“People who leave the church aren’t necessarily abandoning God…
Rather than being marginal churchgoers… 94 percent had been leaders — such as deacons, elders or Sunday school teachers — and 32 percent had been full-time ministers.
…for many the break came not because they lost their faith, but because they wanted to save it.” – Craig Bird
It is refreshing to see someone acknowledging that a good number of people who leave the institutional church system are doing so not because of leaving faith but keeping faith. I now see that the institutional church is like a kindergarten (or primary school or elementary school, depending on how grace-based and progressive the institution is) where we learn the foundation of God’s love and grace and then we graduate from there onwards to walk on our own spiritual paths, in order not to be held back by peer pressure on conformity, or by the theological box of the preachers, or by the dogma and creed of the institution. If anything, we are leaving behind the concept of a vengeful god which is a projection of the human ego, and embracing the divine unconditional Love/God who is in all and is all.
After all, the foundation of the gospel of grace and peace is simply that God is love, and we are love, and love keeps no records of wrongs, and love never fails. All other teachings, whether on faith or kingdom of heaven or relationships with people, revolve around this foundation on divine unconditional love that is our true identity. Leaving the church system enables us to mature and think for ourselves instead of being continually dependent on the system to (indirectly) think and decide for us. We are able to listen to the Spirit of love and be guided from within better, like what Carlton Pearson mentioned about divine guidance or government. Jesus himself heard the Father’s audible voice “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” not in a synagogue, but outdoors where Nature and various people are. Outside the church walls is where our communion with the Father is most intimate.