Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 10 Things That Ain’t Church (Thoughts on Decreased Church Attendance)

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

Authentic mission has to go beyond you to someone else and embrace and include them.

Family devotions may be sincere and convenient, but they’re no substitute for the Kingdom of God.


Church shopping is one thing. But I’ve met a growing number of people who are doing what I can only call church surfing.

They may go to the 9 a.m. service at one church, and then sample the later service at another, and then they switch it up against next weekend, adding maybe a third church into the mix.

It’s like serial dating with no engagement, commitment or even investment.

Once again, it’s an expression of a consumer culture—take, but feel no obligation to give.

Of course, a significant life is rarely measured by what you consume. It’s measured by what you contribute.

Church surfing contributes almost nothing to the true mission of the church.


So let’s say you show up at the same church whenever you attend, but you sit in the back row, anonymously. You don’t engage, don’t serve, don’t invite, don’t join the mission. You just…sit.

That’s not much different than just consumption, except it’s analog, not digital.

It’s hard to build the future of the church on someone who consumes and never contributes. And it’s hard to build a meaningful, resilient life, when all you do is consume, not contribute.

So contribute. Serve. Invite. Give. Do community.

You’re called to be the church, not just attend one.

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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.