When the Church Loses This… It’s Lost

Church leaders around the country are scratching their heads and asking themselves why are people leaving churches in droves (and why pastors are leaving too). There have been many reasons given:

  • The pandemic got people used to watching a service at home.
  • The pandemic pushed people to the fringes and caused them to act like idiots. 
  • The music (pick your preference) is: too loud, too old, too new, too blah, blah, blah…
  • The preacher stinks (ouch)
  • The church has become too political
  • The church isn’t political enough
  • The term “evangelical” has become a political and not a religious term
  • There are too many other things vying for people’s time and money
  • The youth pastor (pick your preference) is: too liberal, too conservative, too blah, blah, blah..
  • The church talks too much about social ills
  • The church doesn’t talk enough about social ills.
  • The church is not affirming to all people
  • The church is too affirming of people’s lifestyle choices.
  • The church folks aren’t loving, kind, caring and sometimes are downright mean
  • Too many doubts, too few answers

and the timeless, age-old criticism…

  • Too many hypocrites 

Some of these things are true. Some not so true. Here’s my take: People are mostly leaving because the church has been distracted by things other than the teachings of Jesus. People in 2022 don’t hate Jesus. They want Jesus. They love Jesus. They want more of Jesus and they feel (true or not true) that they aren’t getting Jesus in church. Instead they are getting– pick the churches’ preference: too liberal, too right wing political, too much social justice, not enough social justice, blah, blah, blah and they’ve headed for the exits.

Churches have gotten distracted by many things (and some are good things), but those distractions cause them to miss the main thing– which is Jesus. In many churches the fight has been over “what would Jesus do?” Maybe the focus should be on “How would Jesus respond to what others are doing?” There are plenty of people/churches who have thought right, but responded wrong and their members have headed for the exits.

We need to be like Paul in 1 Corinthians when he wrote: For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2). The Corinthian Church was divided too. Paul’s answer to the troubled church was a singular emphasis: Jesus.

The church must likewise resolve: To know and do nothing but proclaim Jesus Christ and him crucified!

Keep the focus on the main thing: Jesus.