Maybe you have some folks you want to drive from your church, but that’s not the focus of this post. My concern here is what churches do that inadvertently drives attenders toward other churches. Based on some legitimate reasons folks give for leaving a church, here are some ways to drive attenders from you:
- Preach something other than the Word of God. It’s true that preaching the Word also sometimes confronts and offends in a healthy way, but here’s the point: people who come looking for a Word from God won’t stay if you give them something other than the Bible.
- Have a boring, disorganized, irrelevant worship service. Right or wrong, the people we’re trying to reach have little patience for anything that lacks excellence or relevance. Enough churches are offering solid worship that folks don't linger long where it’s not done well.
- Provide nothing for kids and teens. I’m not arguing here for always separating families in all we do as a church, but I am arguing for providing equipping and teaching that are life-stage specific. If we don’t walk alongside parents in providing spiritual training, we’ll likely lose them.
- Let ministry needs fall through the cracks. If you want to drive people away from your church, have nothing in place to hold them up when life is hard. Let them face difficulties alone, and they’ll look for a more caring congregation.
- Ignore people. Perhaps this wording sounds harsh, but that’s what it feels like when no one pays attention to a guest or member of a church. If folks can slide out the back door without our noticing, something’s wrong in the church.
- Provide no growth process. It seems that some churches believe people will grow significantly in their faith simply by attending regularly. When attenders realize their growth is minimal, those who want to mature will look elsewhere.
- Judge people, with no redemption offered. The Bible is itself confrontational. A call to repent is not an optional part of our message. If we judge and never get to redemption and hope, however, we’ll likely lose some struggling attenders.
- Talk about, rather than do, ministry. If you want to drive away young folks, make sure you provide no hands-on, experiential ministry opportunities. Require the staff to do all the ministry so that no one else can get involved.
- Fall in sin. This is where this post gets really personal. Somebody’s watching you, and it’s possible somebody will leave your church if you fall into sin. Your failure can be as influential as your faithfulness.
What would you add to this list?