People go to church to find calm for their minds and rest for their souls amid the chaos in the world. Church is a place where many expect to learn more about God and have their spiritual being nourished. We expect to experience a divine transformation in our lives by going to church. But sometimes, people do not get what they expect to get from these churches. Why do people leave the church of Christ? Why is the church of Christ increasingly losing numbers each passing day?
Personally, I went to church knowing I would grow spiritually through the teachings and sermons that were preached. I also wanted to be part of a community of believers who would help me account for my actions and stay on track of God’s will. But are these the things that happen in the church of Christ?
People leave the church of Christ for different reasons. Some leave in groups while others leave individually depending on the reason behind their leaving. The reasons highlighted below explain why people leave the church of Christ.
Why People Leave the Church of Christ
I know of one of the churches of Christ that started so well. Its teachings and sermons were so powerful that people flocked to the church in no time. The church grew bigger in number in a short period. This prompted the leadership of the church to organize for the construction of a bigger church that could accommodate the growing congregation. However, their teachings changed with time.
Read Also: Why I Left the Assemblies of God
The sermons took a very different direction. Initially, the preacher taught and preached sound doctrine that saw many people give their lives to Christ. But when he had attracted a large following, he only focused on deliverance services. He transitioned every message to a deliverance message inappropriately.
He later started asking the congregants to pay for the deliverance services. Anyone who needed prayers had to pay for him to pray for them. There were no more teachings in the church, but declarations of deliverance and breakthroughs. The part of the congregation that had joined the church because of its initial sound teachings had to leave the church.
Not everyone who goes to church is after the miracles, signs, and wonders that are performed in the church. Some go to church to feed their hearts with the Word of God. They go to church to seek spiritual renewal and nourishment. So, when they realize that they are not getting what they need anymore, they leave.
2 Timothy 1:13 says, “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.”
This is what churches need to do. They should maintain the pattern of sound teaching that they started with. But many churches today start with sound teaching with the intention of attracting followers then they introduce their own way of teaching. This pushes people away from church.
In the modern world, church leaders are getting more involved in scandals than anyone else. I saw some news about a church minister who had gone to pray for students in a certain girls’ school.
The girls were in their final year and were about to do their national exams. So, this preacher was invited to pray for them ahead of the exams. Later on, it was discovered that one of the girls was missing. And, guess what?
The church minister had eloped with her; a 17-year-old schoolgirl. News went round as the police began their search. They arrested them in a faraway city many miles from the school. Such shameful incidences leave the congregants confused and wondering if they are in the right church. These states of confusion and wonder make them leave the church.
We view church leaders as our mentors and role models. They are our spiritual fathers and we expect them to show us the way by example. What do you think would have happened if Jesus had been found in such a dramatic and shameful incident? Would people still follow Him? And what do you think His disciples would have done? Church leaders should emulate the example of Christ as we emulate them.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, the Bible says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
This is the slogan that church ministers and leaders should use. Paul boldly walked in the footsteps of Jesus and asked his followers to walk in his footsteps. As the followers walked in his footsteps, they walked in the footsteps of Jesus too. But the church of Christ in the modern world asks people to walk in the footsteps of Christ while they themselves walk in unknown paths. They preach water and drink wine, making their congregation question their calling and authenticity. Eventually, they find their way out of the church and never come back again.
Cases of church leaders being found with other people’s spouses or engaging in other dishonorable acts have forced many to leave the church. Many prefer not to go to church than be a member of a church where the conduct of its leadership is questionable.
Wrangles Among Church Members
Since we are members of one body of Christ, we are expected to uphold unity and harmony. Everything done in the church of Christ must be done in one will and one mind. But this is not always the case in the church today. Gossip, division, and hatred dominate in the church of Christ. People fight over petty issues and quarrel over things that bring about division.
A member may leave the church because another member of the same church hates them. People leave because they don’t see the need to fellowship or pray in the same church where others don’t like them.
Fights Over Church Leadership
Many churches today have forced their members to leave because of the greed among the leaders. There are many cases of church leaders fighting over various positions in the church. Some go as far as exchanging blows in the presence of church members. Such acts displease some of the members who opt to leave the church.
Exploitation by Church Leaders
Giving is a good Christian discipline and we know that when we give, we obey the command of God. Furthermore, we understand that when we give, we evoke God to release His blessings upon us.
In Malachi 3:10-11, God says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty.”
Paying our tithes is mandatory but any other form of giving in the church depends on our abilities and the states of our hearts. However, many churches have twisted this Scripture and made it look like we have to sacrifice everything we have for them. They want us to give beyond our means claiming that the more we give them, the more we will be blessed.
These preachers intimidate the less fortunate to look for ways they can use to get something and give it to them. They grow richer and richer each passing day at the expense of the congregation. I understand that giving to our spiritual mentors is important, but it should not sound like the church has become a business venture for them.
I used to fellowship in a certain church that could not accept unemployed people to be part of their church. Before anyone could join them, they had to undergo a process of vetting. One’s pay slip had to be evaluated for them to be approved as members of their church. It was sad to see them excommunicate members of the church who lost their jobs along the way.
Read Also: Presbyterian Vs Methodist – Who Does What?
I did not wait to lose my job and be excommunicated. So, I had to leave the church. And, I did not leave alone. Other people who reasoned like me left too. No one plans or wishes to lose a job and when it happens we expect the church to stand with us and excommunicate us.
This is not the example that Jesus portrayed while He was on earth. He valued the high and the low in society. When the poor widow gave her small copper coins as an offering in Mark 12:41-43, He applauded her authenticity. She gave all she had with an open and genuine heart.
There is no church without its weaknesses just as we are not without our weaknesses. A church may thrive in one area and terribly fail in another. We need to be wise so that we can navigate through the challenges that come our way. With God’s help and guidance, we can overcome any hurdle and stand strong amid the trials that seem to draw us away from Christ. Our focus should be on Jesus, who is the author of our faith, and in His teachings.