Many of the unchurched are people who at one point had a vibrant relationship with the Lord. If that’s the case, why have the unchurched stopped attending?
Some of the reasons might surprise you. It’s easy to write them off as non-believers, but many still study the Bible daily and consider themselves Christians.
Knowing why they no longer attend a church could help you to better reach them and help rediscover the power of community.
Life Is Simply Too Chaotic
Americans are busier than they’ve ever been. They’re more stressed and tired. They work longer hours. Often times, the main reason the unchurched stopped attending church is that they’re too exhausted. Instead of going to church, they take a few hours to rest and enjoy time with their family.
According to 20 Something Finance, Americans have less vacation time and the United States doesn’t have a maximum set for hours worked per week. This has led to long work weeks and little family time. So, when the unchurched get a free moment, they just want to spend quality time together with their loved ones.
Horrible Past Experiences
Sadly, all churches aren’t created equal. Some may even make members question their faith due to questionable practices. When someone’s attended a church where the leadership wasn’t exactly faithful or they were treated badly by other members, their entire view of all churches is skewed.
All it takes is one bad experience to turn someone off from church for years. It’s not until someone they trust convinces them to try again that they find a new home church.
Friends Moved Away
Many people enjoy attending church to spend more time with their friends. As busy as they are, it’s the perfect time to not only worship, but enjoy the companionship of friends. When a friend moves or passes away, it’s heartbreaking for them to go back to church. While they may have other friends, they miss their best friend(s). Going to church just makes them feel more alone.
Changes In Leadership
It’s not uncommon for members to leave when there is a change in leadership. For those who struggled to find the right church to begin with, new leaders may make changes that ruin their experience. This means instead of just finding a new church, they just stop attending completely.
It’s important to remember that even great leadership can lead to this result. It’s not always leadership that’s the problem, but members who are resistant to change.
No Engagement Outside Of Church
Some of the unchurched stopped attending because they didn’t feel like any churches they attended engaged them outside of weekly services. This could mean there wasn’t enough community involvement or volunteer opportunities. It could also mean the church wasn’t active on social media or the church’s website.
Many people crave that sense of community all week long. Simply seeing and interacting with Facebook posts daily is enough to make them feel the church truly cares about them.
Their Faith Changed
A negative experience in someone’s life may make the faith change. For instance, someone who loses a spouse to cancer may blame God and refuse to worship. While some stop believing, others are too angry to want to step into a church until they’ve had time to cope with their loss.
Any major trauma in someone’s life can be a reason they turn away from the church. While it brings others closer, it’s important to respect someone as they try to understand God’s reasons for what happened to them. In cases like this, try to have members or leaders contact them from time to time just to ensure they’re okay. Remember, everyone has a crisis of faith at some point in their life.
They Have Their Own Worship Group
Many of the unchurched stopped attending because they found alternate ways to worship. Whether it’s the hours or their own schedule or just a dislike for traditional church, the unchurched may still worship, but just not at church. They may have friends and family that they meet with to discuss their faith.
Others turn to podcasts, TV broadcasts, online sermons and more. They may read blog posts and follow churches on social media. They still worship, but they don’t have a church to call home.
Do you want ways to better connect with the unchurched? Ensure you have a church website that gives them ways to worship even if they never walk through your doors.