Where are the people who were once active in the body of Christ? We all have relatives, neighbors, business associates, or friends who have gone through periods of low or no attendance at church. People drop out of church for specific reasons and it is our challenge to reach out to to both those we know and those we don’t and reclaim them. We examine three major reasons why someone may stop attending:
They needed ministry and didn’t get it. If someone needs encouragement, attention, or help and doesn’t get it, they feel uncared-for and neglected and may drop out of attendance. Sometimes people are reluctant to share their needs with others, but we should keep a finger to the pulse of the church. Be sensitive to one another and take the initiative to follow up with people you think might need ministry.
They needed acceptance and didn’t find it. Everyone wants to find a place where they fit in and feel at home. For members who always feel comfortable in their church, it may be hard to understand when others don’t feel the same approval. Making someone feel accepted is more than just friendliness; make time to help others feel included and invite them to take part in groups and activities. Sometimes we fall back on the idea of grace by works, the idea that people must prove themselves, when instead we should follow Jesus’s lead and be allow faith to be our only criteria.
They had conflict and didn’t resolve it. Conflict, whether church-wide or interpersonal, drives people away and detracts from the real meaning behind gathering as a church. There are many people in the world who haven’t lost their fellowship with God, but have given up on church attendance due to constant conflict among the membership. Most of the conflict in church is about minor issues, but even in cases of major issues, resolution is best accomplished by going to others individually and trying to understand their point of view. Allowing conflicts to remain only feeds resentment and aggression in the church.
Once we understand some of the reasons why people leave, we can focus on keeping them in church, and even winning them back.
Other sermons in this series: