

Recently I came across this study by Thom Rainer on why Church members are participating in the gathering of the church less than they previously have.

Here are his findings:

THEY ARE MORE MOBILE. As people are more mobile, they have more places to be and demands to meet.

THEY ARE MORE AFFLUENT. As people have more wealth, they can provide more options for themselves.

THEY HAVE MORE OPTIONS. See above.

THEY CONSIDER CHURCH OPTIONAL. As other options increase, church participation becomes just another option. Besides the church can “outdo” what others offer.

THEY ARE NOT ACTIVE IN A SMALL GROUP. People who attend a small group are more likely to be engaged in the larger life of the church. Those who don’t, aren’t.

THEY HAVE NOT BEEN CHALLENGED. The church has dropped the bar instead of raising the level of expectations. People will inevitably fall to your lower level of expectation.

As I have taken time to think over this list there appeared to me to be a common thread (or three):

  • Either Christians have come to accept that Jesus does not value devotion and commitment to his Bride;
  • Or these members are choosing to reject Christ’s Bride (which can’t be taken will by the groom) by not valuing her as he does;
  • Or these members never made a real commitment to follow and serve Christ in the first place.

I reached that conclusion for this reason. Every reason for people attending church less regularly has to do with a decision to be a disciple with a lower level of commitment, a level at which being a part of the bride of Christ gets squeezed out  by other interests and engagements. What level does your commitment to Christ’s Bride settle? You can’t be more committed to Him than you are His Bride.

The church isn’t perfect, but it is the Bride of Christ.