A Big Reason Why People Quit Church
By David J. Stewart | November 2017
Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
There are numerous reasons why people quit going to church. Usually the church blames the person who left, but from my perspective, the church is usually to blame. To get right to the point, people leave a church because they don't feel loved. I know firsthand that lonely feeling of visiting a church, and they make you feel like they couldn't care less if you're there or not. It's like they expect you to be there, because it is biblical, and that's the end of the story. Well, life doesn't work that way.
Yes, it is biblical that every believer ought to faithfully be a part of a local New Testament church. Look at our text passage of Scripture from Hebrews 10:25b, which says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.” By the way, the reference to “as the manner of some is,” refers to unsaved people, not backslidden or baby believers. Hebrews 10:26, “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” Some false prophets say that this Scripture means salvation can be lost. No, it means that if you reject Jesus as your personal Savior, there is no other way to be saved. Notice the mention to “the knowledge of the truth.” This refers to THE GOSPEL, by which we are saved, to them that believe (Romans 1:16). The Bible doesn't say “if we sin wilfully after we receive the gift of eternal life.” No, it says, “if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth.” So if you reject the Gospel (i.e., the Good News of Christ crucified, buried and risen), there remains no other sacrifice for your sins, and no other way to be redeemed.
The Holy Bible teaches that every believer needs to be in a local church. The Bible does not say to be there three times a week. I've heard preachers say, “Three to thrive!” That is, being in church Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. Yet, if going to church is that critical, then why don't churches have Wednesday noon services for working men? Most men don't have enough seniority to work dayshift, and therefore, cannot attend Wednesday night Bible studies at church. Yet, pastors berate their congregations, making them feel guilty for skipping church. I think many churches ought to offer more services than just three times a week. And a pastor ought to let his people know that they don't have to be at all the services to be right with God. The great preacher, Pastor Dwight L. Moody (called “Crazy Moody” by the ungodly world) had services seven days a week, two services per night, because there were simply too many people breaking down the doors to hear God's man preach. Boy, we need some of that today!!! We've become too mechanical in God's work, playing church, going through the motions. The world is dying for something real, for churches that break the mold. We need pastors who think outside the box of dead Christendom.
The reason why many people and families stop coming to church is because they feel unwanted. I attended a local Baptist church one time on Guam, back in 2009. My life was in shambles, devastated after a divorce I didn't want in 2006. My life is still in shambles, and I am often lonely. I am looking for a wife, and praying, and in the Lord's time I hope to remarry. I remember sitting in back of the church and often crying during the congregational singing and special music, with a broken heart. I have always been a quiet person, keeping to myself, which is my personality (which is why it is hard for me to find a wife). No one reached out to me. The church uses the modern Bibles. They have since officially removed the name “Baptist” from their church. But when I was visiting faithfully for two months in 2009, no one befriended me. I remember the senior pastor saying one day from the pulpit, “Some of you are like big teenagers, you expect us to come up to you and befriend you, but you need to open up and talk to us.” I couldn't believe that he said that. It was a short time afterwards that I left and never went back, not because I was disgruntled, but because I simply didn't feel like anyone cared, that no one loved me there, and I felt like a misfit. I was hurting and at the bottom of life.
You know, that senior pastor is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. He also has a degree in psychology, go figure. And yet he, and I say this kindly, was so shallow that he couldn't even reach out to someone with a broken heart who was a loner. I am indeed like a big teenager, and I admit it, and there's nothing wrong with that. That's why I often wear my cap backwards (or maybe my head is on backwards...lol). I still feel like I'm 15 years old in my heart, and I like that. Brother Hyles teaches in his books that we ought to be a child, adolescent, adult. I like ice cream! I spent over $150 the other day for everything to bake Christmas cookies! I bought a dozen bottles of sprinkles, all the different color decorative icing, cookie cutter molds, four bags of sugar-cookie mix, and five packages of refrigerated cookie mix. I bought cinnamon candies for the eyes for my snowman cookies, and I'm going bake cookies! I overhead the pastor's wife (at a local Baptist church I am attending now), tell a group of small boys a couple months ago: “Men don't bake cookies!” She didn't know I was planning on baking cookies, and I didn't know it either at the time, but I AM GOING TO BAKE COOKIES! I say truthfully... MEN DO BAKE COOKIES! I am not married, so if I don't bake cookies, who will? I can't wait to give her some of my cookies...lol. I am going to decorate and bake lots of tasty cookies for OTHERS!
Nobody Wants To Be Where They Don't Feel Wanted
It is tragic that any person could ever feel unloved in a church. I once heard Evangelist Les Ollila make the following beautiful statement...
“Church is a place where people should be able to hurt out loud. And I should be there to put my arms around those who are willing to hurt out loud.” —Evangelist Les Ollila, from the MP3 sermon, “The Judgment Seat Of Christ.”
Sadly, the local Bob Jones University camp down the street from me on Guam violate this truth 100%. Nobody was hurting in 2013-2014 as much as me in their local Baptist church (which I attended for a year), yet they kicked me out over my rightful stand for the King James Bible (and my faithful stand against the Alexandrian perversions). The senior pastor is a graduate of Northland Baptist Bible College (now thankfully defunct). The school was founded by Dr. Les Ollila. Beware of Confusing Churches! I have nothing personal against Dr. Ollila, and have learned some great truths from him (such as the quote I just shared with you), but there is much HYPOCRISY in the Northland Baptist Bible College and Bob Jones University camp. THEY TALK THE TALK, BUT THEY DON'T WALK THE WALK!!! I've never seen such ingratitude, grudge holding, shallowness, lack of genuine concern, phony love, apostasy and horrible indifference toward truth, as I have seen firsthand from the Northland Baptist Bible College and Bob Jones University camps.
Dr. Ollila is 100% correct that church should be a place where people can hurt out loud, and believers ought to embrace that person with God's unconditional love. Unfortunately, they don't do what they preach! I have openly voiced my soul's hurt in several e-mails to the independent Baptist church's pastors down the street from me, but they have cold-heartedly shunned me away, one assistant pastor even lying to me, telling me to go elsewhere, refusing to even pray with me, and setting their brother at nought. It is wickedness!!! God pity those ungodly reprobate pastors, who should all be fired. I can't wait until the Judgment Seat of Christ.
BATTLE OF THE AGES (MP3 by Dr. Hyles, “The King James Bible crowd is going to come out on top!”)
There is hardly any love today in churches. WHO CARES ANYWAY? (a precious MP3 sermon by Dr. Jack Hyles, “I sometimes wonder if there's any love left!”). I couldn't agree more! Does anyone love each other anymore in the churches? I'm used to pastors looking off at the wall while I shake their hand and look into their eyes. What is wrong with people? They are so shallow. I'm talking about Baptist pastors! I'm used to waving at a group of Christians and no one waves back. I'm used to giving my heart away to others, and I wonder in my soul if anyone cares about me. Psalms 142:4, “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.” I know exactly how David felt. I have even reached out to local Christians, just to be a part of a church family, but they have turned me away in their selfish wickedness. If they were true men of God, they would have reached out to me, or had someone else reach out to me. They couldn't care less!
150,000 People Quit Church Every Week In The United States (I honestly cannot blame them!)
I fully understand what the apostle Paul felt when he said in 2nd Corinthians 12:15, “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” Paul said that it was his joy to sacrificially live for his Christian brethren; but he also saw that it was a one way street, where he had to rob other churches, taking money that they ought not had to give, because of the stingy church at Corinth, who didn't meet his basic needs. 2nd Corinthians 11:8-9, “I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.” I never want to be a burden to any church. Like Paul, I want to be a blessing, not a burden. The churches are burdened enough nowadays.
All I have ever wanted to do is help others, sharing the truth through fundamental sermons, books and King James Bibles. And yet for this noble act I have been made the enemy, scolded, called “a cult,” despised, shunned and now ostracized since 2014 by a local independent Baptist church on Guam. These are Northland Baptist Bible College and Bob Jones University graduates. The whole lot of them disgust me. THEY TALK THE TALK, BUT THEY DON'T WALK THE WALK!!!
Many people leave a church because they don't feel wanted or loved, and even more wicked is when churches refuse to even embrace those who are reaching out to them for help, simply wanting to be loved and have a church family. This is fake Christendom! Shame on the Northland Baptist Bible College and Bob Jones University crowd! If nothing else, I hope that my pain of soul will comfort and encourage others, who have also been hurt by uncaring churches, shallow churchgoers, bad pastors in these perilous and apostate times.
The Inspired Word of God is Our Only Authority
I once heard a Baptist pastor talking about the “authority of the Church.” That is heresy! My friend, the church is NOT our authority. The Word of God is the believer's final and ONLY authority. You see, a wimpy milquetoast pastor has to bolster himself as an “authority” (since he is the pastor of the church), but no pastor ought to be viewed as an authority. Roman Catholics view the church as an authority. Jesus is the Head of the Church, Who is the Word of God (Revelation 19:13). When the Bible speaks about obeying them who have the rule over you, it refers to heeding godly biblical counsel, and nothing more.
This teaching has been greatly abused in the churches. Many women have filed for divorce, by heeding ungodly advice from a bad pastor. Our ONLY loyalty ought to be for the inspired Word of God. If your pastor gives you unbiblical advice, you are a fool to heed his advice. Pastors are flawed and sinful men, not inspired by God. Pastors are an authority only in the sense that they are shepherds over GOD'S FLOCK. Jesus didn't tell Peter to feed Peter's sheep. No, Jesus called them “my sheep” (John 21:17). It is God's flock.
A pastor is a shepherd. A shepherd leads God's flock, he does not drive it. Pastors are not cattle-herders! The Bible refers to the pastor as a “shepherd,” and Jesus as The Great Shepherd. We as believers are His sheep. We hear the Shepherd's voice, which is the Word of God! Satan's voice is heard in the modern Alexandrian Bible perversions. Do you want to know something interesting? If a church uses any other Bible than only the King James Bible, in time you'll end up with three dozen Bible versions in that church. How does that happen? It is because once you bring in and allow one perversion of the Scriptures, you've set a precedent to bring them all in. Once you take that first drink of alcohol (booze), you've opened the door to the entire caboodle! This is why the Devil tries to get young people to fornicate at an early age, because then he has destroyed your entire life in every aspect (loss of innocence, premarital sex, a bastard child, loss of virtue, guilt, abortion, unfaithfulness, adultery, divorce, depression, a miserable life). There's a lot to be said about abstinence, about not allowing something wrong to happen for the first time. You can't take two drinks if you don't take the first.
Many people, when they have already decided in their heart to do what they want to do, will seek multiple pastors who agree with their agenda. There are literally millions of pastors worldwide! So you can always find umpteen people who will agree with and support whatever it is that you have already decided in your heart to do. That is the sinful human nature. Ultimately, in eternity God will hold us accountable for our own decisions, and we won't be allowed to point fingers at someone else to blame, like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. We always have no one to blame, but our self, for the personal choices that we make throughout life. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent, but God still punished Adam and Eve for their own decisions. There was no escape! And neither will there be an escape for anyone else on Judgment Day!
Loving God's Word Keeps Us From Spiritual Ruin
I get discouraged often. We all get our feelings hurt by people at times. Many people misunderstand Psalms 119:165, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” To understand this Scripture you need to understand that we CHOOSE what offends us. Forgiveness is a choice. Happiness is a choice. I choose to be happy. I choose to forgive. And I choose not to let the hurtful things which people say and do to me, cause me to stumble. The Bible is teaching us that if we love the Word of God, nothing can cause us to stumble in our Christian walk. The word “offend” here in Hebrew is mikshôl mikshôl and means “a stumblingblock.” It means that nothing can cause you to fall and ruin your Christian testimony if you love God's Word. ...
Psalms 1:1-4, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”
The man who anchors himself to the inspired Word of God (King James Bible) is invincible! Men may murder you, torture and imprison you, but they cannot touch your soul. That's why the apostle Paul could sing unto the Lord while rotting in prison and pen the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon while in prison.
People hurt other people. Oftentimes we don't mean to hurt others, but we still do, because we each think differently. Sometimes our differences cause conflicts. Ultimately, all wars are caused by a difference of opinion! Sometimes people make us angry—when they hurt us or a loved one, or embarrass us, or cheat us, or make us feel unloved or unwanted, or any one of a hundred things—but God warns us against letting that wrath go unchecked. The Scriptures teach us to “GIVE PLACE UNTO WRATH.” What does that mean? It means to have a plan to deal with anger, instead of letting it destroy us. God gives us that simple plan—which is to feed our enemy if he is hungry, love him with God's unconditional love, give him a drink if he is thirsty, cloth him if he is naked, pray for him and be kind toward him, her or them...
Romans 12:18-21, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
The only time the Christian life becomes hard is if you don't love God. I love God. I love the internet ministry that God has entrusted to me. I love helping others for Christ. But I often get discouraged by the indifference, unkindness, ingratitude, selfishness and coldness or fellow professed Christians. Do we really care about each other? Sadly, no, most of the time Christians don't. The attitude of an entire church congregation directly reflects the attitude of their pastor. If the people don't care, it is because their pastor doesn't care! People will care about what their pastor cares about, and they won't rise above his spirituality; and if they do, they'll leave and look for a better church. God sees the crying heart. Just as God heard Abel's blood cry out from the ground, and God heard the cry that came out of Sodom, God also hears the cry of hurting souls like mine, who have been ostracized by other professed Christians, because I have faithfully stood for THE TRUTH and against the Alexandrian PERversions. The Bob Jones University crowd must be rebuked!!!
So be careful how you treat other people who visit your church, or you may be the very reason why they never come back again. All it takes is one unkind person to cause someone to never step foot into another church. You may be the reason why they never get saved and go to Hell forever. Little things are so important!!! And if you are unwelcoming toward other people who come to church, thinking that they are supposed to come anyway because God commanded them to, you're an idiot! Really, you've got a big problem. It doesn't matter how right or wrong it is to attend church, the truth is that people will leave and never come back, unless they feel loved and wanted by someone at church, particularly the pastor. I've been in Baptist churches, where I NEVER heard the pastor say, “I'm so glad you're here!” I cannot help but wonder if such a pastor even cared if I showed up or not. I sure didn't feel wanted. The pastor's wife was cold, snobby and never said, “hello.” Is it any wonder why such a such never grows above 30 members?
If you don't get anything else out of this article, learn to make people feel like you care. You may not even care, but at least you can pretend like you care, and PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU CARE. Ironically, there are people who do care, but PEOPLE DO NOT FEEL LIKE THEY CARE, because they don't express it. So it is a matter of perception. So if you care at all, even though you may not really care deep in your heart, just pretend that you care for the Lord's sake, because someone's life may be greatly affected by it. One kind word will do more to help a hurting soul than 1,000 sermons. The great preacher Gipsy Smith (1860-1947) said that, and he is absolutely correct! (When Gipsy Smith was 78 years old, he married a 26 year old woman. His 50 year old son performed the wedding. Interesting.) The world is dying to be loved. If we don't let God love others through us as believers, especially our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, then they won't be loved. It all boils down to one word... CARING. I care, which is why it frustrates me so much, when pastors and Bible college graduates don't care. What a sad commentary on our churches today!
Souls Are Dying!
Precious Christian Testimonies
How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Hank Lindstrom, 1940-2008)
of the child of God is that he loves everybody!”
(a quote from Pastor Jack Hyles' classic MP3 sermon, “FORGIVENESS”)
Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!