Archive for July, 2014

Top Reasons No One Wants to Go to Church

July 17, 2014 1 comment


What’s the good word? Another sabbatical book down. This one by Group called: Why Nobody Wants to Go To Church Anymore. In it, Thom and Joani Schulz use Barna research to get at this very question. The researched showed that there were four top reasons why:

1. “I feel judged.” Do you realize that 87% of Americans today label Christians as judgmental? That’s more than I thought. Fair or unfair, this is most people’s view of the church. Have you ever been judged yourself by someone at church? Have you ever formed negative opinions about people who came to your church? Is it possible for us to create an environment where people are welcomed and accepted…no matter what? I believe the answer is yes, but we have a ways to go!


2. “I don’t want to be lectured.” In other words, “You don’t care what I think or wonder about.” More than ever, people today want to participate in the discussion. This is especially true with the two younger generations Mosaics (1984-2002) and Busters (1965-1983). Think how un-conversation-friendly churches are designed to be. Sitting in chars or pews, facing a stage, and looking at the backs of people’s heads is hardly conducive to talking with others. And it’s not just about conversations, it’s about the questions they have as well. They also have stories to share. This is the challenge for me, how can I make my messages more engaging for folks? Faith is a relationship. Is it possible to create a church environment where people can fully expect to grow closer to someone every time they go? Is it possible for church to be known as the pale where we all go to grow relationships? I believe the answer is yes!


3. “Church people are bunch of hypocrites.” We can’t keep pretending we have it all together. WE can’t keep trying to putt on a perfect face. Perhaps it is why every Sunday, for those visiting us, I say something like, “If you have questions and doubts, you are welcome here because all of us are in the same boat. None of us have it all together either!” But here’s what I say to this one, Welcome to the club! We ARE a bunch of hypocrites. We’re ALL guilty of dying one thing and doing another. We are ALL sinners. Romans 3:23: “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Is this label fair? Unfair? Does it really matter? Is it possible to create a church environment where people find genuine authenticity on every level? Is it possible for the church to be the ultimate center for sincerity? I believe the answer is yes!


4. “Your God is irrelevant to my life. But I’d like to know there is a God and that God cares about me.” Most people don’t experience God at a typical church service. Most people crave something simple. They want to be reassured that God is real, that God is more than a historical figure, and that God is present today, and that God is active in people’s lives. For those searching, they don’t understand that God IS real and active in their daily lives. But hey, I want to experience God in worship just as much as you do. But sadly, reattach reveals that only 44% of people who attend church every week say they regularly experience God at church. Is it possible to create a church environment where people truly experience God all the time? Is it possible for church to be known as more in touch that out of touch? Is it possible for the church to be known as the most relevant place to go on Sunday? I believe the answer is yes!!

What if we, the church, acknowledged that we have to make some changes? OUCH! So what’s your view? Are these pretty accurate? Do you agree or disagree with these findings? I’ll post their four responses later. And that’s the good word for today!

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What’s the good word? Today took me to visit Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas. This was one of the most hospitable churches I have visited so far. At the end of every meeting with each staff me member, each one closed our time by praying for me and praying for Messiah. Again, it was Small Groups that stood out to me, and it is something we will continue to press and improve on at Messiah. They aren’t something we do, small groups are who we are. One thing that stood out at me was that each Small Group leader is taught that their group is a mini-church. They are Paul’s out there and they are communicating with mini-churches, much like Paul did in writing to these churches in Ephesus, Philippi, etc. To me, that changes things totally for these leaders. We gather together for corporate worship, but each member is a part of a smaller mini-church. I think this helps us see Life Groups in a whole new way.

Now to my gripe and my praise. My gripe is this: So far at every single church that I have been to I have heard about “the experience” people get on Sunday morning. I have rarely, if at all, heard anything about what they are doing in their cities and in their community, and how they are out there making a difference, other than inviting others to come to church. One thing I have to say about Messiah, and I know I have heard from some that we should do more, but we get out there and support our community. We live out that “Be The Church” philosophy very well, and I made sure I tooted that horn while visiting. The question Bishop Mike posed to a synod assembly a while back, still sticks with me, “Forget the Sunday worship experience, if your church was gone tomorrow, would any one in your community notice?” OUCH! It’s about living out the Great Commission and going out in service. It’s a part of our purpose statement and it’s a part of who we are called to be as disciples. And I will stake a flag on that summit any day! And that’s the good word for today.

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