Magazine Article

The Care and Feeding of Adventists

Why do people leave the Church?


Top Five Reasons People Leave the Church (Returned Members):

  • I thought highly of it, but I had lost touch.
  • I thought highly of it, but I felt I could not live up to its standards.
  • It had become irrelevant to my life.
  • I was angry at the way it treated me.
  • I felt that it was cold and inflexible.

Ten significant life events in the year prior to no longer attending church:

  • Serious illness
  • Married/divorced
  • Relocated
  • Death in the family
  • Marital conflict
  • Graduation
  • Job change
  • Poverty
  • Illness in family
  • Lost job

Top reasons given to stop attending church:

  • No big issue; I just drifted away.
  • Lack of compassion for those hurting
  • Moral failure on my part
  • I did not fit in.
  • Too much focus on minor issues
  • Conflict in the congregation
  • Moral failures of members
  • Moral failures of leaders
  • Pressure from family or friends
  • Race, ethnic, or tribal issues