The real reasons the unchurched don't attend church

Yesterday, I featured a post about why people attend church.

Today, I give you this post about why non-christians are NOT attending church:

Of course, this is NOT a real study… but a graphic compiled by Chris Rosebrough… one of my discernment friends.

He also lists scripture references for each point.

I’d like to hear what YOU think about this.

How does this correlate with how you see the work of the church in evangelism?

How does this relate to how your church relates to the non-Christian.

I was challenged on Twitter that I would ignore this study.  OK… I took the bait.  🙂

What do YOU think?  Is this helpful at all in understanding the unchurched, non-christian mindset?

Leave your comment below…




  • muldoon2127 November 29, 2012 Reply

    Hi Todd. I agree with all of those points biblically, but they miss a fundamental truth: The church has failed, is failing, and will continue to fail if it does not recognize its own sinfulness. Power struggles, greed, exclusion, idol worship, superiority complexes … all of these plague the 21st century church, and every survey of unchurched folks that I have seen bears this out. Maybe when we stop blaming everyone else for diminishing church attendance and membership we will begin to really set about doing God’s work once again. Until then, graphics like this one fall short of the whole truth, IMO.

  • PastorShane November 29, 2012 Reply

    Can’t argue with the graph….. It is simply abbreviated Scriptures organized on a chart. It is the basis for Evangelism….
    The sinful state of natural man lost in trespasses and sin….
    Definitely motivating….
    Perhaps if I were teaching a new believers class and was struggling to get the total depravity of man concept illustrated — I might give this chart a shot for shock value. Beyond that…. Not sure where else to use it.
    Well Todd, is his pretty much where you landed?

  • Dale November 29, 2012 Reply

    I agree that these are theologically true, but that’s not the whole story. Stories like the one in Acts 15 would indicate that Christians can do things that would make it difficult for non-Christians to come to faith. See Acts 15:19 “we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”

  • Rod Gauthier November 29, 2012 Reply

    In my opinion, trying to make the church attractive to non-believers is like trying to cuddle a porcupine! regardless of the method, the truth is you are going to get poked! This graphic portrays that in vivid fashion. Attractional evangelism is trying to unite two radically different worldviews. Incarnational evangelism seeks to be Jesus in a place where the pagan heart is most comfortable so that when the time comes for that person to be invited to an event, the Spirit has begun the transformative work and the heart is ready.
    Just my two cents worth, anyways!

  • Single Christian Gal November 29, 2012 Reply

    Probably the main reason people don’t go to church is because they just don’t want to. They are happy to live their lives and do what they want to do, and figure if they haven’t killed anybody, they are going to heaven.

    Another reason could be that they hate the hypocrisy that they see in Christians, and don’t even want to be bothered.

  • Barney November 30, 2012 Reply

    This chart exemplifies the exact reason why most people don’t want to go to church: Most people are not evil. If you truly believe that there is no good that can possibly come from a non-Christian, then all hope is lost for the church. Stop hating, and start loving. Only then will the church stand a chance.

  • stevecuss November 30, 2012 Reply

    Its a good reminder, Todd. Also a great reminder that the Gospel is stumbling block enough without us adding reasons for people to stay away

  • Brad Bessent November 30, 2012 Reply

    The reasons for non-attendance do not change the Great Commission. It doesn’t say “come,” but “GO.” Assume all the above is true; Go make disciples. A part of discipleship gathers new believers into churches.

  • Jim November 30, 2012 Reply

    The Gospel is GOOD NEWS for bad people and BAD NEWS for good people!

  • Pastor Rick (@BroRick1) November 30, 2012 Reply

    It’s a good, concise reminder that we shouldn’t sit around wondering why “they” don’t come, and do the main thing: GO and TELL! And Thom Rainer had a blog post back in 2009 “Myths About the Unchurched” that’s worth a look along with this.

  • Ben F. November 30, 2012 Reply

    Of course what the “chart” does not address is why these same filthy pagans found Jesus ministry so compelling and relevant…odd. #excuses #blamethesickguy

  • Steve November 30, 2012 Reply

    My thoughts, though I could be wrong: Unbelievers were never intended by God to come to church services or programs in order to find/be found by God. Instead He designed and intended His Church to broker that meeting as we, His representatives, engage our “neighbors” in all the arenas of daily life. As long as we continue to believe a lie – that the primary location of Life-giving and Life-changing ministry happens on congregational property through specialized ministers instead of at the relational intersections of the lives of ordinary folks whose lives reflect both intentional service on behalf of others and increasing love for God – then we can take deceptive solace in thinking that the decreasing influence of “church” is primarily due to the aversion of darkness to Light. On the other hand, if leaders of congregations recovered the mandate to focus on equipping the saints for their works of service in everyday life, then those who are designed to be the Lights of the Light of the world will penetrate the darkness with increasing impact. Congregations may not grow exponentially, but the saints will, and so will the Kingdom.

  • rocknrollperfesser November 30, 2012 Reply

    As long as we continue to pour Church (an Invisible, Eternal Kingdom) into a modern mold of TIME and SPACE, we’ll only be missing the point. Graphs like this might be theologically accurate but missionally askew.

    We are to GO and make disciples, not manufacture a “sanctuary of dreams” (if you build it, they will come). It’s about Community not counts, Body not building and Organism not organization.

    The KINGDOM is moving. Unfortunately, too many churches are too inward-focused to see the masses open to the Message.

  • hastings November 30, 2012 Reply

    The real reasons the unchurched don’t attend church? Because most of them have been to “church”!

  • A. Amos Love December 2, 2012 Reply

    Attend Church? Hmmm?

    In the Bible…

    Did anyone, ever, “Attend Church?”

    Or – *Go To* “A Church?”

    Or – *Join* “A Church?”
    Or – *Lead* “A Church?”
    Or – Give *Tithes* to “A Church?”
    Or – *Apply for membership in* “A Church?”
    Or – *Give silver, gold, or money to* “A Church?”

    In the Bible…
    Any buildings with steeples and crosses called “A Church?”

    In the Bible…
    Any Paid Professional Pastors, in Piulpits, Preaching, to People, in Pews?

    Seems the folks who do NOT “Attend Church”

    Christian and Non-Christian

    Are more “Biblical” – Then those who do. 🙂

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall **hear My voice;**
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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