When you consider the number of disillusioned believers leaving the traditional church and the growing number who have grown increasingly disenchanted with the artificiality of churchanity you have to wonder why some find it so hard to leave even when they know in their hearts they should - especially when God has warned us to "come out from among her". It doesn’t matter what kind of institutional church it is. The following are the main reasons why believers stay:
1. The number one reason is the fear of being censored, condemned, ostracized, ridiculed, shamed, guilt-tripped or being branded as a backslider who has turned their back on God.
* Coercion and fear tactics that send the implied threat that God will remove his blessing on your life and curse you with “divine reprisal” if you buck the “system” or disagree with the church leadership. After all, they claim to be God’s anointed. This often comes in the form of an insidious “conspiracy of silence” that runs beneath the surface of church life and subtly instills a spirit of fear and “second guessing” about your motives and plants the unspoken warning that God will forsake you if you leave.
2. They’ve invested so much time, energy, money and loyalty into the church that it’s hard to give it up. It becomes like a used car that you have spent so much money repairing that you think that it’s not worth it to just “walk away”.
3. Your life is so interwoven in relationships with other church members that you care deeply about you can’t tear yourself loose. You don’t want to turn your back on them, cut the ties, betray them or let them down. It is often due to the fact that you actually have a spiritually “co-dependent” relationship with them.
4. Peer pressure and pastoral coercion to stay committed, get plugged in”, be faithful, toe the line, don’t disappoint and don’t stumble others.
5. There are good elements in the church that deaden the artificiality and minimizes the toxic effect of inherent in Churchanity like a lively worship, good preaching, a family friendly environment, enticing programs for all ages, an awesome youth ministry, great entertainment, dynamic leadership, self-empowering messages, friends, culturally correct messages, user-friendly services, and, in many cases, the sheer diversity of the programs and activities which keep you busy, committed and distracted from the negative elements. They act like religious chemotherapy to prolong the inevitable “dying process” of a terminally ill patient.
6. You think that even though there are problems, that you struggle with in good conscience, your church is still popular, has so much going on, and it’s probably better than most so why not hang in there? After all, where would I go? What spiritual alternatives do I have? Maybe you are frightened by the thought of having to stand alone? It’s no different than an abused wife who wants out but doesn’t know what alternatives she would have for her and her children or where she should go for help. In this case you unwittingly enable the dysfunction to continue in a relationship of spiritual co-dependency.
7. You want to believe the often unspoken lie that the preacher is anointed by God Himself, knows best and can’t be wrong so you suppress your nagging questions or minimize the spiritual abuse by re-committing yourself with even more resolve and determination than before to prove your loyalty and dedication.
8. For countless multitudes in denominationalism of all persuasions, it has much more to so with deeply engrained cultural ties and religious traditions than anything resembling authentic Christianity or biblical salvation. Forsaking the religious tenets of your church affiliation would be like disavowing your family, your heritage and your national identity. Even the mafia could say "Amen" to that!
9. They have been so methodically dulled down and dumbed down by the system they can't see the spiritual forest through the trees and can no longer hear what the Spirit saying or His divine summons to "come out from among her my people."