“Will you also go away?” John 6:67
From time to time some who were once active and involved in our church fellowship “drop out”. In our attempt to grow and reach new people perhaps we would be wise to direct some of our effort in evangelism and outreach toward a drop out cure. Now, to be sure, there are those who honestly may feel that their needs may be better met some where else. Others just never seem to fit in. And then there are some who simply seem bent toward being critical, bitter and unhappy. As much as I’d like to think our Church is the best Church for everyone, it is not and that’s the positive side of there being so many different good Churches to choose from.
That being said, there are others, I suspect, who could be kept from dropping out through our conscious effort at being a warm, vibrant, friendly congregation that feels good about itself and what God is doing in the lives of those who call this their church home. As we work toward developing a strong sense of direction, an increased sensitivity to the needs of people, and an open honest discussion of important issues, I believe that not only will our membership be nurtured and sustained we will attract others to our fellowship and most importantly the life changing gospel of Jesus Christ.
A study published in The American Baptist Torch identifies the following three areas as the primary reasons people drop out of church life.
- Personal or Family Reasons:
- Major illness in the family
- Family crisis, such as divorce, separation, loss of job, etc.
- Marriage to someone of another faith
- Loss of interest in what is going on
- Need for more leisure and the decision that Sunday is the best time for it
- Congregational Problems:
- Never felt fully accepted or people were too “stiff”
- Felt over-worked and “they wouldn’t give me a break”
- Disappointed by the lack of creativity, “nothing ever changed”
- Got nothing out of worship
- Involved with controversial decisions
- Frustrated with “trouble-makers”
- Pastoral Dissatisfaction:
- Preaching poor or unvarying
- Disappointment with the way pastor relates to people
- Disagreement with theological or political stance
The preceding list is not comprehensive but it may help us probe for insight into ways we can be more effective in our ministry.
Jesus had drop outs too. At one point near the end of His ministry, when so many had left Him, He turned to His disciples and asked “Will you also go away?” (John 6:67) Let’s hang in there and do what we can to help others do the same.