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3 BIG Reasons People Leave Your Church

Why do you think people leave your church?

Why do you think people leave churches in general?

We’ve read reasons (and I’ve written about these too) like:

“I just didn’t get anything out of the messages.”

“The church let me down in my time of need.”

“My kids didn’t feel like the student ministry was working for them.”

“The worship music wasn’t the style I like and it was too loud.”

“The pastor seemed too busy for me.”

Candidly, comments like these come from churched people who at some point might consider looking beyond their own wants and desires and begin to invest in the lives of others.

Don’t get me wrong. Churches do let Christians down, and you and I need to do our best for those who call our churches home.

But people who don’t go to church much (or at all) typically don’t make those kinds of comments. People who are far from God or disenfranchised from the church aren’t picky.

In fact, they want to know what we stand for and love bold leadership. They come hungry, or hurting, or hoping. Maybe a friend nagged them for months, and they finally came.

They aren’t worried about masterful communication of the message. They are wondering if the whole thing will be weird or if the people are strange, or if they’ll be embarrassed.

When it comes to people who are not highly churched, I think three big reasons they leave (or don’t come back) are:

1. Apologetic Expressions.

At 12Stone®Church, we get many emails weekly from people who are considering whether or not they will come, and from first-time guests who have attended. They want to know what we believe, if they will be accepted, and they test us about our resolve.

Not everyone will come to our church or yours, but those who come don’t want soft answers or apologies. They are looking for people who really believe what they are selling.

They want bold leadership. They want to know if we’re the real deal and if we’ll drink our own kool-aid!

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Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.