11 Solid Reasons Americans Are Ditching the Church

Churches in the US are closing down, and fewer people attend church than before. In 2019, over 4,500 Protestant churches closed, but only 3,000 new churches opened. Similarly, according to recent studies, 92% of United States churches had 250 or fewer people attend weekly worship services.

There has been a noticeable trend in recent years: an increasing number of individuals are opting out of regular church attendance. From societal changes and shifting cultural norms to personal beliefs and experiences, the landscape of spirituality is evolving, and with it, so are the dynamics of communal worship.

We have listed the main reasons why people are not attending church anymore.

Hypocrisy and moral failures of church leaders

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Many young people see religious leaders as the primary guardians of a church’s moral values. However, in a study by the Barna Group, 35% of millennials think the church fails in leadership, and 85% see them as hypocritical.

When people observe church leaders engaging in activities like financial fraud or extramarital affairs, they lose faith in the church. This can lead to disillusionment, making people question the integrity and trustworthiness of the church they once looked up to.

The Church Supports The Unjust

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

One poignant example of this phenomenon is the scandals surrounding the Church and its widespread cover-up of sexual abuse by clergy members. Despite the professed commitment to upholding moral values, failing to adequately address and prevent abuse exposed a deep-seated flaw in the institutional framework.

When churches fail to confront injustice within their ranks or society, individuals stop trusting the religion and may feel compelled to distance themselves from organized religion.

The Church is politically involved

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

When politics are involved in a church, it can distract from the primary purpose of worship and spiritual growth, driving people away instead of bringing them closer together. For example, if a church strongly supports a particular political party or candidate, it might alienate members with different political beliefs. This can create tension and division within the congregation, making some people feel like they don’t belong.

Churches are too focused on money

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Churches need money to run smoothly. They use it to pay their workers, keep the buildings in good shape, and support missions nearby and far away. However, when money becomes the main focus, it can cause problems. People might feel pressured to give more than they can or judged if they can’t give much. This can make them uncomfortable or unhappy at church.

They are ashamed

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

People sometimes feel ashamed or embarrassed because they did something wrong or because they think they don’t fit in with other Christians. They think they’ll be judged for things like having tattoos, their family’s reputation, having a disability, their style, or not knowing much about church.

Even though these things aren’t morally wrong, some churches might not be accepting of them, so people shy away from joining a Church..

Doubts left unanswered

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

People criticize churches because they struggle to have open and honest conversations. In some conservative churches, essential questions are brushed aside with simple, unsatisfactory answers. They prioritize dogma and orthodoxy and use silent treatments to avoid answering.

In liberal churches, there’s often so much uncertainty that questions go unanswered, leaving people feeling like they’re going nowhere.

Churches that are unable or unwilling to meaningfully respond to their congregants’ existential questions and moral dilemmas risk alienating people.

People Don’t Fear God Anymore

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

As adults, many have moved past the fear of divine judgment, no longer feeling intimidated by the idea of punishment for missing church or not participating in religious activities.

Some used to attend solely out of obligation or fear of God or others’ opinions rather than genuine love. Now, they’re not worried about Jesus’ warning against faith or coming to the church, seeing many others still devoted to God without being active in church.

They Are Dealing With Life

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Occasionally, individuals may find themselves absent from church for weeks, months, or even years due to shifts in their routine. Factors such as changes in work schedules, kids leaving home, marital conflict, divorce, financial challenges, or health issues can disrupt their attendance. Over time, they may become accustomed to this new pattern of behavior.

Often, people fall ill, which becomes a reason for not being able to go to the Church. There are as many as 1% of Christians who struggle to go to church because their bodies don’t feel well. This makes it hard for them to attend services regularly.

Accessibility concerns

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Accessibility concerns create barriers for individuals with disabilities or mobility limitations. Sometimes, Churches do not accommodate wheelchairs, and acceptance can restrict disabled individuals from fully participating in religious activities. Thus leading them to seek alternative forms of spiritual engagement.

Additionally, family members cannot attend church because they can’t leave behind their loved ones. According to the data, 32.3% of special needs families had left at least one church. It is because their child was not included or welcomed. This led to declining church attendance in the community.

Lack of meaningful community

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Many churches focus too much on social events like parties and potlucks instead of helping their communities or only focusing on sermons. Historically, churches were social hubs, but now people have other options, like the internet to have a community.

People want to be part of something that makes a real difference in people’s lives, not just another social gathering. Churches need to focus on developing meaningful community and reliability if they want to stop people quitting.

People are not learning about God.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

At times, individuals attend church with the desire to connect with God, but they end up feeling confused or disconnected because they struggle to grasp the message being conveyed. As a result, they may eventually stop attending church altogether.

Decline in Religious Importance

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

According to PRRI, only about 16% of Americans say religion is the most important thing to them, and nearly 1 in 3 say it’s not important at all. This shift has happened over the last decade, with more people feeling this way now compared to before.

The reasons people stop going to church are complex and tied to various social, political, and personal factors. Some may feel disconnected from organized religion due to changing beliefs or experiences, while others may prioritize different aspects of their lives.

Others don’t see their parents strictly following religion or going to church, which affects their choices, too.

They Are Upset

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

People may stop attending church when they feel upset or disconnected from God, even if they are actively engaging in Christian practices. This could happen when individuals face challenges or hardships and feel that their prayers are unanswered or that God is distant. Despite their efforts to follow Christian teachings and participate in church activities, disappointment or disillusionment can lead them to question the relevance of organized religion in their lives.

They Felt Judged

Image Credit: Adobe Stock

If you watch Young Sheldon, you remember Mary and her family are outcasted because their elder son made the mistake of impregnating Judy outside of holy matrimony. When a family faces struggle and shame, they expect the Church and community to extend support and not shun them.

Incidents like these shake their faith in God and the church.

Scroll to Top