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Christian Life

Thinking of Leaving Your Church? Then You Need to Read This!

Every Sunday morning it’s the same old thing. You drag yourself out of bed, try to figure out something cute and appropriate to put on, and head out the door for church. That’s when a little voice whispers in your ear, “Is this really worth it?” or “It’s my only day to sleep in.” Or maybe you hear, “When I turn 18, maybe I’ll take a break from church for a while. After all, I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian, right?”

A recent study by the Barna research group showed that 59% of young Christians will permanently leave the church or stay away for an extended period of time after the age of 15. If you give in to the voice that wants you to sleep in or quit making church a priority, you’ll be added to that number—and that’s not good for your faith or for the rest of us who need you to be part of us. Here are 5 bad reasons to leave your church:

1. You think you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. While that is technically true, it’s not a good enough reason to leave your place of worship. Being a Christian in this culture is tough, and church offers you the opportunity for fellowship, instruction in the faith, prayer and worship. If you were a car, going to church would be like getting a full tune-up every week absolutely free! To stay close to Christ, you need to learn more about God’s Word, pray, spend time in worship and surround yourself with others who believe in Jesus too. What better one-stop shop than your home church?

2. You don’t like the music. Okay, so this is a big argument in the church today. Hymns or contemporary music? Organ music or a full band? Rock or rap? Even if the songs your church chooses would never make it on your Spotify or Pandora lists, that’s not a good enough reason to bail. If you are plugged into ministry, learning and growing, and surrounded with faith-filled friends, music should not be the tipping point that sends you running for the door. Ask God to give you a new appreciation for the lyrics of the songs and use the worship time to focus on Him.

3. You can’t find anybody new to crush on. Now this reason might sound ridiculous, but Christian teens who spend lots of time together at church and youth group events tend to fall in and out of “like.” A lot. Pretty soon, it can seem like you or one of your friends has had a crush at one time or another on every guy in the group. Remember, you’re not at church to find a boyfriend–you’re at church to love on Jesus and to let Him love on you!

4. You’re not having enough fun. Sure, some churches have video games, big screens and popular bands. And maybe yours doesn’t. Or maybe you know churches who take their teens to a foreign country every summer on missions, and your church only goes to Kentucky. If church has become boring to you, re-evaluate rather than run.

What is your relationship with Jesus like right now? Have you been drifting away from your walk with Him? Are you reading your Bible, spending time daily in prayer, and making sure you try new ministries, groups and classes? If you’re not growing in your faith, make an appointment with your youth pastor, reverend or priest and ask for ideas to make church exciting. Life with God is an adventure. If your faith is just ho-hum, try spending more time at church, not less.        

5. You have doubts about your faith. Doubts are natural. Most people have them. You’re almost an adult now, and you need to sort out what you believe for yourself rather than ride the coattails of what you’ve been taught. Times of doubt are the best time to press in and keep going to church. Find members who have believed for decades, and ask your hard questions. Satan loves to get young Christians isolated from others who believe. It’s much easier for him to convince you that you don’t need church or Jesus when there’s no one around you to remind you that you do.

Next Sunday morning when the alarm goes off, ask God to give you a new enthusiasm for church, to show you fresh ways to connect and to reveal more of Himself to you. You are a precious, important part of the body of Christ. We need you. I love what my friend Mark Hall, a youth pastor and lead singer of Casting Crowns says: “God, help us stop shopping for the church we WANT and start being the church the world NEEDS.”

Have you ever thought about leaving your church? Did you change your mind? Share your story in the comments below–we love hearing from you!

Image: Digital Vision | ThinkStock

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26 Comments

  1. USGIRL95

    Posted by USGIRL95 on May 1, 2015 at 23:16

    I remember going through painful times by no longer being supported by my church I grew up in”‘ . It started Jan 2012. The youth retreat was pretty bad”‘ My church friends my age group stopped talking to me”‘ My mom was treated badly”‘ the friend of hers a mother with a heart problem she ment a lot to my mom”‘ this godly woman was very understanding long suffering. I hung with this woman & family a lot

    I was very hurt & depressed after my old church”s pastor supported the incident I fell off the wagon I only had few friends my age group left”‘ I rember askingGod why??. My friend James godly young man”‘ God I defamely used him to helpme go through the tough times”‘ I was always crying constely coming home from church.

    It’s got so bad I became violent not saying it’s rite”‘ James listened to me

    My needs weren”t met the way they did things made a lot of people leave my old church Unrpented sin in their part”‘ I remember my friend James telling me April 2012 Jessica I “d leave that church three years ago in May left my old church but the scars were there”‘ The emolital issues were there I bout lost trust with God for a year’ I still struggle to forgive my old pastor the other pastor & wife”‘ I “ve scars still even bout three half years later basically my fault the behavior Its was through an email”‘ James was concerned of me falling away from God”‘ cause of my autism it’s difficult to keep friends or make friends”‘ or they “ll stop talking to me like I don”t exist That Jun Sept-Oct he hugged me”‘ it’s going to be alright I know this is rough for you I won”t leave your side”‘ Leave it in God”s hands!.

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by court24601 on March 13, 2015 at 11:01

    I’ve recently been thinking about leaving my church. There seems to be no freedom to openly worship. I know others just want to stand and praise God, but you feel so watched and judged if you even raise your hand. Also, my church is filled with older people and they just don’t want to change things and I think some change is necessary. I love hymns and contemporary, but the order and way we do worship seems off. I do love Sunday school and and our Sunday morning services are pretty good, but no one ever goes to the altar because they are either too scared or maybe it’s the the abundance plants that block the altar. There are also some of the business parts that I absolutely hate because people are always worried about the finances…more than they should be. We also lack in community outreach and mission work. I’m just tired of it feeling so uncomfortable and I don’t feel loved there like I did at another church I went to. Please, someone tell me their opinion or if they can relate or advice?

  3. Project Inspired

    Posted by Jazzy93 on March 13, 2015 at 00:04

    I have thought about leaving my church but the only reason was cause all my friends hates me I feel left of groups and people never invite me to parties or anything fun!!

  4. Project Inspired

    Posted by GymnastGirl97 on May 13, 2014 at 14:48

    My family and I left our old church of +20 years because it was turning into more of a “show” than a worship service, and they weren’t really using their money as wisely as they should have. I think there were more reasons, but my parents were reluctant to say more because they didn’t want to gossip about it I think. Now we have found a new church and I love it! It has a mix of contemporary and hymns, a wonderful church family, and many people who share our same values. While my parents aren’t big on contemporary music, we still like our church. I talked to a friend at my old church and she said they didn’t have any theme for VBS that year due to money cut backs.

  5. Dee

    Posted by Dee on April 27, 2014 at 18:54

    I don’t think any of these things ever really crossed my mind when I was considering leaving my church. The main thing was that I felt like people were taking advantage of my inability to say no without a really good excuse. I was doing so much that I quit feeling like I was really being blessed by church. I felt like I was going there, and I didn’t get to worship, I couldn’t listen to the sermon, I didn’t get to learn anything in Sunday school, and there wasn’t any small group or anything for me to be a part of.
    Then I was convicted that I was being kind of selfish. I’m still doing a lot, but I’m looking at it as a way to bless the church that blessed me for so long. And I guess I’m kinda excited to do that. And I’ve said no to a few things, too, which was difficult, but I think it’s best.

  6. Ldawg57

    Posted by Ldawg57 on April 27, 2014 at 15:14

    I’ve been thinking about changing churches for a while, but not for any of those reasons. My church is mostly older people (a LOT older). I feel like it’s time to move on and find a church with more young people that I can actually relate to and have more opportunities to get involved. Anyone else feel this way?

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by nicholeblue9 on April 27, 2014 at 11:57

    I left my church after graduating and moving away. I was only growing outside of church and the people were very toxic. The elders of the church had driven away 3 pastors in the 6 years I attended. I admit I have lost my faith in the concept of a church for awhile. A lot of people I once thought were great changed once I become a voting member in the church. It was just toxic to be around them. They even refused to pull my membership. I still love them but their ideals on being a christian and their values just don’t match up to mine. That is why I have not returned.

  8. atla_bee

    Posted by atla_bee on April 26, 2014 at 19:47

    These are great points – so true. I’ve struggled with some of these. Like the music, I couldn’t stand the music at my church. So I asked God to help me connect with Him during worship even though I didn’t like the songs being played. And He helped me develop a deeper relationship so that I found ways to connect and worship Him despite the songs. And now, I find myself liking the music. He’s changed my attitude about it. 🙂

  9. Project Inspired

    Posted by Surrealist on April 26, 2014 at 19:28

    I’m think about leaving my church, but not THE church. I just want to find another one.
    My church is very stuffy with no sense of community and no feeling of praise. They preach some things that I do not believe. I’m not being picky about that – for example, they preach that if you die before having been baptized, no matter how old you are, you will not go to Heaven. I do not believe that God does not hold dear to those unfortunate children who die before having reached an age of maturity and understanding.
    I hope those sounds like good reasons, because I truly believe they are. And actually, I think the music is a big deal. I need worship that I can relate to, that I can sing along to (no one knows the words to the songs my church’s songs), and that I can enjoy. That’s when I feel like I’m really praising Him.
    I go to a youth group at a different church and I’m seriously considering leaving my church for this one once I am older. Unfortunately this is a sore spot for my parents (who do not really go to church anyway) but I feel that this is best for my relationship with God.
    Any thoughts on my reasonings?

    • Nerdy_3000

      Posted by Nerdy_3000 on April 27, 2014 at 00:43

      @Surrealist Don’t leave your church because it is lacking faith because my church has always been like that you know like you’re describing your church but it’s a good thing to pray for your church to act that way. Reach out to your church and say I don’t like the way this place feels and help out within your Church’s community. As well as the preacher who preached about Baptism you know ask the person questions about it and tell that person, “I don’t believe to that and why is that?” Also it is your decision if you want to leave the church and find another one. You know if it makes you feel closer to God in that church stay there. Or ask God if he can lead you to a church that you may feel fulfilled and Praise his him with happiness and rejoicing his name.

      God Bless You!

    • NerdyChick334

      Posted by NerdyChick334 on April 27, 2014 at 00:34

      Those sound like good reasons to me. It sounds as if your current church is dead spiritually and I don’t think that’s good for your walk with Christ, especially as a young’un. You needn’t feel any guilt over leaving and finding a place that suits you if it will help your relationship with God. Good luck!

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by ivyandroses on April 26, 2014 at 21:57

      No baptizing no heaven?? Good heavens. I think that is a legitimate reason to leave. What about aborted children?? That is so sad. I would be fully behind you.
      A sense of praise and worship is definitely important, too. In my church (Catholic) the mass is THE highest form of worship to God. If you feel like you are going to a service that is not only contrary to your beliefs, but not helpful even outside of that…well, I think that it legitimate.
      I guess that I mean to say is, these do not sound frivolous, which is what the article is about. You have demonstrated several real and serious reasons why one might leave their church.

  10. jess.dotk

    Posted by jess.dotk on April 26, 2014 at 19:14

    There are legitimate reasons to leave a church and this was just focusing on making sure your heart is in the correct place before you make a quick call and leave a church. I currently go to two churches. The church I grew up in no longer has a youth group. It is me, my sister, and another boy who is 18. For that reason I go to another church where there is a youth group. As soon as I can drive I would like to be able to go to the other church. Not because of my friends (although some weeks I do feel that way and I have to reevaluate my heart.) but because I spiritually feel more fulfilled and excited for Christ. I come out of church feeling the same as I went in at the church I grew up in. No, my heart isnt always in the correct place but I do feel for me that this is a legit reasons. Great points to brings up! Sorry for rambling..

  11. youngal1

    Posted by youngal1 on April 26, 2014 at 18:22

    Hello Eurydice (and Everyone), I would agree with you that there are legitimate reasons to leave a church. I think a major one is if you disagree with the theology. I believe it was Paul who warned us to beware of false teachers. I have been encouraged to, and would encourage everyone else to not merely take what a pastor says as absolute truth. Also, if you feel unwelcome, although I wouldn’t recommend just leaving. I would recommend talking to first whoever is making you feel that way, and then if it isn’t resolved, to the pastor. After that, I might leave. If you don’t feel comfortable, you wont learn anything anyway. Just don’t make a decision in haste.

    That being said, I do believe that this article has merit because there are often times where people leave the church without completely understanding why or have a good reason. I would think that if you don’t understand what you don’t like about the church you are attending, then you may not be able to resolve it by just leaving. I think that this issue would follow you to any other church you go to. Also, you have to consider where the problem lies. If the problem lies with you, meaning that it is because you are distracted in some way or have a misconception, then you have to work to overcome it. I can be as simple as not wearing a watch if the pastor tends to be long winded, or finding a seat where you can’t see the cute boy. If the problem lies with someone else, then there may be cause to leave, but as I said before, try to talk to someone and find some resolution. For example, if you are in the situation where you don’t like the music, talk to the worship leader or pastor. My church offers two sunday services. The early service typically plays more traditional songs, whereas in the later service, there is more contemporary music. If the church is looking out for the people, then they will try to adapt to suit everyone.

  12. meljaeg

    Posted by meljaeg on April 26, 2014 at 17:09

    THAN you need to read this. #grammar

  13. Eurydice

    Posted by Eurydice on March 12, 2014 at 15:48

    I feel like this article dismisses the fact that there ARE legitimate reasons to leave a church. Some churches ARE toxic.

  14. Jhiosara

    Posted by Jhiosara on March 12, 2014 at 14:35

    My sister is dealing with that right now. And I feel sad because we used to enjoy going to the curch and I need her to walk this christian life together. 🙁 I think it’s frustrating because she does not want to listen my advices or talk with me about that.

  15. atla_bee

    Posted by atla_bee on March 12, 2014 at 07:14

    I’ve found the days I don’t want to go to church are the days where I need to the most.

  16. Project Inspired

    Posted by Art4Christ on March 11, 2014 at 16:37

    @Eurydice why?

  17. Eurydice

    Posted by Eurydice on March 9, 2014 at 19:52

    Leaving was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    • mkay77

      Posted by mkay77 on March 11, 2014 at 18:06

      I’m sorry if I sound nosy and feel free to ignore if you don’t wish to answer (I’m honestly just curious) but if you decide to have children, would you let them choose whether to go to church?

  18. Eurydice

    Posted by Eurydice on March 9, 2014 at 19:51

    Never going back.

  19. Mandi Pi

    Posted by Mandi Pi on March 9, 2014 at 14:11

    Hahahaha yeah, while it IS fictional, if you’ve ever read Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston, you know that #3 is a real possibility. XD (In that book, most of the characters are single and trying to find a spouse, so they use church as a place to do that…the girls even have an organization where they “church hop” and rate churches based on the guys there. XD It’s a great book lol). #3 just made me think of that. 😛

    • Celby

      Posted by Celby on March 9, 2014 at 20:18

      I kinda just stared at the screen and raised a bow when I saw #3 XD …you never know, people just might only go to church just to find a new crush ;D