Nelson Searcy takes a page from his friend John Donahue in discussing why people stay in church. Good stuff!
Nelson Searcy over at Church Leader Insights focuses on 2 factors that influence people staying at a church. He says that it’s based on people’s RELATIONSHIP and their RESPONSIBILITY. If a person has those 2 needs met, they will stay in a church. Not trying to completely disagree with Nelson, I think that there is one other factor – RIGHTEOUSNESS. There MUST be a GOD factor as well.
For the sake of our discussion, let me break all this down…
Relationship- Relationship is a simple concept. People must be connected with other people for them to feel that they are TRULY “in” the church. If people are not connected RELATIONALLY, the feelings of disconnectedness will eventually lead then away from the church that they desperately want/need to be a part of.
Responsibility – Responsibility would be the functions we perform at church. You might say, “I am a Greeter,” or “I am in charge of Parking at the 9:30 service.” Responsibility is what compels us to attend each week. It’s a conviction for us. When people have a “job” or “duty” that is required of them, they have ownership of their area of service. It’s also MUCH harder to walk away from a church if you are plugged in to an area that is in line with your gifts, talents, and passions. If you are at a church, and you have no responsibility, you are much more likely leave than if you had it.
And for many churches, they focus on those 2 factors alone in trying to discern church attendance. I believe that churches must also focus on a person’s Righteousness as well as their responsibilities and their relationships.
A person gets a mailer in the mail, and decides to try your church on a Sunday. That person (visitor) is greeted by a friendly person who shows them around the church, introduces them to some other friendly people, and after the service, that same greeter seeks [the visitor] out and encourages them to come back.
The following Sunday, that SAME greeter welcomes the visitor back and asks about their previous week’s experience. Then that SAME greeter invites them to come WITH THEM to attend an upcoming event.
So this person comes to the event, and has a great time. Another person, who the greeter had introduced earlier, sees the visitor at this event and asks them to help out with the set-up team on the following Sunday Morning. And after serving a couple of times, is asked to get into a rotation. That visitor LOVES the experience and serves every other week.
And after several weeks in a small group that meets on Thursday nights, they give their life to Christ. They then go on witness to their spouse and kids, and soon, the whole family is serving, deeply connected to friends, and experiencing God in amazing ways.
Righteousness + Relationship + Responsibility = STAYS IN CHURCH
We, as church leaders, MUST focus on the people who God brings us. We MUST find out how to connect with them on 3 deep levels, relationship, responsibility, and righteousness. If any of those three factors get out of balance, that person has the potential to get hurt or leave the church.
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