These Are the Top 5 Reasons People Leave Church, Study Reveals

Empty church
A study found five key reasons why people are leaving church. (Flickr/Creative Commons)

New research reveals that 31 percent of the adult U.S. population, approximately 65 million people, were at one time involved in church but have since left. This is approximately equal to the number of people still regularly attending church.

The study also found that more than 10 percent of adults still attending church are on their way out the door.

The top five reasons people gave for leaving are:

  1. The church was too judgmental. 
     
  2. The church bureaucracy was stifling.
     
  3. They didn't like the lecture style of preaching.
     
  4. The church was not where they encountered God.
     
  5. The church took a social or political stance they disagreed with.

The research was conducted by Dr. Josh Packard, director of the Social Research Lab at the University of Northern Colorado, for the purpose of understanding the size, make-up and motivations of the formerly churched population in the U.S.

Packard's findings are summarized in a newly released report titled, Exodus of the Religious Dones. Packard also wrote about these trends in his book Church Refugees: Sociologists Reveal Why People Are DONE With Church but Not Their Faith (Group).

According to Packard, "The people who are leaving the church in droves are not simply marginal Christians who decided to leave on a whim. They were at one time the church's staunchest supporters and leaders. And when they leave, they take irreplaceable institutional knowledge, experience and relational connections that will be hard to replace."


To contact us or to submit an article, click here.


Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!

  • Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for Only $24.97 and get a free gift. With your subscription, you'll receive Born For Significance by best-selling author Bill Johnson. View Offer

Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective