When People Leave the Church

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of books available on the concept of Church growth.  There are as many strategies for growth as there are books. Church spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year on books, seminars, consultants and all the rest to learn how to bring people into the church but pay a fraction of that, if anything on keeping them once they are there.

How many times has someone walked into the church, been greeted warmly, shown the service books and parts, been taken to the fellowship time after the service, attended a membership class, if there is one, and then just fades away? I think it happens more than we realize. But what happens when they do leave, and we recognize it? Do we follow up with people who have gone from our churches to ask why?  My guess, and my experience is that we do not. Church growth is useless if the number of folks leaving is equal to or greater than, those coming in.

Doug Powe at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership has written a thought-provoking article listing four reasons visitors do not return to the church.

Here is a snippet from the article:

Lewis Center Director F. Douglas Powe says it’s important not only to attract visitors, but to create a space where they will want to stay. Congregations wondering why their visitors don’t return need to honestly assess how they respond to visitors and what their church has to offer.

It is not unusual to hear a parishioner say, “We are a friendly church. Why don’t visitors come back?” Many congregations struggle to understand why they get visitors who seem to enjoy their visit and say they are returning soon, but never visit again. This can be extremely frustrating, especially for a congregation seeking to grow. The question is, “Why don’t they come back?”

Read the rest here

What are your thoughts?