You’ve seen the blog posts and articles – why group X is leaving the church, men, millennials, college students, teens, etc.
Can I just say something? I’m tired of that approach. There are two and only two reasons people “give up on the church” no matter their demographic:
- They are immature Christians. (Hebrews 5:12)
- They were not Christians to start with. (I John 2:19, 3:10)
Listen to what God’s Word says about the importance of the church to the Lord and, by extension, to His people:
- Christ died for the church, not for a collection of autonomous individuals. (Ephesians 5:25, Acts 20:28)
- The church is Christ’s bride (Revelation 21:2)
- The church is Christ’s body (Colossians 1:24)
- The church is God’s plan to sanctify His people (I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 5:26-27)
- The church is God’s plan to evangelize the lost (Matthew 28:18-20)
- The church glorifies God to all creation (Ephesians 3:10)
Someone who does not see the church as essential to the Christian life is not viewing life through the lens of scripture, not viewing life from the perspective of one transformed by the Holy Spirit. That’s not to deny that sometimes one must leave a particular local congregation. However, a mature Christian will always seek another local expression of the Body of Christ with which to affiliate, no matter how difficult or hurtful their experience at a specific local church. Being part of a church is what Christians do. To say I’m a Christian who has given up on the church is like saying I’m a husband who has given up living with my wife. “Husband” implies relationship with the wife. “Christian” implies relationship with the church.
So next time you see an article on “5 Reasons Why Duck Hunters in the Midwest Leave the Church,” you can save yourself some reading: they are leaving because they are either immature Christians or not Christians at all.