*Names have been changed*
Of all the research I did on why people leave the church, none of them left because the pastor was terrible. No one complained about a pastor’s sermons or their demeanor. Here are some of the tops reasons:
- Roots are not established.
- Connections are not made.
- Running from the truth.
- Because of an offense.
- Loss of hunger.
- “I got out of the habit.”
- “I left after I graduated from high school.”
- “I decided I didn’t like the institutional church.”
- “I was hurt at the church.”
- “I just couldn’t find a church to meet my needs.”
- “I had a need, and the church didn’t meet it.”
- “I never felt connected in the church.”
- “I did not give to the church.”
- “I left when Pastor John left.”
- “We moved and never went back to church.”
I believe the pastor of a church makes all the difference to where you go to church. It plays many roles in your faith, but more importantly, in how the church operates and what it believes in. Find a church where you love the pastor, and you will probably like the church too. This rule isn’t an end all be all; there are always exceptions.
I have had two significant pastors in my life. One at the church I grew up in, one at my college church and one at my current church — all very different people with different personalities and styles. The teacher I enjoyed the most was at my college church. I grew in my faith the most at that church.
The Pastor I Grew Up With
The church I grew up in was First Christian Reformed. After about three years (I think) of missing a pastor, we were starting to get desperate. I remember the trial services for Vos*. I distinctly remember hoping the church wouldn’t pick him because I didn’t like his sermons. I said something then, but no one listened to an eighth-grader.
His sermons went around in circles. He was great at saying the same statement in ten different ways. He liked to preach about the essential parts of the…