Why People Leave The Church

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

custom church website buttonIt’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.grow your church button

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.

7 Tips To Increase Engagement To Improve Church Attendance

Church leaders are always looking for ways to improve church attendance. Most of the time, it all comes down to finding ways to increase engagement.

Even the most devout members may not want to attend if they feel bored or seem to have no purpose within the church.

This doesn’t mean you have to give up. This means your members need you more now than ever. They need church leaders to engage them and make church something to look forward to every week.

1. Ask What Members Enjoy/Want Most

While 40% of Americans say they attend church weekly, the real number is closer to 20%, at least according to one study. No matter what your numbers are, your members are your greatest asset when it comes to improving engagement and attendance.

You don’t have to be a mind reader or look to other churches to get ideas. Instead, talk with your members to see what they enjoy or look forward to the most. Also, ask them what they want from church. Perhaps you’re starting to get a majority of younger members and they prefer modern Christian music versus traditional hymns. Learn from your church family in order to give them the best worship service possible.

custom church website button2. Create More Ways To Get Involved

One of the most common reasons people give for not attending church regularly is they’re too busy. By the time Sunday rolls around, they just want to relax instead of sitting and listening to someone talk. Improve church attendance by creating more ways for members to be involved. A more active approach creates more of a social community that everyone enjoys.

Create more volunteer opportunities, have trivia at the end of each sermon (suddenly, everyone will be listening), have study groups that mix up each week (mix up members and leaders) and anything else you can think of. Involvement is engaging.

3. Talk With Members Versus At Them

People are talked at enough by their bosses at work. When they feel like they’re just a nameless face in a crowd being talked or preached at, they’re not going to want to attend regularly. This is one area where small churches can truly shine. As you get to know your members, you’re able to add in messages that truly speak to them.

Make eye contact, bring up a funny anecdote that happened between you and a member, have members ask questions and ask them about their thoughts on a topic. It’ll feel more like a conversation than a sermon.

4. Build Excitement Throughout The Week

No one can deny that a long week of working eight hours a day, commuting for an hour or more each day, going to kids’ sporting events and helping kids with their homework wears people out. This is why you have to build excitement during the week. Think of it like the latest Apple product release. There’s this massive build-up as the release date gets closer and it makes everyone feel like they have to have whatever it is.

Improve church attendance by doing the same thing. Put up teasers about your upcoming sermon, post inspiration messages on social media and put riddles on your blog related to the coming weekend’s message. The idea is to get members eager to hear what you have to say.

grow your church button5. Add In A Little Humor

Church isn’t mean to be entertaining. It’s actually quite serious, but it’s even easier to get your point across with a little humor thrown in. For instance, listen to how Ken Davis uses funny stories to teach God’s word. While listeners are laughing, they’re also learning. It’s an engaging way to preach and makes church more entertaining. If comedy doesn’t come easily, let members volunteer to tell family friendly funny stories themselves. After all, everyone has that one story to share.

6. Tie In Sermons To Real Issues

If you truly want to engage members, tackle real issues with your sermons. Don’t just talk about a few verses. Instead, tie those verses into something that’s currently going on. When a sermon is relevant to what members are dealing with, they’ll pay more attention. They’ll also come back more because they feel like church leaders truly understand them and their needs.

7. Use Sermons To Motivate And Call Members To Action

Finally, use sermons to motivate and get members to take action. Inspire members to do something kind for a neighbor this week or explain how even that first little step could change someone’s life forever. Members want to feel uplifted and find direction in their lives. Weekly sermons can do just that. While it might be the hardest thing on this list, it could be exactly what you need to improve church attendance.

Looking for ways to engage members all week long? Contact us today to find out how our team can help you reach members online.

6 Ways You Can Grow Your Church This Year

Would you like to see more members in your church each week? Maybe you want to have a bigger variety of ages. If growth has plateaued or decreased, don’t give up hope. You can grow your church this year by employing a few simple strategies. Let your church family help you and together you’ll be able to increase growth and reach far more people in your community.

1. Focus On Your Website Content

First off, if you don’t have a website, you need one. Many people research churches online before ever walking through the doors. If you’re not online, your church might not even be an option for those looking for a new place to worship. Now that you have a site, focus on adding new content regularly. Creating and maintaining a church blog helps to boost your visibility online. Focus on things going on with the church, issues affecting people right now and inspiring stories. You’ll be amazed at how many more people you’ll reach this way.custom church website button

2. Boost Engagement Within The Church

Your members are the spokespeople for your church. If they’re not happy, they probably won’t recommend the church to others. Work on getting your members excited about attending. Talk with them to see if there are things you don’t like about current services or programs. Ask them about things they’d love to see the church involved with. The better your understand what your church family wants and needs, the easier it is to boost engagement and of course, recommendations.

3. Get More Social Online

Whether you love it or hate it, social media is a valuable tool to help you grow your church this year. Many of your members likely already have an account on Facebook or Twitter. By sharing blog posts (your own and others), interacting with members and non-members and sharing motivational scripture, you’re able to reach a wider audience than you could offline. Plus, people who like what you post can share it with all of their friends and family too. Even if your page only has 100 followers, that’s 100 people who could be sharing your posts with hundreds of more people.

4. Host Community Events

While over half of all American churches have less than 100 people in church each week, this doesn’t mean there’s a problem. It just means that it’s time to get more involved in the local community. A problem many churches face is a lack of any real presence outside the church itself. Host community dinners, have open house nights (less pressure for those looking for a new church) and volunteer at non-church events such as local fairs and festivals. The idea is to get non-members to start interacting with the church. Plus, this shows your community that your church does more than just preach the gospel, they also practice it.

grow your church button5. Offer Various Small Groups

Different groups, such as seniors and millennials, may prefer different types of worship experiences. For instance, seniors might like more traditional hymns while millennials might love modern Christian music. Offer smaller worship groups to make everyone feel more comfortable at church. This is also a great way to grow your church. During an open house night for the community, have the leaders from each group available to talk to potential members about what their groups do. This shows that it’s not a one way or the highway type of deal.

6. Use Motivation Instead Of Guilt

It’s a common myth that small churches either have to drastically increase their numbers or close their doors. If you want to grow your church, don’t use this gloom and doom approach. You don’t need a massive church to effectively reach your church family. Instead of trying to guilt members into attending regularly (which turns them off from church completely), try motivating them instead. Ask what church leaders could do to make church more interesting and engaging. Remember, the happier your church family is, the more they’ll talk about the church to friends and family. This helps to grow your church far better than guilt.

Looking for ways to grow your church this year? See how a church website will help boost your efforts in 2017.

8 Tips To Using Social Media To Build Your Church Online

A website isn’t the only way to build your church online. There’s also the ever important social media.

Whether you love it or hate, you can’t deny how popular it is, especially with millennials. If you want to reach existing church members and gain new members, social media is a powerful tool.

To make the most of it, you have to be active. Think of social media as a way to have conversations with anyone and everyone all at one time.

custom church website button1. Interact During Peak Times

One of the benefits of using social media to build your church online is you can often interact in real-time. For best results, try posting during peak times to get the best interaction. Hubspot breaks down some optimal times, but includes an important remind – there isn’t always one set time, so see what times work best for your church. Posting during these times means you’ll also get more people sharing your content, which helps build followers.

2. Have A Solid Strategy

This is probably the most important tips of all. You need a strategy and you have to stick to it. Even if you just post once a day to Facebook, at least stick to that schedule and post around the same time each day. A few things to include in your strategy are:

  • Have at least two people working together
  • Create a posting schedule
  • Determine which networks to use
  • Include rules for things not to post

3. Use More Than One Channel

Using one social network might seem overwhelming, but even though 68% of adults use Facebook and 21% use Twitter, you widen your reach by using at least two different social channels. Plus, different content performs better on different networks, such as short verses on Twitter and community photos on Facebook. Talk to members of your church and community to see what their favorite networks are.

4. Use Social Media Management Tools

The biggest reason you might not want to build your church online using social media is because it is time-consuming. You’re not always going to be around during optimal posting times or thank someone for following you. The solution is to use social media management tools that allow you to schedule posts in advance, see all activity from multiple networks at a glance and interact on multiple networks from a single dashboard. Some are free, but others do have premium plans for additional features.

5. Implement Photos

Want to have more engagement on social media? Increase share rates and make sure your posts get noticed by adding in photos. Every post doesn’t need one but think about the type of content you notice first on social media – the content with images. Not only does it look more appealing to potential members, but it’s easier to remember. In fact, most people only remember 10% of what they hear after three days but remember 65% of what they see in an image.

grow your church button6. Lighten Up

It’s tempting to only post serious things, but that gets old and it doesn’t show any personality. After all, the idea is to build your church online, not drive everyone away by showing that your church is stuffy and boring. It’s okay to mix in some lighter content, such as jokes, something funny that happened to church leaders or just a light-hearted inspiring message. Just check out Ken Davis does it to get inspired yourself.

7. Learn From “The Competition”

While you should never just copy “the competition”, look at what other churches are doing on social media. This is a great way to see what does and doesn’t work. You can also get ideas on what type of content works best on different networks just by seeing other churches’ posts.

8. Mix In Video

Video content is expected to make up 74% of Internet traffic in 2017. If your want to build your church online, add some video to your social media strategy. Short videos showing community events or excerpts from a recent sermon all work well. You can also mix in some family friendly funny videos just to give everyone a reason to laugh for the day.

Social media can be a highly effective way to build your church online and interact with your current members. While there is a time investment, it’s well worth the results.

Adding social media to your church marketing strategy? Contact us today to see how we can incorporate social media on your website.

Why People Blame The Church

It’s far too common for people to blame the church for any and everything. Most of the time, the church isn’t to blame at all.

However, there are some issues that church leaders may be able to learn from. You can take the complaints and use them to improve the church.

While you’ll never make everyone that comes through your doors happy, it does help to understand why they’re blaming the church in the first place.

They Can’t Find The Right Community

custom church website buttonCommunity is one of the top reasons people attend church, outside of worship, of course. In fact, 78% of millennials stated that community was the top quality of their ideal church. If the atmosphere isn’t as welcoming and friendly as visitors would like, they blame the church.

It could easily be that they didn’t stay long enough for anyone to get to know them or to get involved in anything. It could also be a chance to create a welcome plan for new visitors and work with members to get everyone more involved.

They Feel Like Leaders Are Disconnected

Church visitors want to feel like church leaders are connecting with them. If there’s a disconnect, they blame the church. This can actually go both ways and you shouldn’t feel as if you have to take the blame.

Think of it as an opportunity to look for ways to better connect. For instance, does your church have a website or social presence for members to engage with the church outside of worship hours? Simply being more modern can bridge the disconnect gap and reduce blame.

They Dislike The High School Mentality

Drama is never fun, but it’s a common thing that people blame the church for. A simple disagreement between two members can easily spiral out of control and make your church community seem more like a drama filled high school. While you can’t be responsible for monitoring your members’ behavior, try to take notice of any issues and offer private messaging online during certain hours to make it easy for members to come to you when something’s going wrong.

They Don’t Want To Be Like Everyone Else

Individuality is important, especially to younger members. The moment they feel like they have to be like every other member, they blame the church for trying to take away that all important individuality. Visitors and members want a church community that is filled with individuals.

Take a look at your community. Does everyone seem to always have the same opinions, dress similar and even do all the same hobbies? While it’s not the church’s fault, some people place blame instead of just continuing to be themselves.

They Aren’t Interested In Politics

grow your church buttonPolitics are one thing that should always exist outside the church. It should be a safe sanctuary from the chaos that is politics and government. Yet, some churches do get involved and even go so far as to try to sway their members to vote one way or the other. This means it’s not uncommon for people to blame the church for a political candidate winning or losing.

Discussing politics just alienates part of your church community and may push out potential new members.

They Aren’t Growing Spiritually

Spiritual growth is part of attending church, but some people blame the church if they don’t grow as much as they want. The only problem is each individual is also responsible for that growth. The only thing church leaders can do is make sure they’re connecting with members and discussing issues that may be relevant. Making time to talk to members outside of church or online is a way to guide members towards the growth they want, but ultimately it’s up to each person to grow when they’re ready.

People will always blame the church, but you shouldn’t take the blame personally. Learn and grow from complaints when possible. Otherwise, just try to connect with and reach as many people as possible.

Start engaging your church community more by contacting ReachRight today to see how to create a virtual foyer for members and visitors.

How To Get The Unchurched To Walk Through Your Doors

Get The Unchurched Through Your Doors

We know that most churches are looking for ways to improve attendance and increase their members. Sadly, it’s not always as easy as just posting a “welcome” sign outside the church.

If you want to increase both members and attendance, you need to find ways to get the unchurched to walk through your doors. Don’t discount the unchurched. Many still have faith, but they’re just not sure where to go for guidance or which church might be the right fit for them.

Understanding The Unchurched

The most important to thing to understand about the unchurched is that many still believe, but they don’t associate with any one denomination. They consider themselves unaffiliated. This means you can still reach them, but you have to do it in a way that makes them feel welcomed.

According to Barna’s studies, approximately 40% of Americans identify as unchurched. They might attend an occasional special service, such as a Christmas play, but nothing else. Different cities may have higher or lower percentages, such as the San Francisco Bay Area which is considered 61% unchurched.

Even if they’re not regularly attending a church, they’re not opposed to attending one day if they find the right fit. Of course, some may not be able to attend due to work, which is something your church could appeal to by offering services on a different day or time.

Create A Welcoming Atmosphere

custom church website buttonIf you want to get the unchurched to walk in, you have to create a welcoming atmosphere. Think about what visitors see when they first come in. Is there someone to welcome them? If it’s a larger church, are there signs posted about where to go? Is there plenty of room to sit? Are there hours posted on a sign outside? Is there ample parking?

Believe it or not, simple things like this can make the unchurched believe your church is already full or doesn’t accept new members. If an unchurched visitor comes to a special service, ensure they feel welcomed instead of pushed to the background. When they feel like part of the community, they’re more likely to come back.

Encourage Members To Talk

Get the unchurched interested in visiting by encouraging your members to talk about their faith and invite new members. In fact, 70% of church guests come because a friend or relative invited them. In one survey, 79% of unchurched Americans didn’t mind their churched friends talking about their faith. Nearly half (47%) engage in the conversation.

It’s important to remind your members to talk about their faith but avoid giving a sales pitch. No one enjoys that. Instead, the passion your members have should serve as an example of what it’s like to be a part of your church. Think of it as a gentle way to reach the unchurched without being pushy.

Provide Community Events

grow your church buttonMany of the unchurched are looking for churches that make a positive impact on the community. They’re not interested in churches that rarely interact with the local community or always seem to be exclusive. An easy way to show the unchurched what you’re involved in is to invite them to special activities, such as community service projects.

It’s also a great idea to offer community programs that aren’t just for members. For instance, hosting fitness programs for varying age groups or having a community dinner encourages the unchurched to participate and creates that important welcoming aspect. In fact, 46% of the unchurched are likely to attend a sports program, while 51% would help with a community service project.

Show That You’re Modern

If you want to get the unchurched to visit, you have to step into the modern era. The younger unchurched often feel that churches are out of touch. Singing nothing but traditional sermons and being talked at for a few hours doesn’t appeal to them.

Instead, they want a church that reaches them on their level. Integrating technology, having a website to interact with the church before visiting and focusing on some of their specific needs are just a few ways to become a more modern church that appeals to the currently unchurched.

The unchurched aren’t out of reach. You just have to open your doors, welcome them in and show them that your church meets their needs.

Need some help with modernizing your church? Start with our web design services to attract the unchurched to you.

9 Important Church Statistics For 2017

9 important church statistics for 2017

Sometimes it’s hard to see why church attendance is dropping or what things need to change to appeal to those still trying to find their faith.

When you look at church statistics, don’t get discouraged. Yes, the numbers might make you want to throw up your hands and leave it all in God’s hands, but they just prove that the world hasn’t given up on having faith just yet.

As long as millions are attending church, even if it’s not every Sunday, there’s hope. Use these statistics to help breathe life back into your church family and continue engaging members for decades to come.

1. Fewer Youth Attend Church

custom church website buttonSadly, only 28% of younger Americans between 23 and 37 attend church. Other generations range between 43% and 52%. This is a significant drop in generational attendance and a large reason why many churches are seeing a decline in attendance. Basically, new young members are few and far between. The cause is because churches are having a hard time changing with the needs of younger generations.

2. Friendly Invites Are More Effective

Improving church attendance is a fruitless effort. Church statistics show that 47% of unchurched Americans are open to thinking about a new church based on a friend’s invite. This shouldn’t be too surprising considering the social networking age. Consider not only word-of-mouth but social networking as a way to boost attendance.

3. Involvement Doesn’t Start On Sunday

Sunday services are usually the starting point for new members, but now, many people aren’t interested in starting their journey with a church on Sunday morning or evening. Instead, 57% of churchless Americans would prefer a different introduction. Community events are key to drawing in new members and introducing them to your family.

4. Church Isn’t Helpful

Or at least, many Americans don’t think so. While your church may contribute often to the community or charity organizations, unchurched Americans may not realize that. They don’t see churches as having any positive impact on their communities. Nearly half (49%) can’t find a positive impact, but 37% couldn’t find a negative impact.

5. Millennials Are Leaving

Based on our first statistic, you’re probably not surprised to learn that 59% of millennials who grew up in churches are leaving. Today’s society is filled with different viewpoints and information coming from all angles. Millennials often leave because they don’t feel like a church meets their needs. While they might not have given up on church entirely, they’re trying to find a more casual church that fits their lifestyle.

6. Churches Are Plateauing

Look at society now and then think back 30 years. Much has changed since then, but has your church changed at all? A shocking 85% of US churches are either declining or plateauing. A large part of this is the need for churches to adapt to a changing world. Church members might leave one church for one that offers a more modern preaching style or more community involvement. Bringing your church and your church family into not just the present, but the future is vital to overcoming the plateau.

7. Church Goes High Tech

grow your church buttonChurch doesn’t end inside a building. Today, church leaders and members have the opportunity to reach millions via social media. Even if someone isn’t attending, the word is still being spread. Take Pope Francis’s Twitter account, which has 10.1 million followers. Do all of those followers attend church regularly? Probably not, but at least they’re taking an interest in God.

8. Online Giving Works

If you ever needed a reason to have a church website, these church statistics on online giving might convince you. Many people prefer to donate online and 70% of non-profits offer this option to improve charitable donations. Only 42% of churches offer this option. This is ideal for members who may not attend regularly, but still want to give. It’s also a way for non-members to support causes that are close to their heart, even if they’re not able to attend church due to other obligations.

9. New Churches Increase Growth

Adding more churches when attendance is already declining might seem counter-intuitive. Yet, a study of over 600 southern Baptist churches showed that after planting a new church, attendance grew by 21.5% for at least five years. Part of the reason this works is because unchurched Americans and those unsatisfied with their current church see these new churches as a chance for change. It’s an opportunity to change old methods and modernize how they worship.

Church Statistics Agree

If you notice, there are two common themes among these church statistics – attendance is down and many people are seeking different ways to worship. Change is needed. Listen to your church family. Talk with the community. You’ll quickly see what people think and what changes are necessary.

Ready to start making positive changes and grow your church? Start with our web design services today to get your church in front of more potential members.