Millions of Christians are leaving the church on a search for Jesus. While some have left because the church rightfully refuses to accept their sin or false doctrine, still many righteous, mature, and God-fearing believers continue toward the exit. For some, it’s the lack of relationships and absence of biblical truth. For others its extra-biblical buildings, programs, and facades. Below, are real testimonies from born-again Christians answering one question: Why did you leave the institutional church?
“I was so sick and tired of the agenda-driven services. It was never about relationship – it was about numbers. I was tired of being called too spiritual or not spiritual enough. I left the church because I was “welcomed” but I wasn’t received. I attended my church for five years and still people would ask me if Sunday was my first day, even though I helped, served and volunteered in various different ways. I was tired of the masks, the facades, and the show. All I wanted, all I wished for, was to be a part of a community of people to be able to give what I had been given and receive what I lacked. I left the church because the church broke my heart.”
“Raised a child of two atheists, I was saved at 15 through an outreach at my high school. However, I was forbidden to attend a church service. Nearly every day after school, I met with friends to read the Bible, talk, and ask questions. I graduated and could finally attend church. Sadly, the church was nothing like the discipleship I had experienced before. Week after week, I left lonely and disappointed. Eventually, God made it clear that I would never find His spirit in a giant building; the structure had gotten in the way of His vision. So I never went back and left to find the roots that set me on fire years ago.”
– Kathleen from Illinois
I was tired of hearing the “Burden Bearing” message from the pulpit at the multiple churches I attended. My marriage and life were difficult and for years and even though I volunteered at my church there was no one willing to walk alongside me and help me bear my burdens. Even after emailing the pastor at the last church, after hearing this message and being transparent with him about the lack of follow-through regarding “burden bearing (he called it B Squared—how catchy), he emailed me to thank me, admitted there is a problem with follow-through and said he would set an appt with me when he got back into town. Never heard from him. I’m out!
– Lisa from Wisconsin
“My wife and I were both raised in Christian homes (she is the daughter of a pastor), both of us went to Christian schools and Christian colleges. We have five children and we can’t seem to allow ourselves to bring our children into these modern big box churches. Every time we visit we hear some pastor dance around the truth or speak about the most elementary points of the faith—points we taught our children when they were in kindergarten. We want biblical church, we just can’t find it.”
– Justin from California
“Even though I haven’t technically left, I clocked out emotionally and just do the movements with the other attenders. I am there to worship my God, but all of the blood, sweat, and tears I gave has long been forgotten by those whom I trusted the most. Now, they are just faces. Not a single one was there for me and my son when we needed them. I’m already saved, so why bother with me now? They are too busy saving others and spending their time with the lost. I shared that vision, but now it all seems to be a masquerade. Every Sunday I know it’s just show time. “Ok, Camera 2—Go wide. Camera 1—Get me a close-up of the lead singer. Camera 3—Give me a slow push towards the stage. In 5,4,3,2…..it’s show time.”
Biblical church and how to get started.
“One of the biggest reasons I left the organized church was the fact that we, as a church, were simply maintaining our own clubhouse. We tithed to pay the costs to operate the organization. I guess since there were no widows, orphans or hungry people around we were able to justify keeping it all for ourselves.”
“We were part of a team that planted a church which, after coming under the leadership of a pastor, slowly declined into a system revolving around money, programs, rules, and regulations. We were told how we should dress and even how much we should tithe. We chose to step away from the institutional church two years ago and it felt as if a huge weight was lifted from our shoulders. Our heart is for the church of Acts and the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel. 2018 is the year that we gather as Apostles showed the disciples to gather—in our home.”
– Paula from Australia
“I remember walking toward the sanctuary at our church and to my right were three beautiful golf cart shuttling folks who were perfectly capable walking on their own and to my left were huge wall sconces that lined the side of the church building. I thought to myself, “I bet each of those sconces cost $1,000 each.” There were 30 of them. 30! Then, I started to notice the landscaping, the tech display, and everything else. I realized this place cost millions. This revelation on top of that fact that I felt like an audience member surrounded by strangers began to push me over the edge. Months later, I felt God telling me there was a better way. I just didn’t know where to start. Been dechurced now for three years.”
– James From California
“At first, it was refreshing to try over a dozen new places in the huge Metropolis area we live in. But as we tried to anchor ourselves and connect on deeper levels we noticed a thread of common concerns among the large institutions we were visiting. Although we hold no judgment and know that good intentions and true love for Jesus are at the heart of these places, we became increasingly wary of the businesslike environments, flashy marketing, the biblical illiteracy among much of the crowd, and the general feeling that we were merely attending a special event each weekend. Some of the strongest indicators for radical change included us seeing open non-believers in leadership roles within ministries (not kidding), the pastors lack of addressing current social topics through the lens of the Bible, and the event heavy service styles (going so far as requiring the reservation of “tickets” to attend a service), just to name a few. When asking ourselves, “Is this the church we see described in Scripture and is this the example we want our children to grow up with?” Sadly, the answer is no.”