CHURCHES THAT HAVE A PATTERN OF LOSING THEIR MEMBERS, especially new members, just might be due for some introspection. It’s not always the fault of the church when a member leaves for another church, or goes back into the world, but when this process is repeated over-and-over without any apparent reason it’s obvious something is out of whack. Realizing a problem exists is a major step in correcting the problem, and dropping to our knees in prayer is the beginning of the solution.
This problem is not new, and we can’t change God’s Word in order to placate unhappy church members, but if the church is at fault we need to make the necessary changes so we don’t (as my preacher friend aptly noted) have new members walking in the front door and out the back.
The following list of possible reasons some new members bolt for greener pastures is by no means complete, but only intended as a springboard for further discussion:
- NO FEELING OF BEING NEEDED, UNDERSTOOD, OR LOVED. They are not accepted as equals and don’t feel like a part of the group. If we don’t make the new Christian feel that he/she is not an intricate part of the church they will not be around long. We need to go out of our way to embrace new Christians, even if we have to break up our cliques in order to spend valuable time with the new converts. Those who are neglected will go somewhere they are appreciated!
- OPINIONATED AND LEGALISTIC TEACHING pushed down the throats of new believers in an attempt to form another cookie-cutter member, and finding fault with everything a person has ever believed will push new members out the door in a heart-beat.
- MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY BELIEFS are tough for anyone to swallow, but for a new christian these beliefs are deadly. Those not encouraged to think for themselves, but pressured into accepting human traditions that have no basis in God’s Word is a formula for disaster. Members not willing to accept a churches traditional viewpoints might find themselves outcasts.
- LIFELESS AND RITUALISTIC PUBLIC WORSHIP SERVICE that provides little to uplift or inspire. I know we have a tendency to cast this problem at the feet of the new members, but perhaps some churches have ritualized the worship service over time until it’s little more than pomp and ceremony. God and His children deserve inspired fellowship, joy, and love in the public worship service, not a stale ritualistic ceremony.
- FEELING LIKE A MUSHROOM because vital church news is only accessible to a choice few who are in the know. The church seems like a secret society because only the core group have access to what’s going on in the church. There are things that should remain private, but not things that effect the unity of the entire group. Always being left in the dark wondering what’s really going on can be disheartening, especially when you know everyone else has the information. Soon you feel out-of-the-loop, and well…like a mushroom!
Obviously this is an incomplete list and only reflects my opinions. Your comments and additions to the list are appreciated.
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