According to a study by the Hartford Institute of Religion Research and a new book entitled, “Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore,” less than 20% of Americans attend worship services every week. They say there are four main reasons why people don’t want to “go to church.” Here they are…
According to the book, the four reasons people don’t want to go to church are:
- They don’t want to be lectured.
- They see the church as judgmental
- They see the church as hypocritical.
- They see the church as irrelevant.
Certainly, not everyone in this study is a Christian in the New Testament sense, but doesn’t this show you the real reason so many have stopped attending? The real reason is that over the last 2,000 years, the concept of “church” has become so diluted and twisted that people don’t even know what it is anymore. The church is supposed to be the family or body of all Christians.
For a Christian to say, “The church is judgmental, hypocritical, and irrelevant,” is for that Christian to call himself judgmental, hypocritical, and irrelevant because he is the church. When Christians don’t understand they are the church, and when they see the church as an institution which they can either choose to support or not, they lose the entire concept of Christianity. Jesus did not come to redeem individuals, but a people. One simply cannot be a Christian outside of the body of Christ (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12). To be a Christian is to be in the church.
When someone is in need and Christians say things like, “You should call the church and they will help you,” it reveals that these Christians probably see the church as an institution which exists separate from themselves. As a Christian, when you say, “The church should help this person,” what you should be meaning is, “I (or we) should help this person.” The church is not “they,” the church is “us.”
Secondly, the problem is that people see “church” as a weekly event to attend. Church is not something Christains attend when they get a chance. The church is who Christians are…every day of the week. Someone might say, “Wes, it’s just semantics. You know what I mean when I say I’m going to church.” Sure, I know what you mean and I also know that a few generations of saying, “Going to church,” has contributed the current dilemma.
If you asked me, “What is family?” and I said, “Oh, that’s something I attend when I come home from work,” you would look at me like I lost my mind. My family is not an event I attend. My family is something I’m a part of – even when I’m somewhere else. If I started saying, “I’m going to ‘family’ now,” when I went home, it might very well change the way I see and interact with my family.
When people see the church as either an institution to support or an event to attend, it’s no wonder they see it as being irrelevant. If we want to see Christians stop checking out, we must start teaching people that we are the church!
I love you and God loves you,