Discussing
Why People Leave the Church

Steven Koster

Smitty
April 29, 2009

Jesus is the meaning of my life.<br>Where an individual church may depart the Word, I can see departing the premises.<br>Those who depart Christ utterly may not have understood the meaning of life in the first place.

Jdolinski
April 29, 2009

Why do you equate leaving the church with leaving your faith? I am disenfranchised about church in general. I would love to leave where I am at but the alternatives are more bad politics. It is why I never intended on becoming a pastor. <br>The issue is that people and not pastors make the congregation. If the pastor is the only one keeping together the "faithful" and not everyones responsibility the the church will and has failed. It is more of a congregant issue then pastoral. <br>People have become as a rule less interested with genuine pietistic living and have turned towards social club Christianity. They desire nothing but connectedness. Just look at the ink spilled about the subject regarding unity and togetherness. <br>If all we did was focus on genuine personal revival and not "acting" like the church I know that the church would function better. The church has given out the rule book and it looks a lot like a social ethical book that will make us a better church/business entity. <br>Yes I am disenfranchised. I am tired of the church and I want out, but I am also a believer and know that i am supposed to submit, but sometimes I feel like I am submitting to a wet sponge.

John
April 29, 2009

Boy oh Boy! I just finished a book, which will be out in about four weeks and it talks just about this. You have two things in a church, the business of the church and the people of the church. You can either follow the business of the church and neglect the people and God by following the rules and regulations instead of the bible. There are those who will use the book of discipline over the bible to get what they think is what the church should be. Then there are the rest of us, who have had the opportunity to see that through the bible and what it teaches, we come closer to God and Christ Jeus. In turn they come closer to you and you realize that it's not the business of the church that counts, it's the people. I know that the church needs those who watch the finances and makes sure the church is clean and well kept. We have group organizers and many different ministries that cover many things in the church. The Pastor/Preacher or Priest believes that they need to be in the middle of it all or the ones who believe the business of the church comes first want them in the middle of it all. Let those who wish to do the business of the church do so. As for me I want everyone to know the hope I have in Jesus. I don't need scripture nor do I need the rules of the church to lead me to where I need to go. I follow Christ and I tell those around me, starting with my family and friends the hope, which leads to faith and love and kindness. Then I ask them to come along to come to church and to start a Sunday school class or join one. Then start a bible study class at home and bring others to know God and Jesus through the bible. I go to church and in fact preached last Sunday at a small church to help a friend. Go to church and give to one another the love which you receive from God. Go where you are comfortable and where you are loved and you love the ones who are there. Never stay where the business comes before God and never stay where you are not welcomed or comfortable. Love God and Christ Jesus and they will lead you to where you need to be. In God's Grace John

Hoebexl
April 29, 2009

It isn't the rules of the church, the structure of the church, the rituals of the church, the hierarchy of the church or any of the other rigmarole of the church that I need. I need the church because I need to see that this life I have in Christ is not about me. I have to figure out how to live in community with people who are different from me (in terms of culture, generation, race, etc.), who otherwise would be separated from me and whom I might never choose to have relationship with, but because Christ has torn down the wall of hostility between us I now not only tolerate but embrace.<br><br>I need a church experience with people who are not all exactly like me; who do not all think exactly like me; who do not have the same economic status as me; who do not read the same things I read; listen to the same music I listen to (demand the same worship experience I do).<br><br>I need a church that demands something of me - a church worthy of Jesus giving his life for; a church that is destined to be the spotless bride of Christ. And that same spotless bride, the New Jerusalem is the same church that infuriates us with its hypocrisy and inner conflicts and lack of compassion and sin and all the rest. But it is still the church.

Jdolinski
April 29, 2009

John,<br><br>I don't think that it is that easy. Maybe I am pessimistic, but I believe that there are very few churches out there that actually care more about the people then about the financial and social aspect of churches. It is how we have such flaky authors that produce "TOP SELLERS" with crap. I could name a few, but you know who they are. The church is in fact looking for genuine faith, that is why I believe that many are leaving and heading to Catholic church. There is a tradition and a reverence that is there that many other churches have lost. I don't believe that People leave Protestantism because they don't believe anymore, I think that they know that there is more too it then what we hear at the local church. <br><br>There is accountability. There is right/wrong! There is an ethical and moral stance in politics. <br><br>These things said I believe that maybe the answer comes in small home groups of 10 or 15 people. Together studying the word of God, but how do you keep out error? Well in the first century they had Apostles who were traveling "pastor" who would attend different meetings and help with issues of incorrect doctrine. We don't even have that accountability in the CRC. Accountability is the key to success within the body of Christ. <br>There is a constant need to keep us accountable. I think that all churches with significant overhead will forget at one point or another the need to be for the people and not for the Payroll.<br>

Jdolinski
April 29, 2009

How is that any different then a social club? I don't think that you will find that the struggle that is spoken of in the New Testament is the struggle to get a long with the church. Sure there are mentions of it, but it isn't the main focus of the church. It is a component any time you put more then 2 people in the same room. I might be mistaken, but what you are speaking about is my exact issue with the church as a whole. We are so egotistical that we think it is about us and not about Matthew 28. <br><br>Discipleship isn't this idea that we struggle to get along, it is about teaching and growing. It is about surrendering together, so that we can do Matthew 28 all over again. <br><br>The Church is supposed to be a movement of people that are moving towards righteousness, not about the struggle to get along.

John
April 29, 2009

Jason that is what it is about, the people who read the bible gather with others who read the bible and talk about what is needed. I have read the bible many times and then someone in a bible class reads something and explains it in their terms and they are right. We will never understand all of the bible until we are with the one who wrote it. We need to gather as a people together with the purpose of showing the hope we have in the Father who gives us everything. We also need those who run the church to understand that yes we need a place and we need help from all who believe in God and Christ Jesus. We can't do it all ourselves as Christians, wheather we are pastors or just someone who fills a pew. Read your bible, gather with others to better understand the bible. Do it in a church, home, building or in a field it doesn't matter, what matters is that you Love one another and of course Love God with all that you have. My hope is in Jesus and thanks. In God's Grace John

Hoebexl
April 29, 2009

Well, of course, it is more than "getting along" but it is not less than keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is also a cause for which we burn to pour out our lives sacrificially - TOGETHER. That is the point I was shooting for - that discipleship is not this great individual endeavor: Jesus and me and forget about anyone I can't abide.<br><br>The first century church was not a bunch of isolate islands of disciples all struggling on their own toward righteousness. It was a mix of large group/small group, beautiful/ugly - getting it, not getting it, movement sometimes (usually?) in the right direction.<br><br>The church getting it and doing it, by the way, is not a matter of "them" it is "us" - do I get it? Do I do it (whatever it is)?<br>

xpagan66
April 29, 2009

When I got save I did not have a Bible and was 46. The preacher told me not to believe him but check it out 4 yourself. I have been doing that for 22 years. For me I have seen so much false doctrine in the church it is mind boggling. The worst part 4 me is that the church wants me to be led by the Holy Spirit which is the way it should be. But what they really mean is led by the Holy Spirit except in certain areas such as giving, drinking wine, divorce and more. When I go and see the Pastor to address the issue they stand on the denominational position.<br>I had a Pastor who said if U drink wine U cannot be on the church board, a deacon basically. The process was by vote and nomination. I was nominated and the pastor asked me if I had a problem with being on the board. I said I did not but that U do. I told him I enjoy wine once in awhile and informed him his position was not scriptural. I also asked him if he was willing to stand on his non scriptural positin? He said yes. I then told him Jesus nor anyone in the Bible could not qualify to be on his board. He did not care. I have heard pastors demanding God heal someone. Command the harvest to come. Say everyone should drive a Mercedes or Rolls Royce. It goes on and on. I still go to church for the fellowship of believers.

xpagan66
April 29, 2009

As a follow up I would like 2 say that Jesus never told anyone 2 build a building. On the day of Pentecost 300 people got saved. Jesus through the Spirit could have told Peter 2 build a church, made him the pastor and the other guys the deacons and elders. He did not. Why? Could be he was looking down the road and saw all the problems involved in having church buildings. He was right.

Kedda
April 29, 2009

The "just drifted away" is a big factor in Washington state. Another factor for us is that people move here from other states, and are away from the influence of family and societal pressure to go to Church. We are a very "unchurched" region. On the other hand, we have a very high percentage of those who believe in God, and have a personal faith.

Jdolinski
April 29, 2009

Your basis of argument follows my thought process, but develop that further. When we get distracted we move from what is important to what doesn't matter quite unintentionally. When we increase overhead we increase carrying cost and with that we need more income. So we cut things, or we need to grow so we spend money on advertising or on media events or other things, which distract and so we grow. Now however we need to maintain that level so we need to increase revenue...<br>I could never be on a church board. I would leave the Church in an instant.

Jerod
April 29, 2009

When I look at the chart, I see a lot of things that were frustrating for me whenever I've moved and needed to find a church. Bad teaching, lousy worship, an atmosphere of people not acting in a biblical way, and on and on.<br><br>At one point in my life, all of that lead to me thinking I can just do this on my own. It's all about the relationship I have with Christ, not the church building. This is what I would tell myself.<br><br>Looking back, those are some of the times I was furthest from God in my lifestyle. I temporarily joined that 71% that was just sort of drifting away.<br><br>I've been blessed lately with going to church full of people who are trying to live Christian lives the best they can. Plus the teaching is solid, Bible based stuff. Not fluff.<br><br>Obviously I now think the church is a crucial part of my spiritual growth. I think our challenge is to be serving at churches to help them be a place where we realize none of us are perfect, but together we can try to live better and serve in the way Jesus calls us to. I think when the church looks more like that, we'll see less folks becoming drifters.

Steven Koster
April 29, 2009

No doubt the church, as both organization and as a collection of people, is full of screwed up and unlikable people. No doubt the (legitimate) administration of the church can become a distraction, but that doesn't invalidate the church as God's "Called-Out" people. The church was called to community and unity over and over, so that they could glorify God and bear witness. <br><br>But my question is, how does the church better enfold those who are drifting out to the edges and beyond? <br><br>And let me flip the question around: how are those who are on the edges called to engage the community of faith and let people minister to them? <br>

xpagan66
April 29, 2009

When U get to that larger level or size it becomes difficult to rely on the HS to bring in necessary funds. It takes a great deal of faith. So U start to bring the people under compulsion to give money. Paul's says we R not to give under compulsion but from the heart. All giving in the NT was cause driven. No building funds.

Hoebexl
April 29, 2009

The idea of not having building funds in the NT is not completely accurate. You may recall the lecture hall of Tyrannus in Ephesus, while rented, was still a facility that required funds. It may be argued that Paul supplied those funds out of his tent-making activities, but the fact is we aren't told where the funds came from. <br><br>The big issues that become problems in the church are not because of buildings or because of structure or because of funding. Those are simply ways in which the problems find expression. The problems are essentially the same today as they ever have been: we fail to live lives empowered by the Holy Spirit to live in the kind of loving community that Jesus said would be the indication to the rest of the world that we belong to him. <br><br>The form these bodies take and the buildings they take them in is of little importance. What is of far more importance is the attitudes of superiority we maintain as we isolate ourselves from those who don't see the church the way we do. <br><br>The people I have deep sympathy for in this whole thing are those who are on the fringe because of deep hurts caused by church people who have abused them or used them for their own religious ends. They have been conditioned, in a sense, to reject a church that is not the church Christ intended. Although, it should also be said that there is a sense in which the imperfections of the church is exactly the church he intended because he intended that we would have to "BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER" - if the church was perfect, there would be no need to bear with - we would enjoy every moment of our time together, whether in homes or stadiums, or lecture halls, or temple courts.

alvin_tsf
April 29, 2009

jerod<br>"I think our challenge is to be serving at churches to help them be a place where we realize none of us are perfect, but together we can try to live better and serve in the way Jesus calls us to" i like this very much. thanks.<br>here's my opinion. the study showed the main reason why people leave church...judgmental and hypocritical people, too many and too much about rules and; the church ispower-hungry and money-crazed. the key word i think is "serving". as jerod mentioned. as this thread obviously shows, there is much to criticize about organizations, people and teachings. but what steven is pointing out is that how can we serve in a way that reaches those in the fringes. those that are drifting away. there is little we can do about the reality of church politics and the many defects of structure. but i think we should focus on our calling to be the called out ones, the ones that decalare His excellencies, and not wait around to be "ministered to" . perhaps we can start by toning down our hypercritical attitude towards those in leadership. many elders, deacons and pastors would love to just sit around in houses sipping coffee and do inductive bible study. but God called them to this very thankless office. and there a few who are sincerely striving to be faithful undershepherds. lets pray for them, that the Lord would not let power or money get in the way of their calling as leaders. i also see a new legalism rising.... emerging. a legalism where there are no rules. no guidelines. no order and eventually...no scripture. just a group of people getting along fine...without Jesus. we fight against too many rules. i agree with this 100%. but the Spirit is also the God of order. i think the key to serving is accountability. it is not so easy to rant in a blog when you have made a commitment to a congregation, no matter how imperfect it is. because, well, it is all about grace isn't it?

Jamie
April 29, 2009

For those "disenfranchised":<br><br>If you're connected to the Head, you won't be able to stay from the body for long. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? I know I was THE problem for a long time before I got serious about what Jesus died for- His Bride-the Church.

Marc
April 30, 2009

I think the term "gradual" applies to most of those factors. The bottom line is when your Church stops meeting your needs and/or losing touch with your experienced reality you stop going.

Sandra25
April 30, 2009

But when we work out the issues of interacting with others (i.e., "struggle to get along"), and in doing so learn to respect and love others, are we not moving toward righteousness? Are not seeking to become more Christ-minded in our relationships? Is this not an example of righteousness?

Sandra25
April 30, 2009

Marc, you bring up a good point: "... when your Church stops meeting your needs ..." Wow! That reminds me that only Christ can meet my needs. Not people, not a building, not a program, not a worship style, not a dynamic pastor. And it reminds me to check my "experienced reality" against the ultimate standard: the truth of God's word, not my Church experience. Good reminders.

Andrew Conard
April 30, 2009

Steven - Thanks for reposting the study and providing your comments. I think that you make a reasonable assessment of the situation. There is a balance to be met between equipping others (spending time with those who are regular attenders) and inviting others (spending time with those who are not a part of a faith community)<br>Depending on one's particular role and the size of the church this balance will be met in different ways. I believe that it is most important that neither gets lost and that there is a component of both in any role within the church.

Jdolinski
April 30, 2009

I can't stay away from the body hence the struggle. How long before i can no longer struggle anymore? <br><br>But Jesus didn't die for the church as an organizational event or even as a relational event, but rather for salvation. Getting along great is just a different issue, one which I don't disagree is important side issue, but not the main issue.<br><br>We are so concerned with keeping our own issues that we don't spend the time or money to minister to the population at large. We are sending less missionaries then ever. We are supporting less missionaries then ever. I belonged to a church once where their multi-million dollar budget included $5,000 for missions and over $500,000 in multimedia... Seems a bit backwards, but moving on.<br><br>Your assumption is that it is the Body of Christ. How can you tell? By the fruit? Or are we not supposed to judge? Well that puts us into a pickle doesn't it.<br><br>Alvin,<br><br>That new sense of legalism you are talking about is call "UN Regenerate" or "Non-Christian" I wouldn't argue with them if I had too. You can not tell a fool his folly, or you will be made the fool.<br><br>We try to justify that there are other tenants that make up Christianity like believing, however James points out that if there are no fruits your "faith" is suspect.<br><br><br>

xpagan66
April 30, 2009

I replied in part and then hit the wrong button.<br>Imagine living in the book of Acts and living around the early believers who shared everything in common. All there needs were physical and spiritual needs being met. Would U want to become part of that? The living Bible. How about today? If U had a home church like that, and the word got out in the hood, what would happen? Huge natural expansion. There R 104 churches within 8 miles of my home in Palm Harbor Fl. If half of those love flowed out as it did in the Acts Church what do U think would happen? More love, less poverty, less crime, more people in the kingdom. The Apostle were 12 guy's who changed the world. No degrees, no church buildings, or private jets, American express cards. There R big churches who cannot change a city block. We R admonished to take care of the widows and the orphans. There R orphanages in the Tampa bay area. There should not be. I went to the leadership of a 2500 person church and had an idea. There was a low income area close to the church. I thought as the church sat empty most of the week why not bring the people in and train them to get jobs and how to keep them by teaching them skills. I was told by leadership that there was no return on their investment. How is that for love?

John
April 30, 2009

My goodness all of this is to say the least interesting. Just remember one more, in that each of us should bring one more to the table. Start with that and grow where your gifts and talents lead you. Thank all of you and may God Bless just one more, in God's Grace John

Annr
April 30, 2009

For us it's a matter of diabilities - our children's and the lack of people who are trained enough to help work with our children's intense needs. Dr. Dobson put it well when he asked on a radio broadcast, "Where are all the blind, deaf, physically impaired, and special needs in our churches today?" ...hmmm, where indeed? Good question.<br><br>We have asked for help, but our one child's needs are so intense, that there is no one who feels they even can help. We do home church by watching a broadcast on TV and discussing it afterwards - application. But it's lonely.<br><br>Perhaps it is a matter of trying to appeal to the whirlwind of the North American culture that is bringing in politics, or trying to keep them out. Not really sure. Sometimes I think it's just that we get so busy, we get distracted by 'shiny things' and when we look back to our congregations, we feel discontented. Other congregations require an application, interview, fill in a booklet, and get approved to just become a member because they are so busy being the 'corporate body'.<br><br>Sometimes I wonder if we've lost our first love. If in this over stimulating and fast-paced world we live in, Jesus just doesn't seem enough. After learning about Christ through the eyes of the disabled, it really allows me to see this world differently too. Maybe being caught up in the need to 'grow', we've forgotten why we are alive in the first place? JMHO, but then again, maybe I've just got too much grass growing under my feet!!!<br><br>How to change it? Connect. It takes time and may mean that you don't grow at the rapid pace and several thousand in attendance, but those relationships are real and a family base does indeed form. Be truly concerned and loving towards your church family. Go beyond the hugs and handshakes at the door. Use various social technologies, but always bring it back to the human connection and relationship, modeling relationship building of God, with our family in Christ. <br><br>Just glad that I'm doing what I'm doing. My hat's off to pastors everywhere, because it is a huge responsibility!

Hoebexl
April 30, 2009

The state of today's church with people choosing to participate or to check out based on their needs being met or their feelings being hurt, while on the one hand is something I sympathize with (as I have stated in an earlier post), on the other hand is simply one more indication of the deep infiltration of consumerism into our value systems. We really do think that what we want/need is more important than what Christ said would build his kingdom and show the world that we are his followers. <br><br>As if the divisions among believers is not bad enough (thousands of denominations - almost as many churches as law firms in any given town), we further condemn ourselves by running from one church to the next at the slightest provocation - or even worse, we run away altogether.<br><br>I see three solid biblical reasons to leave a church: 1. biblical error that the leadership refuses to correct; 2. gross immorality that the leadership refuses to address; 3. calling to ministry that requires a change in location or at least in fellowship. Otherwise, we should find a way to heal what is broken. <br><br>That, of course, is ideal and we don't live in an ideal world. But if we would at least strive for it, we would see something more like the church the early Christians had where they didn't have several dozen churches to choose from in one town, and the idea of leaving the church, for a believer, would have been unthinkable - as long as one remained a believer.

NCSue
May 1, 2009

I left the Protestant world after trying a series of denominations and finding that, far too often, political correctness and popular opinion ruled the day. The Catholic church is willing to stand fast on issues such as abortion. I admire that.<br><br><br><a href="http://acts17verse28.blogspot.com/" rel="nofollow">http://acts17verse28.blogspot....</a>

Phyllis Hartwig
May 1, 2009

He who is faithful to the end, will see the Lord. All others will be judged..He will know HIs sheep, and His sheep hear His voice. In the end the "drifters" will be cast out into eternal darkness. They will be without excuse.

Phyllis Hartwig
May 1, 2009

Stay faithful in Christ, and you will have eternal life..Those who won't stay faithful will not see God..

Kevin
May 1, 2009

Really... the true answer is "Did not have an encounter with God because the Pastor didn't know what he/she was doing."<br><br>Because if the Pastor did introduce you to the God of the universe, there's no way you would leave.<br><br>But that's probably a bit too harsh.

Chaplainjames
May 2, 2009

A lot of reasons are used as to why people leave the church that are not aligned with what the Bible teaches. The bWord of God says that there will be a falling away in the last days. People want God and Church to fit them or their way of living but the Bible speaks the truth. Some will rejoice over what the Word of God says and others will be totally put off. Traditions of men will never prevail. A true relationship that can only be fostered through the Holy Spirit of God can relieve the spiritual burdens that some bear. Some people need a spiritual "tune-up". The best way o get one is to take it to the manufacturer, God Almighty.

.F
May 3, 2009

Ernest: Alone or in the Croud keep your heart on the one who talked to Job and to the Jews and to the Greeks and to the church body follow Christ<br>if people don't agree move to were they will.

Pcg
May 3, 2009

I have very little to add to an already vibrant conversation. The one thing that has been on my heart is something I've struggled with for a while now: blaming "the church" for the church's problems. It seems so en vogue today to become disenfranchised with the church and leave a particular body, or leave the corporate body altogether. Hypocrites, liars, power struggles... these are all problems in the church today.<br><br>Yet these were also problems with the church in Corinth, were they not? And yet Paul did not question their salvation nor call for an upheaval of the church nor turn his back on the wayward body.<br><br>The problem, then, with people leaving the church today seems to be that consumerism has so thoroughly permeated the mindset of today's Christian. We are too lazy, too fat, too stupid to stand beside Paul in working through struggles toward unity for the glory of Christ; rather, if the pastor says something we don't like, we leave. If the church isn't meeting our needs (which, after all, is the whole reason the church is supposed to exist, right?! /sarcasm), we find a church with the right programs that WILL meet our needs. We will jump ship if the preacher is too boring, or the music is too loud, or the social programs are not ambitious enough, or the paint in the sanctuary is too crazy, or the parking is too sparse... you get the picture.<br><br>I'm not saying the church doesn't have problems — it does and the time to meet those problems is now. I just want to be careful not to denigrate Christ's bride too much, when it might be that we ourselves are the problem, not "the church".

alvin_tsf
May 4, 2009

"It seems so en vogue today to become disenfranchised with the church and leave a particular body, or leave the corporate body altogether."<br><br>pcg, <br><br>i agree with your point/points wholeheartedly. the reality of the church's imperfection is very apparent to all of us. many people who left the church whom i've talked to seem to consider themselves very "spiritual" because they made the decision to leave the church or a particular congregation. yes we are stupid. the apostle paul could have just continued starting new congregations when the existing ones disappoint him. but, in his writings, he takes the time to present the truth of God, make efforts to reconcile himself to others and reconcile those that have been "disenfranchised". it's all about redemption. we all need to be saved.<br><br>we are the church. there is a place for constructive feedback to try to put things in perspective and order. but when it's all about criticism and not much love and grace and a continued striving for unity, then we are not attacking the church. we are attacking the Bridegroom too. <br><br>have a blessed day!

Oggie
May 4, 2009

maybe, the church has lost its saltiness and as being light to the world????

Elbee55
May 4, 2009

God has spoken to me and instructed me to identify all the things I have found lacking in the body that I am a part of. For those that I found to be unaffirming individuals I was prompted to affirm. For the seemingly aloof I was to become loving and accepting and edifying. To those who seemed unlovely and always sitting in the shadows, I was to draw out and invite to my home. The things you see in your body that seem to irritate you, that you find lacking, or maybe you aren't getting the beeps that you need, give to them that which you perceive that you need. Love the unlovely, receive those that are the hardest and win those hearts to the kingdom as you become conformed over and over into the image of your savior Jesus Christ.

Vanessa
May 5, 2009

There are hundreds of reasons people leave churches. But what is comforting to me is when I can find the answers as to why in the Bible. One reason is given in the Gospels that covers a lot of ground. Luke Chapter 8...lists reasons whether we like to accept them or not. For instance,<br><br>And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. Luke 8:14-15<br><br>Acts chapter 2 the Holy Spirit fell on all in the Upper room at an appointed time. My point is that they were all gathered for one reason and they were in prayer. There was no one in the room who was not a true believer or a disciple of our Lord.<br><br>The Bible teaches as the coming of Christ draws closer it would be become beyond difficult to be a believer in this world and continue in the faith.<br><br>The Apostles were constantly encouraging the leaders and flock to hold fast to their faith and confession of Jesus Christ because they understood the hardship. How much more do we need that now?<br><br>Finally there was Demas of whom Paul finally said, <br><br>For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 2 Timothy 4:10-11<br><br>In the end all who should be in the house will be there. I have very few I can fellowship with outside of a church building because over the years I have found less who love the Word of God and find their joy in the Holy Ghost. <br><br>A pastor's wife discipled me after I became a believer. One of the best words of glory she could have given me was to direct me to Psalm 119. It took me three years or longer to finally act on her words and read it. <br><br>By the time I read it the Lord had already told me how to walk with Him and it agreed with Psalm 119. It was the Word of God.<br><br>I don't see how there can be so many Bibles today and still many people are no closer to Jesus than when we had fewer versions. But I believe there needs to be a serious revival of God's Word in our churches and in our hearts. You cannot always hope to have others around to keep you rooted and grounded. <br><br>After 31 years of walking with th Lord I would rather gather with one or two who love Jesus, are baptized with His Spirit and love the Word of God than spend time in a church building with all the doubt and unbelief listed in the graph above.<br><br><br> <br>

Sharonblcl
May 6, 2009

I pray that it wouldn't be nothing in life to separate me from god although sometimes i get discourge because of my long struggle but every time god just open up that door as i sometimes want to through in the tower. I'am very displease with the congragation that is with in the facilities of the house of god they suppose to help there own in my struggle i found that going to work paying tithes offering etc. I thought that in the time of trouble we suppose to help each other well i'am sorry i have a problem with that because when i had cancer and could not work because i had to get chemo that i would be help by my own congragation in stead one of the sister in the church ask me if i could go and apply for social service then ask me if i was a tithe payer and i responed yes. It was so davastating to me because this was the second time i was turn down by a church. So i have not been the church in a while i would say on a regular basics about four years now i had to encourage my self god heal me and i just try to stay in the word much as possiable and watch and listen to service over the internet. I lost a lot but i know that they arre just earthly things but i do not feel that i could ever turn to the church for help any church for that matter.

Daniel
October 10, 2010

I grew up in a Fundamentalist Christian home, attended a Fundamentalist Christian college, even graduated from an Orthodox/Calvinist seminary and I've decided that "Church" (the institution) is a waist of my time. What's strange is that my faith in Jesus Christ has never been stronger. But what I believe has changed. I just can't take what the institutional church has done with the message of the Gospel. As I have pursued Christ, I began to realize that for Church, Jesus was just a brand for which all those denominations are just so many teams. Joining the Church is just joining a team with its various team traditions, team colors, stadiums, chants, stats, budgets, etc. Their theologies are just rationalist constructs, like so many different "brand messages", that these Churches believe in more than they do Jesus. They've become seduced by having "everything figured out" with their faith becoming a merely a prideful self-righteousness. Their only motivation is to recruit more team members — mindless sycophants that will ape their agendas and support their programs. They have turned the house of God into a den of thieves.<br>I'm done with it. I'll keep Jesus.

JCarpenter
October 13, 2010

It would be interesting to use this column and comments as a template to review the subsequent event of Ann Rice's leaving the established Church this past summer. Similar reasons, but less understanding, harsher judgment of a public figure.

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