According to this recent article, a Pew Research study (sounds like a pun in this context) has revealed four primary reasons why people change churches:
- Sermon quality
- Welcoming environment/people
- Style of worship
In my opinion, one reason is hopeful, one is expected, one is typical and one is practical.
The author of the post (who, along with his wife, serve as “lead pastors”) comes to some conclusions that I believe are quite honest. He says, “The translation is clear – Americans treat church like a product to consume instead of as a family to belong. When we treat church like a product, we consume until our needs are no longer met. … Too often people leave a church because of disagreement, not getting their way, or because the sermons are no longer deep enough. Often when we dig into the reason the sermons are not deep enough, it ultimately goes back to the person being offended or not having their faulty theologies endorsed from the pulpit.”
The author goes on to offer his thoughts on when it is “OK” to quit church … five of them to be exact (to be fair, I believe the author intends for the word “church” to be equated with “congregation”):
- It’s OK to leave if God calls us to leave
- It’s OK to leave for family and marriage
- It’s OK to leave a church if you have moved too far away to conveniently drive to your church
- It’s OK to leave if you cannot follow the church’s leadership
- It’s OK to leave if heresy is being preached.
In my opinion, one reason is questionable, one is expected, one is practical, one is typical and one is hopeful. Similar to my opinion before, but in a different order.
Articles like these are interesting to me, not because I believe they should validate or negate the church’s direction in regards to mission, purpose or correction, but rather because it helps us to understand the perspectives that are being shared with the “general church public.” Such knowledge gives us the chance and opportunity to be better equipped when it comes to presenting the truth of God in a 2 Timothy 4:2 and a 1 Peter 3:15 sort of way.