Before People Decide to Leave Their Church, They Might Want to Try This …

Written by Andrew Linn on July 16, 2018

Across America (and in other countries as well), there is a significant amount of people who have stopped going to church. The reasons vary from not being religious to not liking the pastor or the music. But according to an article I recently read at the Fox News website, the four main reasons people quit attending their church are as follows: the quality (and also the length) of the sermon, a welcoming environment (and the people in it), the style of worship, and location. Other reasons might include someone having a disagreement with the pastor or someone else at their church, the length of a church service, the music, an individual not getting their way at their church, or a scandal (whether it be sexual abuse, embezzlement, etc.)

But is leaving the church the solution? Before making such a drastic decision, one should try talking to the pastor about any issues he or she has regarding the congregation/parish, and perhaps bring them up whenever the board of elders/parish council has its meetings. Perhaps it might even be best to recommend a town hall meeting where everyone from that particular church can give their opinions.

Back in January, my parish had a town hall meeting on what improvements could be made, especially since attendance (and thus collections) was down. Although many issues were mentioned, the top two issues were the music and the length of the homily (a.k.a. sermon).

In regards to the music, people had issues with the quality of the church songs, because it has become obvious the music director at my parish was not the best musician in the world. As for me, I not only had an issue with the quality of the music but also the length of the music, i.e. the length of the opening and closing songs. For instance, the opening song chosen would consist of three or more verses (and sometimes a refrain) when such an amount of verses was unnecessary because usually by the time the priest had reached the chancel (i.e. the area where the altar is located), the first verse was still being sung or had been completed. Needless to say, two verses (with or without a refrain) is all that is needed. It is a similar situation with the closing song, depending on when the priest decided to leave the chancel.

As for the homilies, the consensus among the parishioners (myself included) was that they were too long, and even resulted in Mass lasting longer than an hour. At least one or two people complained about the length of Mass (due to the long homilies) on the grounds that they had somewhere to be after Mass was over.

Note: in the Catholic Church, the homily is supposed to be brief (hence between five and ten minutes). Also, communion (not the homily) is the focal point of Mass.

It is unclear how much progress was made as the result of this town hall meeting, but I do believe it was a step in the right direction.

So in conclusion, I encourage everyone out there to suggest town hall meetings for their churches in order to address any problems.

Here is the link to the article I mentioned:

photo credit: Excerpted from: Go-tea 郭天 Behind the curtain via photopin (license)

Andrew Linn
Andrew Linn is a member of the Owensboro Tea Party and a former Field Representative for the Media Research Center. An ex-Democrat, he became a Republican one week after the 2008 Presidential Election. He has an M.A. in history from the University of Louisville, where he became a member of the Phi Alpha Theta historical honors society. He has also contributed to and Right Impulse Media.