Dissatisfaction with Church

Last Monday morning I did not realize I would create so much interest with my pastoral burden. It seems that this burden is not one I carry alone.

In staff meeting last Tuesday, Chris Howell, our Adult Education and Family Minister, provided research LifeWay recently made public as to why people leave churches.

Here are the top ten reasons they found that people switch churches:

1. The church was not helping me to develop spiritually. (28%)
2. I did not feel engaged or involved in meaningful church work (20%)
3. Church members were judgmental of others (18%)
4. The pastor was not a good preacher (16%)
5. There were too many changes (16%)
6. Members seemed hypocritical (15%)
7. Church didn’t seem to be a place where God was at work (14%)
8. Church was run by a clique that discouraged involvement (14%)
9. The Pastor was judgmental of others (14%)
10. The Pastor seemed hypocritical (13%)

If you would like to read additional articles pertaining to this research, go to the Lifeway Research page.

So, what do you think of the top ten reasons?

I have a few observations.

First, although I do not think switching churches is a good thing, I am encouraged with the top two reasons people give for making the switch. This is positive because it shows a spiritual hunger on the part of some of those who want to make a change. Additionally, it is encouraging because these two reasons strike at the very core of CrossPoint’s genetic makeup. We believe every member is a minister, and we believe spiritual growth must be a priority. Thus, I think CrossPoint is poised to assist people looking for a change.

Next, reasons # 3, 6 & 9 should be stirring to our family of faith also because we are a WHOSOEVER church. WHOSOEVER churches are not judgmental or hypocritical. I pray we remain that way.

Of course, reason #7—church didn’t seem to be a place where God was at work—should embolden CrossPoint. Every week God does a new work through us. That should cause us to glorify Him more so that He will continue to choose to work through us.

Finally, reasons #4, 9 & 10 cause me consternation, because they rest directly on the pastor. That is why the longer I serve as your pastor the more daunted I am by the responsibility. I never want to be a hindrance to you or to anyone who chooses to worship with us. Moreover, I never want to be a hindrance to the Lord God Almighty. That is why I spend more time communicating and fellowshipping with God than I do with anyone else.

I have provided my observations, now I would like to hear yours. Let me know of what you think of these reasons people switch churches.


3 Responses to “Dissatisfaction with Church”

  1. 1 Bill Walker
    April 30, 2007 at 8:16 am

    I think that “church hopping” is a symptom of one of two things: 1) a hunger for something the person can’t quite define for himself, and therefore can’t quite satisfy it at their current (or any) church, or 2) their reason for belonging to a church is cultural or traditional and when they are challenged to grow and express their devotion to Jesus Christ, they feel the church is being “pushy” or “in my business” and they decide to change churches.

    I am friends with someone who attended CrossPoint on a fairly regular basis and has dropped off the radar screen. Their reason for no longer attending is a shopping list, but the two primary ones are 1) “I don’t think it is right for the church to place conditions on my joining” and 2) “the pastor is completely unrealistic to expect there to be no hurt feelings when xxxxxxx is sitting right over there and I know what they have done to me”.

    I am still friends with this person, and meet with them on a regular basis to try and help him define what he wants in a church. I don’t think we should change what we are doing because of him, but I do have some suggestions.

    I don’t think we should be in a rush to have people join our church. I think we should take some time and make sure they understand what we are all about, what our expectations are, and what it means to be continually growing in their spirituality. This could take the form of combining D101 – D401 into a 12 – 14 week class that all members must take prior to joining. It could take the form of D101 combined with a class on basic Christianity, Bible introduction, and membership class. I think this would reduce the number of new members we are seeing, but the ones who did join would be more committed. At the same time, we should actively encourage completion of the membership class, while at the same time allowing people to participate in our Bible Study classes and ministries (although not in a leadership role) prior to becoming members. There would no longer be as great a need to “purge the rolls” because those people being purged today, would no longer join in the first place in the future.

    There is a strong tradition of belonging to a church in the “Bible Belt” and some people feel put off when they are challenged to make their membership mean something other than social, political, or business connections. I believe that the church is where we should be challenged to become all that Christ has meant us to be. And if that means stepping on our toes every once in a while, then that is what it takes. I am pretty sure that my friend would not join a church that took this approach, but then, we wouldn’t have to purge him from the rolls in a couple of years either.

  2. 2 Tim
    May 1, 2007 at 8:05 pm


    You bring up some great points. I have a situation now in a bible study class that deals with hurt feeling or just “bad feelings’ and I am praying about how to handle this unique situation so that God will be most glorified in the lives of all concerned. I agree with your friend in some ways, because it is almost impossible to keep people from getting hurt feelings around a church. But, I do have some advice that might help your friend… I am going to paste the reasons you gave for his not coming to Crosspoint

    1) “I don’t think it is right for the church to place conditions on my joining” and

    2) “the pastor is completely unrealistic to expect there to be no hurt feelings when xxxxxxx is sitting right over there and I know what they have done to me”.

    Those “I’s” “Me’s” and “My’s” are probably the best clues to where he is in his walk… It’s all about him!!

    Pray with me that both of our situations will work out to honor God


  3. 3 Ryan
    May 2, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Wow,Tim, good word.

    Bill, once again, I like your candor.

    For those of you who do not know, Bill and I are good friends. He asked me last week if my statement about “candor” meant he should shut up. The obvious answer is no. It means that I like his openness and honesty.

    Even though your friend struggles with what is communicated at CrossPoint, I like what we are doing, because I beleive it is biblical.

    I think churches should place conidtions on joining because the Bible sure does. And, I think we should do everything in our power to work with and address hurt feelings because Jesus instructed us to do so.

    Until the Bible fades away, we will stay that course at CrossPoint. Remember the iota and dot sermon!

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