The #1 Reason People Leave Your Church (And Love Your Church)

People leave churches for all kinds of reasons.

They might move, their kids get older, their schedules change, the church moves to locations.

They also leave for theological reasons. Maybe a new pastor has a different bent on an important theological point. They may have changed the version of the Bible they preach from (not kidding on that one).

The preaching may have changed and it no longer feels as deep as it used to or now it’s too deep and isn’t focused on application like it used to be.

Some of the reasons are good and normal, some make pastors scratch their heads and wonder what happened.

What I’ve learned (and I don’t have a study on this), but I think the number one reason people leave your church is…

Your strategy.

Another way to put it: how you do church. 

Think about it.

Almost every church holds up Acts 2 as the model they are going after.

Almost every church and Christian would agree that we are to live out the great commission (making disciples) and the great commandment (loving God and others).

But how?

That’s strategy. That’s how you do church (for lack of a better word).

Your strategy is how you as a church uniquely live these things out.

Do you have small groups, classes, missional communities, men’s ministry, women’s ministry, a combination of these? That’s strategy, but they all get at how you disciple and connect people to each other.

What about kids and students? When do they meet? Do they serve? Attend the service? Are they off on their own? What role do they play in community groups?

All strategy.

How about preaching and music? Do you go line by line through a book of the Bible, jump around, preach topically? What kind of music or liturgy do you use? How often do you do communion?

All strategy.

Make no mistake pastor or church leader, when someone walks up to you on a Sunday morning and says, “We’re leaving”, if you press long enough, it will be the strategy, almost every time.

Now, this isn’t bad at all.

In fact, when this happens this should tell you that your strategy and culture are real and clear.

As well, this is also why people come to your church.

They often don’t know it, but your strategy is not only why they stay, but also why they come.


Because your strategy comes through everywhere. Your strategy on being simple, programmatic, attractional, missional or all 4, attracts them and others.