Last week I wrote an article on the reasons why people are leaving churches. The response was so overwhelming that I knew that I needed to deal with this issue in a series.
Today I am writing about those who stay in churches when they should be leaving. Being a part of a church is very similar to being in a family or being in a community. For some the idea of leaving is more than they can bear. Some believe that it’s God’s will for them to stay even though the church doesn’t reflect the love of God or demonstrate the basic expression of His word. These are the reasons I’ve discovered why people remain in unhealthy churches.
- Comfort: Some church members have become so comfortable in their church that they would rather suffer in comfort than leave. The prophet Amos warned Israel about being comfortable in a land that was becoming defiled by evil (Amos 6:1).
When people become comfortable they become careless which gives them a false sense of security and creates pride which is a set up for a fall.
2. False teaching: One of the most damnable doctrines in an unhealthy church is if you don’t go to church you are going to hell. This motivates people to believe that their church attendance or church membership is the evidence of their salvation and everyone else who doesn’t go to church or belong to a church is doomed to hell. This one doctrine has created so much judgment in the church that alone it has created an unhealthy culture.
When people agree with unhealthy teaching that creates false doctrine it will make them prisoners in that religious culture. They are bound to stay even if the presence of God has left.
3. Laziness: People stay in unhealthy churches because they are lazy. In Hebrews 10:24-25 it talks about the assembling of the believers for the purpose of stirring each other to love and good works. Many lazy believers aren’t being activated to love and good works. They are lazy and ineffective and quite content in their state of going to church once a week and not going after the kingdom.
4. No leading of Holy Spirit: Galatians 5:16 says that if we are not led by Holy Spirit we will fulfill the lust of the flesh. So many Christians are led by their flesh because they have not had a real encounter with Holy Spirit. The flesh is the human nature. Some stay in unhealthy churches because it’s their nature to stay in a situation that is not beneficial for them. They are bound to dysfunction because they don’t anything else.
I’ve talked to and counseled many who remain when it is very clear that if they were led by Holy Spirit they couldn’t stay in a church that rejects Him. When a Christian lives by his own nature he will be guided by what he thinks or feels, there is no room in his heart for Holy Spirit to rule and govern his life.
5. Soul Ties: A soul tie is a connection to a person or a group that binds your soul which is your personality; the seat of your will, emotions, intellect and conscience, to that person or group.
This soul tie creates a loyalty that becomes greater than loyalty to the Lord. Some want to leave but they can’t because of the tie, the connection. It was a soul tie that created the tragedy of Lot’s wife (Gen 19:26). She had a soul tie to Sodom. She couldn’t leave it and she died. Her heart was connected to the city and when it was destroyed she was destroyed with it. Many believers can’t leave an unhealthy church because their link is to strong to it. That tie has to be broken through deliverance.
6. Fear: Fear can be a powerful motivator to keep people in an unhealthy church. Because some church leaders operate in a spirit of control they keep the people in fear.
Some are afraid of losing something, like rewards or salvation if they leave their church. I’ve heard of churches where when people leave the leaders encourages their members not to speak to them. I was on a recent Facebook conversation where several believers experienced this in their churches. Some stay when they know it is time for them to leave but fear is a powerful hold.
7. Guilt: One of the primary manifestations of the religious spirit that rules many church is guilt. Guilt says if you leave it’s your fault, something is wrong with you.Maybe you don’t know God like you say you do. It accuses you of sin. It’s a sin for you to leave us. You’re going to hell if you leave. Something is going to happen to you if you leave.
This is what guilt really does if you succumb to it. It cuts you off from agreement with God and closes your spirit to receive His wisdom.
What are your reasons for staying in an unhealthy church? Are you in an unhealthy church and you can’t leave? I would love to hear your comments. Please know that I would love to pray with you.