A reader here had the following observations about why attending a Church of God is no longer appealing:
Hi, I went online feeling a bit down, my reaction was to listen to a sermon maybe it would brighten up my day a little. I found a 3 part mini-series from Gary Petty (UCG) on why people leave titled: "Fed up with Church?" I thought maybe this might be the series where someone would finally shed light on why people like me have stopped attending with the COG's. Maybe he might call out what needed to be called out. Maybe he might say "we have a responsibility too" maybe he might have a real talk with people and admit leadership/church failures on peoples lives. Maybe he might have gotten this survey from former members.
Instead, from all the research he says he's done, this disappointing and anemic list is put together. No wonder this ended up a 3 part mini-series of about 2 minutes each. He gives three reasons and anyone who's been put through the ringer while attending any COG knows these reasons are not even close or major issues in those churches. This list was clearly not produced from reasons by former members.
Gary Petty says:
I’ve been doing some research on why people become disillusioned or fed up with the church. It’s interesting to read why people, you know, they do these surveys, why people say, “Yes, I’m becoming fed up or disillusioned with attending church”.
Reason #1 - I’ve been writing down these reasons that people give, is that the culture and values of the Bible seem bizarre in today’s world.
Reason #2 - “The Bible has no relevance to my everyday life.”
Reason #3 - We usually think of younger people, millennials, and others, who are sort of disillusioned with the church. I read something recently where the people older than them in their 30s and their 40s and even early 50s are getting fed up with their churches for an interesting reason. It seems their churches change their style, adding certain kinds of music and certain kinds of teaching to interest them when they were in their teens and their 20s.
I say: I feel like he and others ALWAYS pass over the real issues. Hearing his reasons left me more disappointed and less trustworthy of these leaders. A quick google search for "top reason why people leave the church" landed me on this very first site up at the top of search (he would have seen this): 10 Reasons Why People Leave Church
Now unlike Gary Petty, I will say this list is not compiled from reasons by former members, I got this off the first site on page one off a google search. Many people from many denominations could have been surveyed and yet these reasons below sound more relevant and I always here these reasons over and over again. Gary Petty, why won't you take the list below and address it?
Reason #1 - People leave the church when they don’t find Jesus. [some cog's try to minimize sermons about the person of Jesus, should focus on the gospel, not Jesus]
Reason #2 - People leave the church because they feel lonely. [being part of a cog can feel more isolating than you think, expect isolation from family, friends and in more common cases other members from within your group. Some cog's ruin marriages]
Reason #3 - People leave the church because they’re looking for something authentic. [I felt most fake and not authentic while attending a COG, to express myself was prohibited, I once poured my heart out to another member telling them I hadn't prayed for almost a year only to be judged and seen as scum. I explained my shame while praying while not doing what I was supposed to was making it hard for me to continue praying]
Reason #4 - People leave church because they are tired of being told how a “good Christian” will vote. [Although i was taught Christians shouldn't vote it was clear from sermons at the COG i attended that there was a disdain for the left because of their progressive policies and how many of them went against biblical views.]
Reason #5 - People leave the church when they feel like they need to become a carbon copy of an individual or ideal in order to be fully included and appreciated. [Some COG's expect you to talk, dress, act, and think the same claiming they are one body, one mind, one spirit. This can be dangerous especially when a leader has a narcissistic personality disorder, such leaders will continually use themselves as a measure of how others should be]
Reason #6 - People leave the church because they get turned off by social climbing, cliques, and nepotism. [An experience that turned me off was seeing the ministers of the HQ I attended drive in with their model of the year leased vehicles while members who contributed 3 tithes, offerings and other contributions were having to carpool. Furthermore, these ministers and wives rarely had lay members over for dinners or hung out with non-ministers. These same ministers preached about being hospitable Christians. I had a beat down, high-mileage car and was constantly told to do airport runs. Putting more miles on an already falling apart vehicle]
Reason #7 - People leave the church because of controlling leaders and unskilled teachers. [David C. Pack, say no more]
Reason #8 - People leave the church because of unresolved conflict. [I left worse than when I came in, fact!]
Reason #9 - People leave the church because they need less drama in their lives. [The COG's are a thriving cesspool of drama, internal fighting for recognition, members ratting each other out, members fighting over dating because the dating pool is so small, sins being exploited from the pulpit, control struggles, church correction over not sending in your money, people living one paycheck away from total collapse.]
Reason #10 - People leave the church when they can’t find community. [10 & 9 go hand in hand. No one talks to me now.]