In his book High Expectations: The Remarkable Secret for Keeping People in Your Church (Broadman & Holman, 1999), Thom Rainer identifies seven major issues for effectively closing the back door through which many members leave the church. They are:
- The High-Expectation Factor
- The Primacy of the Sunday School in Closing the Back Door
- The Critical Role of Visitor Follow-up
- The “New Program”: New Member Classes
- Prayer: The Forgotten Power of Assimilation
- Leadership, Leadership, and Leadership
- Doctrine: Clarified and Followed
DON’T MISS #2 -- The Primacy of the Sunday School in Closing the Back Door
The point I wish to make here is that most churches have a huge challenge in keeping people in their membership rather than them slipping out a back door or side window, AND most churches already have in place one of the most effective ministry strategies (Sunday School) to prevent this from happening, IF they will use it intentionally and strategically.
Of course, other factors are critically important as well which Rainer discusses in his book.
For a more recent treatment, see Texas Churches Walking Newcomers Through Steps @ http://www.texanonline.net/default.asp?action=article&aid=5583. It’s a great article highlighting what several churches are doing to address this crucial issue in a practical way.
Until next time…share the journey and enjoy the ride!