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10 Things That Ain’t Church (Thoughts on Decreased Church Attendance)

Sure, there are popular bloggers, authors and podcasters who might claim it does, but get out onto the streets and have a conversation with many people who used to go to church that don’t anymore, and you’ll meet a lot of people whose faith hasn’t grown.

If anything, it’s diminished.


So where does this leave us?

In an age where everyone is looking for alternatives to gathering together, here are 10 things that—helpful as they may be in some respect—aren’t church.

If it gets a bit feisty in the points below, just know it’s because I’m challenging the gravitational pull I feel sometimes in me and I see all the time around me.

So here goes. Here are 10 things that still ain’t church, and how they relate to decreased church attendance.


Watching church online has exploded in the last decade.

We have an online campus at our church, which I love, because for many people it’s a step into church…but for too many people church online is a step out of church.

It’s a step toward lower devotion, not greater devotion. And to less mission, not deeper mission.

Here’s a little exercise I want to propose. If you’re watching online because it’s easier (or honestly, you’re just lazy), get yourself into a real human community.

Yes, a real church is going to be worse than your online experience. You will have to sit next to people you don’t like and who aren’t like you.

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.