When you notice people starting to leave the church, it’s worrisome. You may wonder what happened or if there was any way to prevent it.
First of all, it’s not always related to the church. Second, it is possible to prevent some church members from making the decision to leave.
The most important thing to do is to remember to listen to the needs of all your members. It’s that feeling of community that keeps a church growing and thriving.
They’ve Simply Burned Out
It’s far too common to have members leave the church due to burnout. These aren’t the members who just show up for services. These are your members who regularly volunteer, lead groups and help out any way they can. As with anything in life, too much of a good thing is sometimes bad. In fact, it could lead to serious burnout. The result is they leave to take a break. Even some pastors experience burnout, but not nearly as many as statistics lead you to believe.
Limiting how many areas a member is involved in and making sure to show appreciation are two ways to prevent this issue.
They’ve Went Through A Major Life Change
This is one might not be preventable. For instance, when church members get new jobs and have to move away. It’s a legitimate reason to leave the church, but that doesn’t mean they won’t start attending a new church soon. You may find married couples going through a divorce either both leave or one leaves to avoid seeing each other. In instances like this, there’s not much you can do, but for members grieving over a loss, take time out to talk to them and let them know they’re always welcome back whenever they feel like attending again.
They Didn’t Feel The Church Met Their Needs
Everyone attends church to meet specific needs. Spiritual guidance is an obvious need, but other needs might include a feeling of community, helping around their local area, meeting new friends and feeling appreciated for helping out. Sometimes this is the fault of the member and sometimes the church itself. For instance, if someone wants to volunteer, but always waits to be asked instead of coming forward, there isn’t much church leaders can do.
It’s a good idea to talk to members regularly to determine if needs are being met and if not, what problems might exist.
They Didn’t Feel Like A Part Of The Church Family
Have you noticed how more and more churches seem to be being built almost on top of each other? Part of that is due to this reason why people leave the church. No church is perfect and neither is the church family. Like any family, there are going to be those who don’t feel like they fit in. You may have members who constantly stir up drama or gossip about others. All of this leads to members who don’t feel like a part of the family anymore and go off in search of another church.
They Think Newer And Bigger Must Be Better
Along the same lines, when a new church comes into the area, the idea that newer or bigger is better may blind your members to what’s truly important – God’s word. When Andy Stanley stirred up controversy that bigger churches are better, many rightfully disagreed. Big or small doesn’t matter. It’s about the community within the church. The key is to continue to bring members closer together, talk with them and create a true family so members aren’t distracted by the latest and greatest.
They May Not Like New Changes
Music choices, decorations and even changes in leadership are all potential reason why people leave the church. This is a growing issue in churches that are trying to create a more modern worship service that appeals to members of all ages. It’s important to discuss changes with your members before implementing them. Through discussion, you may be able to find compromises that keep more members in the church.
They Just Want To Worship, Not Watch A Production
It seems to be a common myth that churches need loud music, a light show, big screens and more to get members’ attention. While that does get attention, it also distracts. Members come to church to learn more about their faith. Investing in a good sound system for a larger church is a good idea, but you don’t need speakers that have color-changing lights. Moderation is key here. Simple and elegant is sometimes better. Talk with your members to see if things are going overboard or if there are some changes you can make to have a more engaging service.
Want an easy way to connect with your members, even when they’re not in church? See how valuable a church website is to helping you build your church.