Why People Are Leaving The Church? 10 Reasons

By Charalampos •  Updated: 02/20/23 •  9 min read

The church seems like less and less of a priority for people as the years go on. There are many reasons why people leave the church, but here are the top 10 most common ones.

Many of these reasons can be addressed by the church so that people feel more connected and engaged. If the church fails to address these issues, it will continue to lose members at an alarming rate.

The Truth About Today’s Churches

Greek Orthodox Church

Over the centuries, the Christian faith has changed dramatically. What started as a persecuted religion has become the dominant religion in the Western world. Christianity is now the largest religion in the world, with over 2.4 billion followers worldwide.

However, despite its global reach, Christianity is declining in developed countries. In the United States, for example, Christianity is on the decline while atheism is on the rise.

In fact, one study from the Pew Research Center found that the number of Americans who identify as atheists has doubled in the last decade.

The truth is that churches today are not what they used to be. In many cases, they have become more like businesses than places of worship. Churches are now focused on making money and attracting new members instead of helping people connect with God.

As a result, many people are leaving the church because they feel disconnected from God. They also no longer feel welcome in the church because of the judgmental attitudes of some members.

Reasons Why People Are Leaving The Church

Reasons Why People Are Leaving The Church

Now that we know some of the backgrounds behind the decline of Christianity, let’s take a look at the reasons why people are leaving the church.

1. They Don’t Believe in God Anymore.

This is the most common reason people leave the church. Many people who were raised in the church eventually lose their faith.

There are many reasons why this happens, but usually, it’s because they start to question their beliefs. When they can’t find answers to their questions, they eventually decide that they don’t believe in God anymore.

If someone is forced to believe in something, they will eventually rebel against it. The church needs to create an environment where people feel comfortable questioning their beliefs. Otherwise, they will simply leave and never come back.

Priests and pastors need to be open to questions and doubts. They should encourage people to ask questions and seek answers. Only then will people feel comfortable staying in the church.

2. They Convert to A Different Religion.

There are many reasons why people might convert to a different religion. Some people do it because they marry someone of a different faith. Others do it because they move to a new country where another religion is more prevalent.

But for many people, the reason they convert to another religion is that they simply don’t believe in Christianity anymore.

They might have been raised in the church but eventually realized that they don’t believe in its teachings. Or they might have never believed in Christianity, to begin with, but were raised in a Christian household.

Young adults who don’t understand why they should stay in the church are especially prone to converting to another religion. The church needs to make an effort to reach out to young adults and teach them about their faith. Otherwise, they will simply leave and convert to another religion.

3. They Had A Bad Experience in The Church.

Unfortunately, the church is not perfect. Many people have had bad experiences in the church, and these experiences can be enough to make them leave forever.

Some people have been hurt by other members of the church. Others have been disappointed by the church’s failure to live up to its ideals. And still, others have simply had a negative experience with a priest or pastor.

Whatever the reason, bad experiences in the church can be enough to make people leave forever. The church needs to be more welcoming and inclusive if it wants to keep people from leaving.

4. People Turn to Materialism.

In today’s world, materialism is on the rise. People are increasingly focused on money, possessions, and status.

For many people, the church is simply not relevant to their lives. It doesn’t address the issues that they care about.

The church needs to make an effort to connect with people who are focused on materialism. Otherwise, they will simply leave and never come back.

5. The Church is Too Political.

Lately, it seems that the Church is getting more and more involved in politics. And while some argue that this is a good thing, I believe that it is ultimately harmful to both the Church and the political process.

The reason for this is simple: the Church is supposed to be a sacred institution, focused on spiritual matters, not temporal ones.

By getting involved in politics, the Church risks becoming just another special interest group, concerned not with spiritual truth but with advancing its agenda.

This is not to say that the Church should be completely apolitical; after all, any organization or institution has a right to voice its opinion on public policy issues.

But when the Church starts putting its weight behind one political party or another, it begins to lose its moral authority and alienates those who don’t agree with its political views.

6. They Left When Their Priest Left.

Orthodox Priest

This is a big one, especially in small churches. If your priest suddenly leaves (or is forced to leave), a significant number of people will leave with him/her.

The reason for this is simple: people often develop a personal relationship with their priest. When that priest leaves, they feel like they have lost a friend and confidant, and so they leave the church as well.

The church needs to be prepared for this eventuality and make sure that it has a plan in place to keep people from leaving when their priest does.

7. They Moved And Never Went Back to Church.

This is a common one, especially among young adults. People move away from their hometown and simply never go back to their local church.

Church leaders need to be aware of this and make an effort to reach out to people who have moved away. Otherwise, they will simply never come back.

8. They Don’t Understand The Mysteries of The Faith.

For many people, the mysteries of the faith are simply too much to handle. They don’t understand why the seven sacraments are important or what confession is.

The spiritual journey of every person is different. Some find the Church to be a source of strength and comfort, while others find it to be a source of confusion and frustration.

As a result, they simply give up and leave the Church. The Church needs to make an effort to explain the mysteries of the faith in a way that is understandable and relevant to people’s lives. Otherwise, people will be less likely to return and become active members of the Church.

9. They Don’t Feel Like They Belong.

This is a common problem, especially in large churches. People simply don’t feel like they belong. They don’t feel like they fit in or that they are part of a community.

As a result, they leave the church and never come back. The church needs to make an effort to create a sense of community and belonging. This can be done through small group meetings, social events, and other activities.

10. They Have A Different Understanding of The Faith.

This is becoming more and more common as the Church becomes more and more divided on critical issues.

Many churches are simply not willing to tolerate differing opinions on important issues. As a result, people leave the church because they feel like they are not being true to their own beliefs.

The Church needs to make an effort to dialogue with those who have different understandings of the faith. Otherwise, they will simply leave and never come back.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why People Are Leaving The Church- FAQs

Why Are People Leaving The Mormon Church?

People that leave the Mormon Church are often called Ex-Mormon or exmo. Most of the time these people feel like they belong in a cult, or that this religion is not the true faith.

Many people leave because they were lied to about the history of the church, or they feel like they cannot trust their leaders.

Why Do People Leave The Catholic Church?

Most people that leave the Catholic Church are unhappy with certain aspects of the Church such as its stance on social issues, its lack of modernity, and its bureaucracy.

Some disagree with the church’s teachings on abortion or homosexuality while others are put off by its apparent lack of flexibility in adapting to changing times.

Why Are Millennials Leaving The Church?

Today’s world is very different from what it was even a generation ago. The internet has made information much more accessible, and people are far more skeptical of institutions than they used to be.

As a result, many millennials are leaving the Church because they don’t believe in its teachings, or they don’t feel like it is relevant to their lives.

Also, the abundance of other options (secularism, spiritual but not religious, etc) makes it easier for them to find a belief system that better suits their needs.

Final Thoughts

Church decline is something that is happening all over the world. In the United States, church attendance has been declining for years. The same is true in Europe and other parts of the world.

There are many reasons for this decline, but the Church needs to be aware of them and make an effort to address them. Otherwise, it will simply continue to lose members.


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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