There are lots of reasons for people to abandon their Restoration Movement church these days. Hypocrisy, irrelevant arguments, out of touch worship styles, some weird theology, and a growing sense of becoming the new Amish. And to be sure, many have left their RM church in the dust.
But larger numbers of people have remained. Oh sure, there are some who remain because they are trying to cling to old traditions and good feelings from the 1950's, but this crew is diminishing. Many people in RM churches, in contrast, are staying as they are slowly re-theologizing their lives in a number of ways. What keeps them from leaving is not so much the same theological adherence as their parents, but other theological, social, and strategic perspectives. Forces other than perfect doctrinal adherence are driving these people.
Here are a few:
1. Network. Their network of relationships is so strong that to leave the congregation would not be limited only to what happens on Sunday morning, it would mean losing deep friendships, a collective sense of direction, and the support of people who "understand." They would lose their "we-ness."
2. Comfort. There is something important about knowing where the blind spots are. Having to learn new blind spots can be very difficult and unnerving once you find them. Lots of these people who stay understand that putting themselves and their chidlren through the kind of change that moving on requires might do more harm than good.
3. Personalized Emergence. Many people who stay in RM churches know that there are flaws and tolerate them corporately; however, they have found other missional, spiritual, or worship outlets not provided by their congregation. Most of these people do thses kinds of things under the radar - under the radar not out of fear for themselves, but that their hearts are so good that they do not want to makes waves for other people.
4. Excessivley Patient: These people have hope and a high view of God and people. They believe that the current "identity crisis" RM churches are supposed ot be having is not going to outlast their dedication to God. They believe that God loves this people called the RM (among many other, of course) and will not leave them to be overrun by church tyrants, spiritual thugs, and the warlords of religion. They believe redemption is in process and in fact works best when things look their worst.
The Restoration Movement is going to be a hard one to kill off. There are just too many people who are truly loving God and exploring new theological realities who choose to remain.