20 Reasons Americans Are Turning Their Backs on Sunday Mass

It’s a sad fact faced by the church that, in recent years, more and more Americans are deciding not to attend Sunday worship. Most of them express feelings of disconnectedness from the church’s teachings and values, especially since they feel they no longer align with their values today. This downward trend in mass attendance is also fueled by the distrust brewing among the followers of the church because of the scandals and controversies associated with it.

There Are More and More Secular People

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One of the simplest reasons for the decline in Sunday worship attendees is that there are just not a lot of religious people nowadays. More and more people are becoming secular, and an increasing number of households are choosing to raise their kids without religion. The Oxford Academic explains, “There are more secular people in the world today than ever before, and their numbers are increasing in various countries on every continent.”

People Want to Spend More Time With and Focus on Their Families

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Nowadays, people see the church differently. What was once a necessary and essential family activity has now become viewed as a hindrance to family time. Because of this, an increasing number of families are forgoing Sunday mass or worship and instead choose to do activities with their family members.

They Want to Steer Clear of Church Scandals

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Unfortunately, the church has been tainted with numerous scandals involving priests and nuns. This has slowly been destroying the trust people have in church members, and therefore, they have slowly but surely stopped attending mass to avoid these scandals. An article by Dan Jensen published in 2023 states, “Scandal in the church is one of the ugliest parts of the Christian life. Not only do scandals in the church wound God’s people, which is the worst part by far, but they also have other horrendous consequences as well.”

People Are Sick of Abusive and Narcissistic Church Leaders

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Though some people think pastors and priests are better than any other human on Earth, the truth is that they are still human themselves, and they are capable of making mistakes. One of the ways this happens is when they adopt abusive or narcissistic views in life, especially when it comes to the church. Pastors and priests are supposed to talk about and spread the word of God—not himself, what he does, what he did, and what he contributed as a priest or pastor. Worse, a narcissistic pastor or priest also tends to misuse or misquote the Bible to defend his actions.

They Are Tired of Dealing with Cliquish Churchgoers

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The church is often described as a community or a place where people can connect and find the support they need. Sadly, there are many cases where, instead of building strong bonds, people—especially newcomers—are left lonely and alone at church. This is because many churchgoers can be cliquish. This is detrimental to the church, though, as cliques and exclusivity aren’t things that should be fostered and cultivated here.

They Believe Sunday Worship Is Not Biblical

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There are also traditional Christians who refuse to attend Sunday worship because it isn’t biblical, and in many ways, they’re correct. Attending mass every Sunday wasn’t written in the Bible; in fact, the actual day for Sabbath is Saturday. Life, Hope & Truth explains, “A royal decree to rest and worship on Sunday instead of Saturday was made by the Roman emperor, a sun worshiper. Now, thanks to Constantine, Christians were celebrating on the same day the Mithraics worshiped the sun; this is a blatant example of pagan influence in Christian practices.”

There Is a Changing Demographic Within the Population of Believers

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According to Skeptic, “Belief in God in the US is at an all-time low: back in the 1940s, 96% of Americans believed in God, while today it is down to 81%. More interestingly, the percentage of Americans who strongly believe in God without any doubt has fallen from 62% in 1990 to 50% today.” This data makes it easy to understand the drastic fall in Sunday worshipers or churchgoers in general in the United States.

People Struggle to Find a Good Work-Life Balance

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As life becomes increasingly hectic, more and more people find it hard to have the time to rest and spend time with loved ones—let alone travel miles for Sunday worship. Because of the busyness of life, an increasing number of households are choosing to forgo church visits every Sunday to rest, relax, or enjoy the company of family and friends.

They Feel as if the Church Is Already Irrelevant to the Lives They’re Living Now

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Many people feel as if they don’t have to go to church simply because they’re living different lives now compared to when they were younger. Because of this, the church and Sunday worship are deemed unnecessary and irrelevant. However, the truth is that the relevance—or irrelevance, for that matter—of the church depends on how you live out and act toward your faith.

They Want to Focus On Personal Growth Before Anything Else

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Because the church teaches some rules and morals people must live by, it’s easy for people to think that they’ll be unable to grow individually or figure themselves out if they focus on the church first. However, people need to remember that for someone to grow fully as a person, they should also grow with their faith.

People Think That Parts of the Religious Dogma Are Questionable

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There’s no denying the fact that parts of the Bible appear to contradict others. Because of this, some people think that religious teachings are questionable and shouldn’t be relied on. However, the Bible should never be taken literally, especially out of context. Once you devote some time to studying the Bible and really understand what it’s trying to say, a lot of what first seemed to be contradictions will finally make sense.

There Is a Rise of Individual Spirituality in the Community

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The rise of individual spirituality causes people to prioritize themselves over others. This goes against the very core of the church, as it aims to foster a sense of belongingness with each member of its congregation. Galatians 6:1-2 reads, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted; bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

They Think the Church Is Intolerant of Many Social Issues

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There’s no denying the vast number of close-minded and intolerant Christians who think they know it all or have it all. However, you must remember that arrogance, judgment, and pride are not part of Jesus’s teachings. We must not generalize the whole church simply because of the actions of some people.

People Believe That Doing Volunteer Work Is Enough and More Fulfilling

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Charity is one of the best virtues a Christian can have. When we volunteer, God allows us to reach out and connect with Him by serving others. However, volunteer work is not the sole way to build a relationship with God. The Church of Jesus Christ says, “As you listen to sermons and study God’s teachings, you will have opportunities to receive insight from God. He wants to communicate with you, and the church is a good place to hear His voice in your heart and mind.”

They’d Rather Join Online Religious Communities Than Physical Ones

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The hustle and bustle of life can be a big hindrance to one being able or being unable to attend Sunday mass. Because of this, a lot of Christians instead opt to join religious online communities for their convenience. While, yes, this is much better than nothing at all, going to church offers a much more fulfilling and satisfying experience. Faith in Ireland explains, “There are other problems with the online church: it all too easily ends up being a product designed to fit the personal preferences of its ‘customers.’ It encourages individualism and erodes the difficult calling of a genuine community.”

People Had Had Enough of Tithes or Donations

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A large portion of the community feels that tithes or donations are unnecessary or sometimes even too much to ask for. Some even wonder why they have to “pay” for their faith. However, it’s important to remember that tithes or donations are not for God—He doesn’t need money. Instead, they’re for us; tithes serve as a reminder that we, as a people, need to rely on God for our needs—not money or any other material possessions.

They Don’t Want to Make the Long Journey of Commute of Coming to the Church

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For those living busy lives, it’s easy to think commuting to church is not worth it. After all, it can now take an average of 26.4 minutes to get to church, compared to only around 22 minutes in 1980. However, think about it through a bigger lens: it’s less than 30 minutes of your day compared to the love, fulfillment, joy, and peace you’ll get when you hear His word.

The Available Service Times Do Not Fit Well With Their Schedule

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Another big thing that clashes with people’s busy lives is the mass schedule. Churches usually have a set schedule for every mass time. Unfortunately, for some, even if the church has more than five available schedules a day, none fit their Sunday lifestyles.

Parents Are Facing Issues With Childcare Options and Can’t Leave the House

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Some parents feel they need to find someone to care for their kids so they can attend Sunday mass in peace. However, don’t use this as an excuse! After all, children are welcome in the church; Jesus Himself calls for children to come to Him. Matthew 19:14 reads, “Jesus said, ‘Leave the little children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to Me, because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”

They Don’t Want to Unnecessarily Spend Money on the “Right” Church Attire

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Let’s face it; today’s fashion and trends are far from what the church deems appropriate. Because of this, many find the “right” church attire to be too constricting. Sometimes, they simply refuse to buy more outfits they won’t usually wear.

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.