Why do people pull away from church and their pastor? (And most importantly, from their Lord?)
Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Here are some of the things we have observed, I am sure there are other reasons:
Carnality – Many know they cannot continue to have one foot in the world and one foot in the things of the Lord. Eventually, they choose the pleasures of the world over the blessings of the Lord. Those who go AWOL miss the old pig-pens and the slop of the world. They recall, with some sort of twisted fondness, the glories of the gutter.
Lack of character - They have put their hand to the plow but have not the character to keep hoeing the rows of righteousness. They are short-sighted, looking at present circumstances rather than at eternal reward.
Listening to the enemy – Many and effective are the tools of the enemy. At times, he whispers his lies in sibilant tones, convincing us of a better way. At other times he screams at us about how unfair God must be to keep us down, hold us back and withhold from us what we deserve.
Impatience – They were under some misguided impression that God had in store for them a glorious, trouble free path of perfection. There was no overnight panacea for their problems and so they go looking for another leave to overturn.
Disillusionment – People begin to see that the Christians of Christianity aren’t always so Christ-like. They observe that church isn’t always the place that rocks like they had originally experienced. They continued to be mistreated at work, yelled at by the spouse, disobeyed by the kids, and ticketed for speeding by the officer. If God was so great, why am I still subject to life’s kryptonite?
Pressure – Blood is thicker than water, peer pressure is almighty strong. This person may meet God someday, but right now, family and friends are laying it on pretty thick.
Independence – In the end, most people are going to do what they want to do. Unless they have developed a vital relationship with Christ, a die-daily-to-self habit and a determination to endure to the end, they will eventually turn away.
Pride – People may feel lectured, their egos offended, their intellects challenged and their wills thwarted by the ways of the church. Sermons, discipleship and fellowship may pose a threat to their autonomy and so they bow out. Believers must ground themselves so deeply into the Word that nothing will offend them.
Hypocrisy – ‘nuf said. Though others will let us down, Jesus will never do so.
Hurt – there are those who have truly been abused by a church or church leadership, thus they bow out.
Of course, there are the old stand-by reasons – “I am not being fed” and “God is leading me elsewhere.” In reality, these could very well be valid reasons.
Forth those who have left a faith family, get in a good, gospel preaching church ASAP! Do your best to make things right with the church from which you have pulled away. You NEED a church and there is a church that needs you. Don’t let your experience keep you from having a vital relationship with your Lord.
Whatever the reasons people leave a church, and some, the faith, Christ-honoring churches, pastors and Christians should love these people and seek to reconcile them to the body. After all, we have this ministry of reconciliation.