10 Reasons Why I Don’t Go to Church Anymore

This may shock some of you who know me well. In the past, many friends of mine knew the church as my “second home.” In fact, I was so “committed” to my local church that some people have even called me a “nun.” (I find that funny now.)

What?! Why?! What happened?!

These are the questions I’d get from my friends when I’d tell them that I don’t go to church anymore. (Or should I say, the institutional church that is.)

Well, nothing bad happened just to make things clear.

But here is a list of 10 reasons of why I left the institutional church.

1. Same old, same old. Opening prayer. Worship. Offertory. Announcements. Sermon. Communion. Closing Prayer. Closing songs. Go back to daily life. Next Sunday. Predictable. Nothing wrong with that per se. Just going in circles. Routine, for me, is a killer.

2. Cell group. Debate sessions or open discussions? Seems like everybody knows all the answers. Real friends or cell group mates? Ironically, people seem to know me; when in reality, they don’t.

3. Service. Obligation or excitement? Why can’t I be like David and “rejoice when they said, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’?” (Psalm 122:1)

4. Ministry. People or performance? Was I more burnt out or satisfied? Was I known for who I was or what I did? I can’t please everyone.

5. Go to see your friends or to seek God? (I’ve been told that people should go to church for God and not for their friends.) Why does having a relationship with someone, like in marriage, family or friendships, be any different than the relationships within the four walls? If we can relate with people naturally, doesn’t that say something about God? I think He feels loved when we love each other.

6. Follow God or follow your dreams? Is there a difference? Am I servant or a daughter?

7. “Christianese.” Why did I have to look or act different to be holy? Do all Christians have to sound alike? (Looking back, I think I sounded funny.)

8. Drawing near or becoming distant from God? Do I really have to do so much to get closer to Him? Doesn’t He live in and through me?

9. Preaching. Lesson plan or heart stuff?

10. Falling away or finding God? Why is one accused of falling away from the faith or even being rebellious when they don’t go to church?

Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not trying to attack the institutional church. Nor am I encouraging anyone to leave it if one experiences life there. I loved it for what it was growing up. And now I just came to a place in my life where I couldn’t deny my feelings that I kept hidden for so long. At the time, I never really allowed these things to surface because I feared that I’d lose my faith by questioning it. And I was also comfortable with where I was at…until I became honest with myself.

Surprisingly, my faith was strengthened as I allowed myself to question. And now I’ve transitioned from an “institutional” to an “organic” one. I found so much freedom and love in being the church instead of going to or even trying to do church (whatever that means). I’m not saying that everyone should follow this transition that I made but this seems to work for me at the moment.

I’m fully aware that not everyone feels this way about the institutional church. Life can still flow within an institution. But, I believe, there is only so much a person can grow within such a place because not all people can grow within the same flow. Life also can flow beyond the institution.

Know that everybody’s experience is different whether good or bad. The majority may have had good experiences within the institutional church but it does not invalidate the minority who’ve felt differently and so have left, just as I did. You know, wherever you are “[Jesus] will travel any road to find you.” (pg.184, The Shack)

But what about you? Do you have a similar story to share? I’d love to hear about it.

Here are some other posts you might want to read:

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85 comments

  1. Yes dear, the Lord is with you as you go through the transition of “seeking’ Him in a deeper level..He will reveal more of Himself to you as you seek Him, “alone”- not being known nor seen by anyone.
    God bless you as you spend time alone with God. I had been through such transition too and found it out good- so long as you keep reading your Bible. Don’t ever leave your door open to the enemy.

    1. Thanks Judy! As I’ve made this transition 2 years ago, I’ve found others who are on the same page as well. Aside from being alone with God, I’ve never been alone on this journey and found church to be more of a “being” instead of a “doing” with others who love God and whom God loves. :) Thanks for sharing Judy!

  2. I stopped going to THE church when it became a place of HOLY people. Rather than the place to be cleansed. When judgement from others came easily as breathing. When the word was misconstrued and used out of context. I realized that any book big enough like moby dick can tell me that he is the savior if used out of context. I left when it became the house of the righteous and not the house for the lost and searching. If my search brought me there, was it a crime to ask more questions? I left when it stopped being the place of worship and became the house of gossip. I needed a place with my God. And that just wasn’t it anymore.

    1. Sorry to hear that, Joseph. I’ve heard similar stories from friends. At the time, I didn’t know how to make a good defense because I couldn’t deny that things like that can happen- gossip, etc. People can get so caught up with trying to be holy and righteous that they forget that it’s about loving people. That’s enough to show me that one is holy and righteous.

  3. There can be traditional distortion which involves an institution or union. I myself was a person who strayed away from church in fear of rejection and accusation when my sin weighed heavy on my life. But church is really a place where sinners come together and help themselves and most importantly worship the one whom they adore.
    To win this race, I was deceived that I could do it on my own.. leading myself to a CARNAL Christian life. But that is just deceit by the fallen one. We need to help each other.. support each other and PRAY for each other and most importantly stop pointing fingers. For none are righteous, not even one.
    To find the right church or group.. is the greatest blessing ever.
    And having the nightmares of end days .. almost every day of my and as I see those strong in faith brought to their knees… and I know that the days are near.

    1. Yes Rose, it’s about being a people who love and support one another. I’m happy that I’ve found a group who’s on the same page and I’m blessed. Together we pray, encourage and remind each other of our righteousness in Christ and His love for us. Wherever we are in life, we know we can turn to each other and be rest assured that we’re not alone. BEING the church is freeing just sharing life together in God’s love as His children.

    2. This was very honest. Impressed!

      1. Thanks Deb! I just wanted to be honest. :)

  4. I totally agree with everything that you mentioned sister, I do not like to be controlled by a system or be restricted by the pastors vision nor excluded from the good members club because I don’t swallow everything the pastor says. As soon as I stopped attending my previous church the lord opened my eyes to the true gospel and all my fears were expelled one by one… Every scripture that gave me fear the lord showed me in the light of grace and they became a comfort to me. Instead of feeling insecure and out of place in the church I was attending I stopped trying to be like others and just enjoyed the love of Jesus and many people started experiencing the same liberty as I shared the truth with them in love. Everything became easy and I never got that heavy feeling anymore. :)

    1. Hi Byron, thanks for sharing. I’m happy the Lord has opened your eyes and has brought you to where you’re at and to share with others in that love. I love it when the church is just BEING themselves loving one another especially in an IC.

  5. You’re not alone! There are so many this is happening/ has happened to … Myself included! Never have I received revelation from God in ALL my years of church edifice attendance like I have on the back side of the wilderness with God and His awesome Word! Lo and behold; it’s all about Jesus! I had to go through the decades of “church” to fully appreciate where I am now. It was scary at first, but in a “is this ok?” kind of way.
    Today I am happier, more secure, and more mature in Christ than ever before. I had to *recede* in order to receive!

    1. Hey Ryan, I sort of had a similar question, “Is this ok?” when I made the transition. Funny because I relied so much on my IC to BECOME, that I didn’t know exactly how to BE myself. I came to a place where I had to fly out of my nest and find Jesus personally.

      1. That is so beautiful. Especially about just “being”. Thanks for your reply. Overcoming years of programming can be a process, but the Word in my heart bubbles up so freely and His truth frees so totally! Would like to have an organic church here in the states. Praying ….

  6. Jon Hamilton · · Reply

    Wow, If the church was all about you then you might have some valid points. But what if the church is about others? About the kingdom? About Jesus’ command to make disciples?

    1. This is what pisses me off… for God’s sake! The institution is not the church, it never was. WE ARE THE CHURCH. Let that sink in

      1. Couldn’t agree more. The institution is empty and void of the Holy Spirit. I will go further and say that the titles such as Pastor or Reverend are a problem, these titles go against the doctrine of the body of Christ which emphasizes equality. This tradition with its titles, labels the church goers as lay people, which is again totally ungodly, we are the children of God, fully endued and empowered by the Holy Spirit. No man-made institution could ever make us more.

    2. (I’ll pipe up on this one.) You are right Jon. I find that institutional church actually gets in the way of real relationships. So I too have left the institutional church and its program-centric approach to focus on relationships. Leaving the institutional church is about other people and making me more effective in meeting them and serving them.

  7. Ruth Tomlin · · Reply

    Amen! Love the people, but not the organization . Jesus is the Church and we are in Him, and His love, joy peace, patience, compassion, gentleness flows out through us to others. When the “church” realizes this and extols Jesus, reveals Jesus, preaches Jesus, loves Jesus, then this is when the “church” will draw outsiders in…Jesus said “If I be lifted up…extolled, glorified, worshipped, spoken of ,adored…I will draw all men unto Me… this is Church!!

    1. Yes Ruth, it’s Jesus’ life in and through us who makes us the church- His hands and feet!

  8. I’m not a pastor or paid staff at church but your questions did come up in my heart years ago.. however it didn’t stop me from not going to church.

    1. Same old, same old. – what would you suggest the church to do for every service? I know running a church service is not just a snap of a finger.. It takes time and lots of planning.. The church is doing their best to accommodate everyone.

    2. Cell group. – You got to look into yourself. What are you not sharing about yourself? What are you hiding from people in cell group? I have great friends in cell group and we share a lot, including some personal stuff.. It’s more to do with the people than the church.

    3. Service. – Rejoicing in the heart comes from within.. The church can’t make you rejoice.. David rejoices in the Lord is not because of his sheep or good weather.. It’s in his heart.. Don’t go to church looking for a rejuvenation, be rejuvenated BEFORE going into the service by spending time with the Lord in the morning.

    4. Ministry. – True ministry comes from the Lord, not for the Lord.. Often people get burnt out because they are trying to serve God and people.. People lack spending time with God, basking in His love before reaching out to the world, why? Because of the impression that people MUST be served ASAP – they MUST know the love of God ASAP.. Everything is quick quick and quick.. Serve out of REST, not works.

    5. Go to see your friends or to seek God? – Why not BOTH? The church is a great place to meet Godly people as well as place where we can worship the Lord together.. I met great friends at church and we grew in the Lord together.. Out of that, we then encouraging and building one another in our own walk in God, constantly pointing each other to God as our source of strength and truth.. Why does it have to be one or the other?

    6. Follow God or follow your dreams? – Get to know HIM first then questions like these won’t come up.. Knowing God is the only thing that God wants us to have.. Out of our intimacy with Him, we would know His heart and He will put His desires in our heart. So what about our dreams? Some might dream to be a pilot, some dream to be successful entrepreneurs.. Those dreams are not wrong? Who said we can’t serve the Lord with those dreams? I think the only way NOT to serve / follow God is by denying ourselves from pursuing what’s in our heart.

    7. “Christianese.” – Define “Christianese”.. I advise is BE YOURSELF.. When we bask in His love, having great intimacy with Him, you’ll be like Him.. Our holiness is not by our production, it’s His.. Who said we can’t have fun like others and yet maintain our integrity and holiness of Christ? The difference is we are more aware of the surrounding and happier without the need of alcohol or any substance to make us “happy”..

    8. Drawing near or becoming distant from God? – How does it draw you away from Him? God doesn’t need your performance to qualify His presence. God doesn’t need your justification to maintain His presence.. JESUS is your justification and qualification.

    9. Preaching. – This has become a very common in Western churches.. Lots of “advice” and lack on the Word.. However, don’t completely disregard the preaching altogether. Give God the opportunity to speak to you from the “boring” preachings.. If you disregard it altogether, you just missed the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to speak to you.. Most of the time (if not all the time) I get out something totally different from what the preacher shared at the pulpit..

    10. Falling away or finding God? – Going to church doesn’t make you any holier than you sleeping at night.. Just like you driving through McDonalds and you don’t come out a Big Mac.. Not going to church is just a missed opportunity to fellowship with other people and friends.. You’ll never know what God can bring when we having fellowship with others.. Of course one will justify by saying “we can fellowship some other time”, yes but then you’re limiting to that opportunity.

    Hope this helps because God is good.

    1. WELL GOOD FOR YOU MAN.

      How about this…
      We, His people, are the CHURCH.
      Jesus came for the LOST. We can do the same by being the church (US, the CHURCH) to others. Now that’s an opportunity we all tend to miss out because we’re too busy fellowshipping with “godly” people. Wait, “godly” people? Hmm y’all must be a 100% sinless.
      And what drove us to want to know God at the first place? and want to continue to know him more without having any questions?
      I believe we’ve all been rejuvenated a long time ago when Jesus saved us WHILE we were still sinners. Now I can sincerely say that God is good because I don’t have to cry out daily for deliverance or whatever it is that you’re “supposed” to do. We are saved and loved UNCONDITIONALLY.

      I did not find Jesus in the institution, in books or sermons. I found him in my family, friends and certain people because of God’s love that shone through them. :)

      1. William Tan · ·

        Good thing I attended New Creation Church and Andrew Wommack ministries

      2. It’s sad to see yours and other churches are bound to legalism. But do all pastors preach legalism or condemnation to the congregation?

        I believe the best way to “judge” a church is by looking at their fruits. What have they produced out of the church? How are their members behave and carry themselves?

        I do not believe in all churches are bad and neither I believe in self-church is good either like most of the people here.

        Pastors are called by God Himself and we can see if the pastors are legit by looking at their fruits.

        One might say “I don’t go to church and I let God teach me Himself”. That way also opens up for the devil to come in and put thoughts in their mind just like Adam and Eve. The accuser of brethren comes in and twist God’s word (including pretending to be the voice of God), causing us to go astray from His true Word.

        I think we need to hold fast onto the Word of God, Jesus, and believe in His amazing Grace, also Jesus. With this, wherever we go, whatever church we attend, the Holy Spirit will interpret for us, be it little or much, God can use them for our good.

  9. It’s true. I sometimes wonder about the church when the teachings become teachings of logic and reason rather than teachings of faith and love. But even though it sometimes happen to the church, I hold a glimmer of hope that the leaders of the institution will go back to what is important. I understand that you’re not attacking the church rather you’re attacking the ways, or the lack of them. Yet there are still people who find love and life in these churches. But when I sense that going to church has become too routine, I get a bit lost but God provides ways for me to grow alone or with my closest of friends. As it is, there really is no harm to go to church unless the church is spouting false teachings, I still go to check on its growth and to make friends, even with all its faults, it is still a house of God. :)

    1. Nazarina · · Reply

      We are the house of God; we are the church:)

      1. Enough said. :D

      2. Amen.

  10. Will, those are all good questions, but it really doesn’t address the core problem. The Western “church” is not in good health these days. Remy has found something far more organic, supportive, encouraging. There’s no paid clergy on the stage giving her a religious lecture while she sits as a spectator (we can get the world’s best religious lectures all over the internet). Her church is now a participatory, inclusive, global sanctuary without walls or paid professional staff. And in the Spirit in which this is presented, I see nothing here that “attacks” the IC or those remaining in it.

    You may be surprised at the number of people leaving the IC and embracing these new models of organic virtual + F2F Jesus community.

    1. Thanks for seeing my heart, Jon. I appreciate your sharing. :)

    2. Deborah Kiblinger · · Reply

      Yes, thanks John. Well said.

  11. Michael · · Reply

    From 20 to 30 I attended 6 different college-age/young adult ministries being forced to move from one to the next. After the one I was currently attending would shut down or after the whole church closed its doors, I would find the new one that was starting up like clock work. In hind sight, I’m really glad God closed them because the core group/klick hurt a lot of people. It was amazing to see the same thing happen over and over. The biggest mistake i made was thinking that because somebody went to church they had the same motivation as me. I was far too trusting and assumed we were equals. Wanting to be a part of the body and serve God. But it became clear that church for most is just a popularity contest and has nothing to do about Jesus. It actually insults me when some of those same people invite me to their current church. Now if they wanted to hang out outside of church I would be great with that. But only inviting me to Sunday church is just so they can get a gold-star and a pat-on-the-back. But they don’t really care as they practice their religion and so I pray that they too may find Jesus someday and learn to love.

    Interesting blog, thanks for sharing. Number one reason why I don’t go is because their isn’t one that’s free from the strangle hold of religion, who practice authentic Christianity. Its been about 2 years since attending now, and I’ve never been happier and I’ve grown so much closer to God after getting away from all the guilt trip sermons. Tho that being said, I still desire a place to go, but I won’t attend a wolf-in-sheeps-clothing kinda place, as tho that’s better then nothing. It’s not.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Micheal. It sad to see some churches head that way without notice and people get hurt. I believe you’ll find a place that’s more relational or rather a people that you’ll be at home with. Bless you, brother.

  12. Do you know the one thing that can separate you from the Love of God? I don’t either because the word clearly states that “Nothing can separate us…….”, So you are fine. The word also says fail not the assembling of the Saints, so evidently there is intended to be fellowship with one another, and not just a striving to get “closer to God”. I would admonish you to never let anyone’s opinion of you influence your opinion of yourself, unless that person has died for you. So many of the “Institutional” churches still teach law, and it certainly sounds like you have been affiliated with your fair share of them. Much of the confusion arises out of the fact that Jesus, Himself a Jewish Rabbi, taught the Law, prior to the Cross. It was his Crucifixion that ushered in the New Covenant, and did indeed do away with the Law. Prior to that, it WAS about performance, now it IS about identity. The Cross has two sides: Redemption, which everyone acknowledges, but also Sanctification. Yes, you are Righteous, because of the Cross. All of your sins were forgiven, past, present, and future. You ARE a Saint. There is nothing you can DO, to earn any of it, but there is also nothing you can DO to lose it. It works both ways, because you are now a Child and joint heir. All He has is yours, just as is the case with Jesus. Because of your identity, you will have NO judgment day. 2,000 years ago a sacrifice was examined and found to be spotless and wholly acceptable for the redemption of all of your sins, so YOUR judgment has already occurred. Those who still teach legalism would have you believe otherwise, and try to keep you under condemnation for not tithing, attending every service, etc. I would implore you to shop around for a “church” where the pastor teaches the Grace Message, to the exclusion of the Law. You will know it when see it and hear it. Because that is the “Truth”, and that is probably what you have been searching for in the various assemblies you have attended. I attend a small non-denomination, non-institutional church called Grace Covenant Worship Center in Hogansville, Georgia, and it is just such a church. I would invite you to our website gracecovenantworship.com and in the privacy of your home, listen to a teaching or two from our Pastor, Alex Montgomery. I can sense that you are a real blessing to your family and friends, and they are fortunate to have you in their lives. Stay Blessed, Dear Saint. Ron Jackson

    1. LOVE IT!

    2. Hi Ron, thank you for sharing that encouragement. I’ve found a lot of these with a group of friends and my husband. We come together once in a while and share the grace message which we are very into like you.

    3. By the way, great website, Ron. Check out our website too – http://www.joshuatongol.com. We have great resources as well. Bless you! :)

  13. For 1700 years there has been a question waiting to be asked. Every reformer in Church history has had the opportunity to ask it, but has not. Perhaps the question was awaiting the proper timing, God’s timing. Tyndale, Luther, and the Anabaptist all asked important questions; questions that changed history at that time.

    Today there is a mass exodus from traditional churches, estimated at one million per year. There are literally untold millions more, who will never darken the doorway of any type of church. This is happening in America, which was, at one time, accepted as the world’s most Christian nation. Everyone who cares about these matters is wondering why this is. Books have been written, blog posts without end, Church growth seminars, and much more. All are attempting to answer this daunting question, “Why has Church failed?”

    Ask the right question, and you can change your world. If enough people ask the right question, it just might change the entire world. What is the right question?

    Was Church God’s Idea?

  14. Steve Fortner · · Reply

    Check out a great pod cast at http://www.theGodJourney.com. A couple guys sharing Jesus outside the 4-walls of Church. Really touches non-church type Believers.

    1. My husband heard a lot of them before. It’s great! I love Wayne Jacobson. :) Did you read his book- So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore?

    2. Deborah Kiblinger · · Reply

      Hey Steve! I love The God Journey. Their podcast was one of the first things I bumped into after leaving IC about three years ago. What a breath of fresh air! Took a lot of guilt off of me and started the healing. Wayne’s recently had some more seasoned brothers sharing their journey. It’s been so refreshing and endearing. I can hear the same tenderness in their voice that I heard in my dear grandmother who loved the Lord.

  15. No longer attend the brick & Mortar. looking for people who understands and want to fellowship and became friends. We are already brothers & sisters Jesus has done that. I live in the Chicago area. If there is any Organic church (people) Life in this windy City someone let me know. In need of family I could write a book on my experiences dealing with hurt clearer ship that hurt and spiritually abuse the lives of the innocent and vunerable.. Thank you for posting this.

    1. No problem, bro. :) You’ll find people on the same track as well.

  16. Conway Corbello · · Reply

    Thank you for sharing! I have not found other like- minded believers to fellowship with yet, but I am DEFINITELY done with the institutionalized church scene. I just can’t swallow the game and the contradiction with scripture any more. Your story is very encouraging, and helps me stay on the right track!

    1. I’m glad that you’ve found some encouragement here, Conway. I’m sure you’ll find like-minded people on the way. I’ve found a group of friends on the same track as well. :)

  17. Where in the Bible that says, Do not “forsake” the assembling of the saints?

    1. Hebrews 10:25, Does that translate to “go to ‘church’ on Sundays?” Focusing on relationships and being mutually committed with others to God’s mission is a better “gathering” than going to a meeting once a week, staring at the back of someone’s head where only one person is allowed to speak and he only says what he thinks you need to hear and then calling it “church.”

    2. It’s Heb 10, but today we’re gathering both locally and virtually with others all over the world. There are few if any NT -prescriptions- for exactly how a “gathering” should happen. This is especially important when you consider today’s standard “church service” — which is little more than an invention of early Roman religious culture. In the spirit of Heb 10, I enjoy “gathering” with a few people to share life, faith, needs, ideas, encouragement…. Nobody is in charge, there are no clergy figures, nobody is paid, there is no formal order of events, no religious titles, no offering…. but in fact we all share various “roles” in pastoring, teaching, experiences, encouraging, and mostly a lot of loving playful childlike nonsense.

      I think Jesus came to give us these kinds of creative human freedoms, not to make us into pew sitting laity robots.

      1. John, that’s a good one. :)

  18. This blog is great food for thought :) I appreciate you trying to share your experience and your thoughts. I hope people stop taking this as you imposing what you believe and have gone through as proper or better than the “institutional” or “conventional”. I agree with all your points even though I still go to Church regularly. We are all unique individuals, different from one another, and will thus find, experience, worship and serve God differently. As long as our true focus is God’s love in Jesus Christ, the differences aren’t supposed to matter in the end, really. :) God bless you Remy!

    1. That’s nice if you to share, Jill. I appreciate you. It’s not about which is better, it about experiencing life and love with people together. :)

  19. Glad you’ve started this blog Remy. I have been listening to Josh’s stuff for a while… which has been great encouragement to me. About 4 years ago I started to think something is not right here… we were heavily involved in ministry in our local congregation. But continued to stick it out, thought we might get involved in a house-church movement in another city. We moved towns and got involved in another congregation, but found the same empty relationships, pressure to “do” stuff. Could only connect with others when you were “doing”. Then we found out about grace, the finished work of Jesus and are continuing to jump into the richness of life in Christ. We decided to not attend a building a few months ago… and to tell you the truth I haven’t missed it at all. We minister to our children regularly and they seem to have more questions than ever before and want to know things. We do get together with other Christian friends from time to time. I am thinking of maybe gathering together some believers I know who no longer go to church.. but not sure…. I sure don’t want to start a “church”. How do you guys meet with other believers.. what do you do together? Where do you meet? Bless you so much… it’s pretty big putting your thoughts out there… it seems many can misinterpret stuff or not get where you are coming from. Love from Australia :)

    1. Hi Fiona! I sure do know how you felt. I, too, was heavily involved with ministry. I loved it at the time but I reached a place where I couldn’t deny the emptiness I was feeling despite the relationships I built. I also don’t miss going but I do miss the people. :) We have a group of friends who are on the same page as well. We meet when we can and when we do, we share grace, our thoughts, encouragements, love and life together. We sometimes meet up at a coffee shop, chill at the mall or have a BBQ at a friend’s place. (We love to eat!)

      I am aware that others would misinterpret me but it’s ok. :)

  20. Deborah Kiblinger · · Reply

    Hey Remy. Thanks for starting this blog. Great first entry. About four years ago I was just burnt out and craved relationship so badly. My story is so similar to most of those that have already posted. I started to get really depressed because I had been in this (my last IC) for over four years and the relationships were so superficial. My heart was heavy. I wanted relationship but it was always tied to doing more at church. So many demands. I didn’t leave angry, I left empty because I had nothing more to give. I couldn’t give enough and they kept asking for more and more. When I told them I would be leaving I was told by someone on staff that, “You’ll be missed! You did so much here!” Maybe that was meant as a compiment but it cut deep to think that I would be missed only for what I did : (

    I appreciate you and Josh so much and love sharing the journey with you. Thanks again.

    1. Thank you, Deborah! Thanks for sharing here. I have also felt the same way at times- did they know me for me or for what I did although I’ve made good relationships with a few (which I still cherish). So when I left the IC, I also felt that same emptiness. But I was excited to see where the Lord was going to take me and to my surprise He brought people into my life just to show me He loves me for me. There’s so much freedom in that kind of love. We are privileged in sharing this journey with you, knowing and loving you for you. We cherish you, Deborah! :)

  21. sonyac. · · Reply

    thanks for sharing your heart, remy. i experienced something similar. didn’t want to “do” church at all. but funny thing is, God has called my husband and I to church plant of all things! (eek). totally get it, though. many in our church are “dechurched”. need prayers for our people (the church) to fix their eyes on Jesus and not on faulty Christian people. (facetiously stated, but totally serious)– blessings! – sonya c.

    1. Thanks for sharing as well, Sonya. I know what you mean by “dechurched.” Back when I was in my IC, I would get tired at times and just wanted to talk to someone than to stay in the service haha. :)

  22. eden grace · · Reply

    thanks for having this blog,remy. this is great!well, i also have the same experience. there are so many demands,before you could share or even start a cell group,they need to check if your equip(training for leadership, victory weekend, one-to-one etc..), commitment, check your heart all those stuff. there’s a time that i share about Jesus to a newbie at church but someone intervene,she ask for two minutes to talk to me,,she just ask me why am doing this..who is my leader? am i already a leader??(whaaaaaaaaaaattt?? it hurts me.).they are weighing people how long they’ve been on church..lets say its performance base..i left the church because whenever i attend the service,i found myself criticizing it,..- them..what happen is, me & my friend – real friends(we called ourselves “beloved”) are sharing about Jesus (Grace) every week.we text each other to meet even if we don’t have our bible w/ us,we just share how God made our day better etc..then i share grace to my leader & other cell group however they found it heretic,they even ask me if am reading my bible still because they say its out of the context.. every time i share they always ask me how did i have that thinking,,”give us scripture, Eden..”,for me there are thoughts in our hearts that our mind can never understand..when i talk to my leader about leaving the church,she told me that absorb only those message that im hearing in the service but don’t leave the church..when i heard this,it saddens me bec i cant stay anymore.me & my friend have the same issue that is why we leave the church & also we felt that the relationship that they have for us became superficial & blunt.we are not angry w/ them, we still love them form the time that we became friends, but we dont know w/ them bec they dont greet us anymore whenever we saw them @ the mall.haha.

    now one church w/c is grace centered adopt us. thank God.some of my friends are musicians.they play every sunday,,we still have our separate meetings.still am not able to attend church bec i have work every sunday.but its not a problem..God is omnipresent..

    sorry if its very long remy..cant help sharing..maybe i should start creating my own blog haha.hope to see you again in Reign in Life Church.you & Josh already visited our church here in the Philippines…again thanks remy..keepsafe..bless your heart! -edenlovesjesus

    1. No problem Eden! We might have had a similar experience. So even when I left, I didn’t find myself criticizing, just realizing the definition of church in a different light- real people sharing in the freedom of a grace filled love same as you. Thanks for sharing, Eden :)

  23. Il left because they were playing and making false promises. They used me like a tampon and threw me away…… JESUS is LOVE they need Him.

    1. I’m sorry that happened to you, Dawn. The institutional church (IC) doesn’t intend that to happen. It just happens sometimes even at a working environment. People can get caught up making false promises and use others. Yet it’s sad when we get “used” and not be known for who we are. Just to let you know that not every IC is like that. (The ICs I last attended and served weren’t like so.) What I just shared here were the doubts I had about it. And yes, they need some lovin’ too. :)

  24. We left our home church in 2004, in search of something more biblical. We visited a couple and really liked, we ended up focusing on a particular church thinking it was the answer. Months after I realized its all the same! Though it was more traditional, word for word preaching, no “pastor”, but elders. Later, I realized it was all the same, my home church was becoming a mega church and thought that was the problem. But it wasn’t the style of the church it was the traditions and rituals like you stated on 1. The rituals and traditions was killing me. I thought to my say, “why do they do this? Is this biblical? I got me first real taste of religion. Though they spoke of relationship, it was far from it. The #5 our friends were centered around church walls, not much outside, especially even now since we have been gone…we pretty much are lepers now! You mentioned on #2..CELL GROUPS. we were part of a Sunday school class, which turned out to be more intimate but to find out the curriculum in the class was more designed on what the church wants. The class was free flowing at times, but during the multi million dollar building campaign they made every class teach on stewardship. I mean it was propaganda! The whole teach was about how we should give to the new building and when I question the huge expanse and financial strain this could be I was scolded during class. All your 10 points are spot on. I would like to go back to church, but because of the feelings I have it is EXTREMELY hard! I often battle with guilt and sorrow over not going. Many times I am quite content and feel like I did the right thing, then at times, especially on Sunday is where I struggle.

    I would like to get my boys to experience church life, and feel if I don’t I am causing them them to stumble. but when I look at the church today and see what it has become, what are they missing? Its all the same, its cookie cutter style has been around for hundreds of years. The morning service consists of . music, then shaking hands, then sitting down, then standing up for worship, then sitting down to pass the plate around then often a solo song and then the 20 minute sermon and then you leave and more than likely you don’t see them again till next Sunday. Is that truly how its supposed to be? Or are we just to expect nothing else and just tolerate what we have and deal with it?

    Sorry for the rambling on just needed to get somethings off my chest.

    1. Hey Mike, it’s all good. I feel you, brother. It can be confusing when we mix ‘doing’ church with ‘being’ the church. Church life can be found within the institutional church (IC) for some and it can be found organically outside of the IC for others as well. Community of believers should not be restricted to only one form of worship or service within the building. It also found beyond the building. I hope you will find such a community.

      My husband has a teaching on ‘Being The Church’ at http://www.joshuatongol.com that can be of help to you.

      Blessings and love to you and your family. :)

      1. Thanks I will check it out. It is frustrating at times. But I do trust and hope that a community will arise whether God leads me to start or bring me too. Living in the bible belt those sort of communities are considered un bibilical, if your not in a church Sunday morning there is something wrong in your life.

        blessings
        Mike

  25. [...] 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Go to Church Anymore (remytongol.wordpress.com) [...]

  26. Guest too · · Reply

    I started going to church because I was seriously committed to Jesus as my Lord and Savior. However I found that many Pastors had no problems manipulating and lying to collect that ten percent in tithe money, even if it meant using fear and condemnation or quoting an Old Covenant Malachi 3:8-9 curse that does not apply to those in Christ after his death on the cross.

    Once I read Galatians 3:13 “Christ has redeemed us from the curse I now find it hard to believe anything most of these Pastors said. Sad part is they still hold on to the Malachi 3 curse to collect their pay and gullible robots don’t question it or read that if you’re in Christ he nailed all curses to the cross which means this voids the Malachi curse even over not having ten percent to always pay. After reading my entire bible and understanding that Jesus said It is Finished as in Paid in full and not Pay in Full i can no longer trust these Pastors to have my best interest at heart. My passion for church has waned. The ironic part is I have always been a generous giver, but I draw the line when I have been manipulated or lied to.

  27. Guest too · · Reply

    Most Christian tithe and think it is okay to see a fatherless kid not have a decent coat or shoes in the winter cause the church controls who you give to with that bring all the tithes into the store house crap. Jesus said what you do to the least of those is done unto him. There is little room for compassion outside of who the church tells you directs you to help and give to. Shame for shame many feel justified in walking pass that struggling widow or single parent with kids with holes in their shoes cause the Pastor said they must not be tithing or they’d be blessed with prosperity. Sounds like an excuse to not help the poor but hurt the poor. Sad
    In my city most of the Protestant churches are closed on Christmas one of the most important Christian Holy Days with the exception of Easter named after a pagan goddess. So much for doing ones job as required. If you Church leaders want to be taken seriously then do your jobs and open up on Christmas so families can bring their unsaved loved ones can come as a family with their believing loved ones but that is too much like keeping it real and not fake.

  28. [...] 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Go to Church Anymore [...]

  29. Love it, totally agree.

  30. THE BASICS:
    It seems to me that Institutional religious sites miss the real point.
    UNLESS YOU HAVE A PERSONAL AND INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH G-D (HIMSELF), NOTHING HAS ANY VALUE WHAT-SO-EVER. YEP, EVERYTHING IS PRETTY MUCH PURE VANITY, AND JUST ANOTHER HEAD GAME WE MORTALS PLAY HERE ON PLANET EARTH.
    AND;

    THERE IS ONLY “ONE WAY” TO ENTER INTO THAT PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH G-D (HIMSELF).
    EVERYTHING ELSE IS NOTHING MORE THAN MANIPULATION OR GOSSIP IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER.

    THE REASON YAHSHUA (THE SON OF G-D) DID WHAT HE DID WHEN HE CAME TO PLANET EARTH WAS TO PURCHASE THE “RIGHT” TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT SO WE COULD HAVE THAT INTIMATE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH G-D (HIMSELF)

    YES, AND THE COST TO YAHSHUA WAS HIS SHED BLOOD, AND HIS LIFE!

    THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS INSIDE YOU; YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
    MORTAL MEN GO TO CHURCH. I GO TO THE HOLY SPIRIT.
    MORTAL MEN ALSO GO INSIDE THE CHURCH. I GO INSIDE THE HOLY SPIRIT.
    MORTAL MAN’S CONCEPT OF “CHURCH” IS AN ORGANIZATION.
    MY CONCEPT OF “CHURCH” IS ECCLESIA!
    THE MEETING TOGETHER WITH OTHER BELIEVERS SEEMS TO ME TO BE JUST WHAT IT SAYS. JUST MEETING TOGETHER WITH OTHERS .(IT CAN BE AS SIMPLE AS WHAT YOU ARE DOING HERE ON THIS WEBSITE, AS WELL AS SITTING DOWN WITH EACH OTHER IN GODLY CONVERSATIONS.

    May we all continue growing in Yahshua
    Randy

  31. Kymberly · · Reply

    Hi, this is a great article. You pretty much described me where you stated “I loved church for what it was when I was growing up but now I’ve come to a place in my life where I can’t deny the feelings that I kept hidden for so long.”
    I was very active in church for years. I sang in the choir and on the praise team, I led worship. I walked right, talked right, dressed right, listened to the right kind of music (no secular). I did everything I was taught good Christians are supposed to do. On the outside I appeared to be happy and led the perfect life but on the inside I felt bound by rules and ideas that I did not agree with. I saw how other Christians who dared question things were treated, they were ostracized, called backslidden, rebellious. I didn’t want that so, I hid my true feelings even from myself for years.
    Today at 40 years old, I am being honest and embracing my true self. I still love God but I don’t need to go to church to feel good and accepted by Him. I believe in God, but I no longer believe in the way the “church” has presented Him to me. I believe I can live a full, happy life and productive life by pursuing my goals and using the talents he has given me.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing and reading.

    1. Edward Macon · · Reply

      Thanks,you hit right where I’m living now,I just don’t know how to leave.

  32. Thank you. I feel like you bundled up all my thoughts on why I don’t go to “church” and presented them perfectly. Love it.

  33. {Why is one accused of falling away from the faith or even being rebellious when they don’t go to church?}

    No kidding, eh? I’ve gotten this SO MANY TIMES! I’m not “backslidden” or “rebellious” just because I’ve chosen not to attend Sunday services any more. In fact, maybe my faith is even stronger! It’s not for others to judge.

    I have several posts on this at my other blog. Thanks for linking to my blog, Should Be Reading.

  34. Hi Remy! I’m very much grateful to God because of what you dare to say! I have quite a similar experience. I have been looking to ‘integrate’ a church since 4 years, but without success. I haven’t found a place where I can express myself, simply being who I am. What I have found is legalism. Many have told me that I don’t look like a Christian, because of my short hair (I’m a girl), my tattoos, and my piercings. Many have told me what I should believe in, even though my heart was quietly telling me that it was not right… I don’t go to church anymore, it hurts too much!
    Thank you for speaking out!

  35. The Church is not for the unsaved or the unrighteous….the church is for the Body of Christ (Believers).

  36. Great words and in so many ways, true! I like your distinction between GOING to church and BEING the church. Oh to have both!
    toddstocker.com

  37. Thank you for writing this!
    I went to church growing up, but it was a church run by my family. It wasn’t anything like any of the churches where I live now. The church had to be shut down, however, so I don’t go to church anymore. We’ve looked around in our new town but they all seem to be the same as how you’ve explained.. routined, more about making friends, and performing. I now go to a Christian university, and whenever people ask what church I went to and I say “I don’t go to church” they look at me weird. It’s sad they don’t know that God doesn’t care whether we go to church or not, as long as we know and love him.

  38. Hi Remy,

    I know the Word says, “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, especially as you see the day of the Lord approaching” and we are given gifts to help build up the Body of Christ. But, my motivation to attend church has been fading. The Word says there will be a great falling away in the last days. I don’t want to be among that number. So, what is the answer?

    What are the benefits of going to church, belonging to a body of believers? Fellowship. Helping each other through difficult times. Encouragement. “Where two or more are gathered in Jesus’ name, He is present.” And there’s a collection/grouping of the gifts of faith, teaching, healing.

    It’s clear by the New Testament that Christians are not flawless. There were divisions, wolves in sheep’s clothing in the church, disputes, and sin in the early church. But, we expect believers to be above all that. It seems we all have at least one weakness (sinful tendency) and one gift of the Spirit that stands out. And those weaknesses can really stumble one another.

    I think keeping our eyes on Jesus is important. He’s the only perfect one. And even he upset people. A day didn’t go by that he didn’t say something that turned someone off or created a ruckus. And Jesus was God in the flesh! Maybe we should focus more on the one gift each person has?

    I do know that my family member was a mean, cruel person, and when Jesus came into his life, he became kind. I know that my father who had terrorized me on many occasions let Jesus in, and he became more humble and able to express love. My other family member was hooked on crystal meth. He let Jesus in, and he was completely free with no withdrawals, and he never touched the stuff again. I was guilt-ridden and ashamed of my life, Jesus came in and took away the guilt and replaced it with confidence, love and purpose, and removed my desire for alcohol. So, God is real and able. And each of us were among a group of believers when we experienced these transformations. Those meetings provided us with a venue to experience God’s love and power first-hand.

    Maybe the issue is not with the church, but ‘a church’. Maybe we should check out some other churches, who preach the Word, but where we sense God’s love and power at work?

  39. Why do I have to go to church? Because that is where the living resurrected Jesus Christ is, healing, saving and making folks new again! This living Jesus we experience through his Holy Spirit. After Jesus Christ died on a cross to pay for our sinfulness, and was raised from the dead to make us into a new creation, he left his Holy Spirit to who?, a gathering of his disciples, a church!
    If you claim to be a Christian and you are not part of his church, then you may be playing the fool with your soul, thinking you know him as your savior, when all you do is just remember words about him from your past

  40. I love Jesus but I’m beginning to loathe organized religion with its leadership’s control over people’s wallets, time and mind but my major reason is when I found out how much many of them lie about the tithe. They cherry pick one law over the others in Leviticus and quote Malachi 3:9 to collect their pay with no understanding that Matthew 5:17-18 means Jesus fulfilled the law and we are now under his grace period. There are now only two laws in the New Covenant. They are to love God and your neighbor which most church goers miss and it is very disheartening and loathe some.

  41. Thank you for writing this and presenting your reasoning eloquently.

  42. After reading and hearing much about the history of the bible and the contradictions within it I have come to several conclusions about it.
    It may have been written as a warning AGAINST Religious beliefs and thus we should just get one with our lives.
    The murders and their justifications are so outrageous till it just boggles the mind, the Bible as it is written we are to follow to a T (Yes it is written)
    I’m sure someone will try to break it down for me but it is what it is. Period!
    It is a government approved book, at the time the king demanded a copy and he gave his stamp of approval the king was the government and yes our so-called churches must obey you government even to this day or else lose tax status and so they don’t get involved deeply in politics.
    The original scriptures are being held at a church known for child molestations? And all the other churches dare not speak out against a ultra rich mega church such as the Catholic Church is.
    The Bible was a story stolen right out of Africa and where did that story come from, well you need to look no further than the caves of Africa where a story of a serpent was written about and or the story of snakes shedding their skin.
    The so-called Christian Church is a place where they have tuned it into a battlefield of read between the lines and who can say what they say the best and are too cowardly to say to come right out and say it to your face.

    Follow any of them home and see how they truly live.

    A fashion show a car show can you say American Idol in the church house???

    You don’t hafta go to your TV set for gossip it’s right in the church house only it’s about the people ya hang out with.

    I can speak to the creator on my own I don’t need some guy or gal who can’t even get their own s*** together to tell me “I’m not living right”.

    The church is a lie the bible if it is not 100% intact is a lie especially if it will not be allowed to have its true origins written within it.

    The Bible is according to its own language is one only 3,000 years old yet the earth is billions? And why did God stop speaking to those characters and not keep on speaking to us today? I’m sure somebody would listen and pass the word along.

    I’m sure someone would love stone their kid to death for being disobedient or someone would love to pull his eye out or whatever penalties are in the bible.

    From my view the only reason why people cling so hard to the bible is out of fear of death.

    You mean to tell me all we do in heaven is worship God all day and night and that’s the only reason why we have gone through birth life and death???

    Give me a break!!!

  43. […] fashionable to “love Jesus” but have no need for church. Famous authors, bloggers, ministry leaders, and the average Christian are doing this. If you doubt it, you can read why hundreds of […]

  44. Caroline Hemingway · · Reply

    Great blog Remy,
    I have been on the same journey over the last two years. My husband and I spent the last 15 years planting churches and ministering and somewhere along the way we began to question the validity of what we were doing. Being stuck in the Institution undergoing training and equipping endlessly then not actually getting out there and making a difference to people’s lives became a frustration for us,We also realized that we were part of a mindset that says, “some are in and some are out” and this bothered us and raised a lot of questions for us. We decided to leave institutional church as we no longer believed in the system even though we loved Jesus. This strengthened our faith as we embraced all people with no hidden agendas. We decided to give to the community by becoming foster parents and for us it has been a wonderful journey. We realize how religious we were (even though we would never have said so before) and how judgmental the system can make you. We feel liberated even though many of our “friends” now no longer want to associate with us as we have fallen away (whatever that means) but we also realized that our friendships were based on our function in the church and that there was no real friendship there. We have also tried to explain to people that they need to walk the journey they are on – some will need institutional church but for others they need to move past that to grow. We feel there is no one expression that is right or wrong – you have to follow your heart. Thanks for a great post.

    1. Caroline — You perfectly express our experience.

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