Like Us

Why is it that new people aren’t showing up to your church like you hope and pray?

Your church wants to reach people, spread the Gospel, and grow.  

So, why is it that new people aren’t showing up to your church like you hope and pray?

Here are six possible reasons:

1. Your church isn’t for them.  

I know you think everyone is welcome at your church, but your service, environment, and people communicate otherwise.  

Saying that you’re welcoming doesn’t mean that you’re welcoming.

2. You don’t expect guests.  

You’re greeters and ushers are helpful, but they are not prepped and on the look out for new people.  

You’re not ready to receive guests, because deep down inside, you don’t expect them.

3. You don’t acknowledge guests.  

When new people show up, they aren’t welcomed.  In your preaching, you reference Bible stories assuming everyone knows what you are talking about.  In discussing church business, you act like new people aren’t in the room.

Read Page 2 >>

Michael Lukaszewski After two decades as a student pastor, church planter, senior pastor and leadership consultant, Michael Lukaszewski now leads the team at Church Fuel, an organization dedicated to providing insanely practical resources to pastors. He and his wife have three children and live in the Atlanta area. Learn more at

More from Michael Lukaszewski or visit Michael at

Please Note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, uncivil and off-topic. Read a detailed description of our Comments Policy.
  • troy

    I appreciate what was written, however, I feel like I’ve just had a Dr. say to me, “you have cancer” and then stop there. Okay, I have cancer, but what am I supposed to do? And all the Dr. says is, “you have cancer”. What I’d like to hear is “Here are the problems, and here are some practical ways to resolve them.” They may look differently in each context, but please give some prescriptions.


    • Maria

      Agree. It would be nice if we can engage and come up with collective ideas on what to do about it.

      • Todd

        There are some great guides out there, as there are no clear cut solutions. In order to change this, you have to change the DNA of the church itself. Most churches are wired to do everything that caters to them. I know I know, we have kitchens, VBS, friend Sundays. But are these actually designed to bridge the gap, between the outside world and the church. Or do we set it up as it is comfortable to the church, and expect the world to conform? I have yet to meet the 2nd friendliest church, even though most greeters will shove the bulletin in your hand and hurry you along to talk to their friend they see every week. The community of faith needs to understand that the church is a mission center. I don’t agree with watering down the scriptures; the Spirit of God is Sweet and attractive. While we need to address issues that are big to the people we try to reach; that can be accomplished in a way that we do not compromise our Biblical integrity. Lets face it our churches for the most part just aren’t attractive; and we settle for a “well we don’t have anyone new but we are going deeper” attitude. Great honest article I must say.

        • Cartersville, GA

          Where is number 7???
          Don’t bang your employees.

          Michael is an absolute pig.

    • Normandachurch

      I couldn’t agree more! Why even read an article that is just going to tell you what is wrong. Offer some solutions and then maybe the article would be worth the time it takes to read it. Anyone can talk about problems, but people need solutions.

      • Chad

        I think the solutions are pretty evident by looking at the problems: #1 – Create a welcoming atmosphere, #2 – Expect guests and train others to do so, #3 – Acknowledge guests, #4 – Advertise, #5 – Invite people and challenge others to do the same, #6 – Talk about what they care about. Just change the wording and you have your solutions. It’s hard to give a lot of depth in a short article like this.

  • Love

    Thanks you very much. All you said is so encouraging. its the actual truth about our churches nowadays. Please what are the possible solutions to help?

  • prince

    i agree the article only identifies the problem without offering any solution. the other problem I have is #6. I wonder what is wrong with talking about “Bible stuff”? I think we need to talk about the Bible but also relate it to their felt needs. However we don’t allow the felt needs to drive the scriptures otherwise it becomes “human centered” There as to be a balance and if possible, more tilted toward the gospel.

  • champ

    I think that this is a good artical that brings out some good points & truths, but we must be mindful that The Gospel in itself is practically & that it is the only things that points out the Cause for & sullotion for man. We must be very carfull in how we invite people into our church, because if you invite them in on a waterd Gosple the only way that they will stay is on a waterd down Gosple.

  • PJ

    I agree…what are the answers though. For example, how do we “equip” someone to invite others to church? Business cards? E-Invites? I think most everybody knows there is problems…how do we fix them?

  • Newsboyjb

    Good stuff, now just waiting for the solutions to the problems

  • Revopie

    You are so right, people want to hear about solutions to their everyday problems. How do they deal with disobedient children? What does the Bible say about this?

  • Tim

    Another article by an expert considering “At its grand opening service, there were about 280 people that showed up. In 13 months, the church had grown to 900 people.” Somehow it’s always “numbers” that validate someone’s opinion. I guess Jesus was a failure considering there were only a small number around after he went to the cross. What is being advocated here is the “attractional” church model….no different then restuarants competing with one another with their smiling customer service, billboards, and advertisements.

    • Ike


      Hey Tim, your being a little hard on Michael dont ya think, I mean Jesus did have alot of people following Him that wasn’t at the cross but spread abroad through His years of teaching. Simply put I think Michael is saying here is what he see’s coul be the problem and he leaves it up to you to develope what will work for your church. Be compassionate and not too hard on Him. Your Brother in Christ Ike,

      • Patriotsfan137

        JESUS did have lots of people following HIM but for the wrong reasons most people wanted miracles they wanted to see signs n wonders but when CHRIST said you must take up your cross most people left it’s like todays chrchus if you don’t cater to peoples needs they go some place else we should not put our trust in numbers this is not mcdonald it is not coca cola God will increase if it is HIS desire I don’t care about a fat church that’s animic cause they only eat sugars

    • Armonie07

      Know in all I think what is being said here is honesty! I just left a church where my pastor would say we welcome guest, but every sermon or announcement would be always be related towards the already churched or to us as members! I don’t think this article was ever about how to build a bigger church but it’s about making a guess feel welcome in home, it’s no different in your home! Your not going to invite someone to your home and be preoccupied on the phone, doing chores, or anything of that nature. I thought this was a great article. Because it doesn’t pretain to you, doesn’t mean it didn’t hit home for some. Because it definately hit home HERE! And this is the reason why I left or should I say God released me, quite sure you’ll ?? that too! But, I refused to sit somewhere were the people’s agenda’s came first, church buisness second, and then guess or unchurched just seemed to some how fit in! So again Michael thanks for the article.

    • Giantslayer

      I agree to a point. Fast growth is dangerous. If people are not truly being equipped, discipled in a Christian life, helped to find their God given gifts and taught how to develop those gifts, then a mega church is doomed to die. True discipleship is not about numbers, it is about living out values that add value to others. After a few years, you will look around and see that the numbers are there and the church spreads to new areas. A good book to read about “the church” being an influence in our communities is “Becoming a church of influence”. It talks about area pastors working together to minister to the community, completing each other rather than competing with each other. It took years to accomplish, but can be done if we remain focused on why we are saved and what our responsibilities are. Large churches are nice, but if the core is not discipled and working as a team with an unshakeable focus, they will not stand. Jesus is coming for a united church, without spot or blemish (dead or unproductive). Advertising is good, billboards are good, smiles are necessary, but a realness for the need to serve our community and being able to equip people is what people are really longing for, at least people that want to please and serve God for real. I would rather have 20 committed people than 2000 confused and disillusioned people. God bless!

  • Lee

    The article has some real truth in it and I will take note of some of the practical applications. However, I am really distrubed about the comment on “bible stuff” and “Christian stuff.” Many of these church plants grow because the pastors are straying away from the gospel and really trying to be relevant without the Word. Don’t throw out the Bible or the great traditions of Christianity, but point to how they are the solutions to the problems of today. I have watched the pastor of the largest church in America hold up his bible at the beginning of the service and quote a memorized litany, and then never refering to the Word again in his sermon. We need Christ lifted up–only that will win the world.

  • Eakwu

    thank you ,what is the way forward?

  • Mark

    I agree with what Michael has written. It is important that in preaching “the bible stuff” that not assume everyone knows the stories or understands our Christianese. I think that is the point being made. Tell the story and explain terminology in a language that people can relate to. We have an obligation to take the principles of Scripture and apply that to the problems that people are facing today. I am re-learning the power of a good story. Jesus was after all the master story teller. Good article and well written.

  • BishopMarsh

    This article hits the target issue dead center. It comes very close to what we already know. Unbelievers say, “I like your Jesus, but not your church.” Have you ever asked why? Dan Kimball may be closer to the contemporary truth than we will likely admit. In this “season” in the church, we must speak to the issues of the “lost” and give them the solution in Jesus Christ. I have mentioned 1Cor 9:22 to many ministers, only to get the retort, Oh,ya, I know that one.” But do we do the Word instead of just read it. Do we let God speak to our hearts on HOW to win the lost for Christ? I applaud this article for its frank truth, practicality and heart. In the words of the sandlot quarterback to his team when its fourth down and thirty yards to go, “Everybody, Go Deep”, then God challenges us all, “Go Deeper”.

  • Kevin

    Answers (for all those requesting answers to the problems listed in the article) should be self-evident.
    Problem #1: There is no concrete solution; it’s just a matter of fact; and will continue to be until/unless you change.
    Problem #2: Train your ushers on how to welcome visitors. Lots of helps are available “out there.”
    Problem #3: See #2.
    Problem #4: Advertise. Billions of ways to do this.
    Problem #5: Invite people.
    Problem #6: Hearers must be able to apply what is taught to their own lives. Church business needs to be conducted elsewhere (i.e. business meeting) not at the pulpit.

    Regarding the numbers: you shouldn’t dismiss the author’s quote of numerical growth without knowing 1st-hand whether or not that growth is “legitimate.” I suspect those who complained do not have 1st-hand knowledge.

    The fact is, numbers are ONE way to guage effectiveness. Numbers are recorded many times in Scripture (remember how many were added to the church on the Day of Pentecost?)

    A church operating at the direction of the Holy Spirit will, by necessity, see numerical growth as a result of obedient Christians witnessing. I understand, however, that large attendance numbers could also mean it’s just “entertaining” as opposed to “spiritually nourishing.” My only point is: don’t rush to judgment.

  • José Guerra

    I think the most effective way to attract people to church is by inviting them. Church people need to become more active in constantly inviting and sometimes taking people to church. The preaching is a factor, good music is also another factor, no doubt about it, but unless people invite other people it’s not going to work. I know pastors who are not good preachers, I could even say they are dull preachers, and they have growing churches. Why? Because the people are constantly inviting and bringing new people to church. So, one solution is to train people to bring others to church.

    • ePHraimAg

      Personally, what I love is the Word, no preachy stuff as it can get into. The love Of hearing a chapter or so and ensued with good teaching is the tops to get Me to church. I have heard some who cry in 1 measel Of Scripure, no bread for the weak, no fathom or depth Of Word for to grow as Ye toil through the week, months, years. What is the True Love Of a Mans’ heart. Paul did not write about tinkering brass for nothing. Many have found that in churches and so called disciples Of so-called. Whom are and where are these Men-Of-fAith. Yes, training is an aid, and so is delegation, but without fAith the church or local assembly is in trouble.

    • John G.

      This is so true!  The individual Christian, belonging to a local congregation,
      has the DUTY to at least ask and invite others to come to his Church.
      The lack of the individual Christian inviting others and evangelizing is the main
      reason that the individual Church lacks people.  The Church is people! Not a
      building!  If the individual believers are not on fire for God, if the individual
      member are not DOING the will of God, how can one man ( the pastor ) do the
      job alone?  The PEOPLE of the local Church are to be the ones who bring in the
      lost.  The question is why are we not?

  • Songbless

    Start with the Bible tell the story of Jesus.Lift up Christ at all cost, to two or thousands.
    Don’t preach a social gospel.Lee you right we need the Bible.

    • Reneedavis5822

      We need God’s word to change people, not people to change God’s word.

  • Justaservant

    I have no problem with Michael’s premise 1-5 but with #6, I have some concern when he said, ” Maybe you’ve let the fear of “watering down the Gospel” keep you from talking practically, but not talking about what people want to know about is a sure fire way to keep people away.” First of all, the bible is relevant and practical for everyday living. People need to know Christ and His Word. We cannot waterdown the gospel and still we can talk practical things based from the Word. Period! Jesus did not waterdown His message and yet He was relevant and practical. Jesus talked what people need to hear – their need to turn to the Messiah and follow Him. I would rather have a few members who study and obey God’s Word (remember Jesus’ 12 disciples who turned the world upside down) rather than having more than 1000 who wants only to hear what they want and not what God wants.

    • Pastormarklrector

      I agree with him and understood what he meant with #6. As a pastor, I always try to break it down so that everyone understands the word but also like to make sure that it the hearer can take it and make it applicable for their life. I was afraid if I did that, and make it simple to understand that I would be watering down the Word. I found that as I made it simple by breaking it down and spoke the truth in love, the people were more receptive and there was a greater understanding of the gospel. Speak the truth in love, break it down so everyone can understand and make it applicable to their life. By the way, multiplication in discipleship is biblical so I hope that your small group grows or you’re not doing something right.

      • justaservant

        Yes, multiplication is biblical and there’s no doubt about that. That’s why we have small group better yet we call it care group. In fact, we are now in the process to start a another church in a distant place. I don’t have a hundred members. Why? Because we are an ethic church. Compare with other non-ethic churches they have a wider group of people whom they can reach but us we are limited by the number of people whom we are trying to reach that’s why we are shifting to reach other internationals as well. I believe we are doing what God wants us to accomplish in our generation. We may not become a mega church. But it’s okay. As long as we remain faithful to the truth of God’s Word and do His work and keep on reaching the lost – that’s what matters the most. By God’s grace we are planting the seed and letting the Holy Spirit causes the growth. What’s the difference between the mega church and small church? For sure, the numbers of members or ministries but it boils down to – how faithful are we to God and to His Word. When I get to heaven, God will not ask me how many members I have. But how much faithful I was to the mission He called me to do (Remember, the parable of the five talents). I don’t want to be like Rick Warren or Pastor Michael. I want to be what God wants me to be and that’s what matters to me..

    • preachtheword

      I believe we have too many pastors worrying about growing the ministry for as numbers goes, however, we need to really be concern about the growth and development of a person spiritual growth. I deem that all pastors should pray the prayer that Paul prayed in 1 Col 1:9-12. I am a pastors of a small congregation. I preach solid bibilical truths with practical applications. Members of the church sends me e-mail and via mouth to mouth how they are enjoying the messages because they are relevant to them. So what is wrong? I beleive that many Christians are not truly sold out for Christ. If a church do not have the rocking band, or if the church building is not brand new, or it eh church do not have bozo the clown with free hotdogs, well, I’m not interested in that church. Feed me, entertain me, don’t preach to me, but give motivate me to the point that I feel good about myself, even if I’m living a life not pleasing to the Lord. The has become coporate like sprint and att&t, instead of leading, we are following the ways of the world to influence people to come to church. In the Book of Acts their was no bozo the clown, not hot dogs, it was the out pouring of the Holy Spirit and preaching the truth. And souls was added to the church! Don’t get me wrong, I do not mine having fun, but we are driving down the wrong street in regards to winning souls for Christ.

      • SusDgs

        I would attend your church. It is all the bands, coffee shops, entertainment factor that keeps me away. They talk about “doing” life but nothing about Jesus. What even is “doing” life? So very trendy yet nothing is really there.

  • ePHraimAg

    7th Good reason is that Of self-examination. I have met many that fail in Pastorship duly thinking they are good Teachers. Then there are those whom excel in Evangelism and fail at Pastorship. Must admit, I have always stood By this rather than any Of the previous 6.
    Self-examination is Cheif counsel in All affairs Of the local church, this is the fAithoms Of Your fAith.

  • stanb

    I read a quote from Andy Stanley today:
    “We should be more concerned about those we are reaching for, than those we are keeping.” Pretty strong statement, to digest, if you don’t understand where he is coming from… Preach the Word, Jesus did. However, make it simple, Jesus did…

  • reality247

    I personally am not convinced the right question is even being asked: “Why People Don’t Visit Your Church?” Don’t we have it backwards? Didn’t Jesus said, “Go into all the world, make disciples, baptize, teach and I’ll be with you” Shouldn’t the question really be, “Why have we become so pre-occupied with the building and its programs to reach people?” I understand from Scripture that the “church gatherings” are not for the non-believer but exclusively for the believer to function in his/her gifting (s) under the leadership of the Holy Spirit for the edification and strengthening of Christ’s Body. We are commanded to “Go and make disciples” in everyday life and preach the Gospel of Salvation to the lost. Once a person responds to the Gospel and repents then this new convert is brought into the fold and the Body of Christ works together to disciple him/her. I do not mean they get the person to sign up for a class. Believers in Jesus are to sacrifice their life and become involved in the new converts life and struggles and disciple them in as a friend and brother/sister in Christ. The goal is not to get people to come to “church”, but rather to be discipled by another disciple and multiply themselves into the life of others over time.

    • 123stillhere

      Maybe point #7 could be “Find out why God is not drawing them.” Seek the Lord for the real answers. Points 1-6 are good, however we are “laborers together with Him.” Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not…”The challenge is to go to the highways and byways and compel them to come that His house maybe full.

      Maybe that is why Michael’s titled the article, “Six reason people don’t visit your church.” Perhaps they don’t visit is because the church doesn’t “go.” Is the real reason people don’t visit your church because #1 your church isn’t for them? How will they know if they don’t visit? It is really because #2 your church doesn’t expect guest? If so why are you in business? #3 Does you church ignore or #4 not acknowledge its guest or #5 doesn’t advertise or invite people. Is it the fact that your church is #6 not talking about what they “care” about?

      By the way you have to admire Michael’s numeric success that others can only dream they could achieve and thank him for sharing his insight. However, lets expand our observation just a little and maybe we are missing more than these six points and a host of other good marketing suggestions.

      The church is called to be a spiritual place and if we can get “God in the House” he will “draw all men unto himself.” I think that many times we over look the fact that Jesus said, “my house shall be called a house of prayer.” If we will do our part He will do his.

      The marketing ideas are great and the suggestions are good but to effectively reach and change our world we need the Lord to transform their lives and that will enable us to “make disciples.” Remember, Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

      It’s not how big the crowd is but how big we allow God to become in our ministries that will make the difference. Find out what God has called you to do and “do it” with all your might. Let him be the judge of the results. “One plants, one waters” … but “God gives the increase.” Please don’t think that if your church is in a reaping time and place that it is all because of your efforts. Chances are if the O.T. prophets were judged by today’s standards of success and Noah had to face today’s church boards, they most likely would be fired and the church would be in search of a “new and more progressive pastor” to lead their congregation.

      “Keep the main thing, the MAIN THING.” In the final analysts we all (big and small) hope to hear the words “well done thou good and faithful servant.” But then, that is just my opinion. (:>)

    • Chad

      Actually, I think Paul talks about unbelievers coming into the church in 1 Co. 14:22-24. Doesn’t look like the church is “exclusively for the believer…” Yes, we are commanded to go, but the Holy Spirit should be attracting others to us as well.

    • Revgbb

      so how are you doing this?

    • John G.

      What you say is true but also too narrow.  Yes, by all means, the individual Christian is to evangilize, and bring people to Christ, but the local group, when
      gathered together must be open to the lost! Every meeting, unless it is a business meeting, must not only be doctrinal but also evangelistic.  If this is
      not being done, then the pastor is failing.
                                    John G.

  • Footprint of Christ

    One of the problems with too many churches today is illustrated by the author of this article. Treating the congregation as consumers rather than sheep in need of a shepherd. That “Bible stuff” is the very essence of what “people struggle with in their daily lives.” Mr. Lukaszewski speaks as if the two are unrelated & that the former has to be discarded for the latter. This could lead one to the impression that he hasn’t even read his Bible, or at the very least didn’t understand what he read. Sure numbers are nice, but if numbers were important then where would that leave Noah, or Jeremiah? If numbers are important to you & your congregation is lean maybe you need to find a new profession. If your doctrine is grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ then God will provide at least what you need, if not what you want. Sure Mr. Lukaszewski may have numbers today, but for how long? Are his numbers glorifying God, or merely getting their ears tickled & padding his wallet?

    • John Gregory

      Great!  Let the leader of the local Church preach, teach, & give the WORD of
      GOD to the people, line upon line, & the true meaning.  Then the Holy Spirit
      will work His will.  Loving, friendly, kind, YES!  But it is the Word of God proclaimed, taught, and lived that will bless the people, not giving them their
      felt needs.  The rich young man came to Jesus but asked the wrong question!
      Jesus showed him what was needed and the rich young man left! 
                Each person is able and has a choice!  Proclaim the truth of God given to
      us inHis Word!  Let the Holy Spirit do His work!  Just be Jesus, and God’s will
      shall be done.
                                John G.

  • SusDgs

    I am one of those people who don’t attend your churches. I went, asked a “greeter” where the worship center was, and he gave me dirty look. At another church, I sat down, only to have some woman tell me “you are in my seat. I always sit there. Would you move please”, and I moved, straight out the door. And every church I tried demands, not asks but demands, new people take two classes, one to teach about their church, the second, to supposedly “find our gifts”. The form required actually asks “how many have you led to Christ not including your children”. They DEMAND this. I never went back. Then there is the ear splitting horrible “music” with bad bands. No thank you.

    • Steve

      I understand your frustration. It’s unfortunate you were treated in such a way. However, I find your comments about the DEMANDS interesting. Becoming a part of the local church means committing yourself to the work of Christ and the Church. I don’t see requiring new members to know the mission and vision of the church as being unreasonable.

      • SusDgs

        I used the word “demand” because they do demand it, and if the person doesn’t do what they assign, they are told not to come back. It has happened to me twice. I understand they need to set standards but to make them “all or nothing” has caused many to stop going to church at all. I physically and emotionally cannot do those things and therefore am not welcome to attend worship. They overwhelm the new person just beginning to believe in Jesus, and then tell them “you came to the wrong place”..

        • Lbowz1

          That’s so sad. My church would NEVER do that and I would never attend one that did. I hope you don’t stop looking. Blessings!

          • Lead Dave

            “My Church” would never do that…. As if there is this competiton among churches. Who is better, who deos it right, “My church” is better than that, wow! That is church growth not Kingdom minset…. thats so sad…. oh blessings!!!

          • Archiepennington

            Dave I think you took Lbowz1 the wrong way.  I think the speaker was saying not all churches are exactly alike and not give up looking for a church that meets his needs at the moment (yes, I did say needs we all have them; Christ told Peter feed my sheep).  I truly do hope God’s blessings upon you this very day.  In His love;

      • David Pate

        I agree about the commitment to the work of Christ and the Church. BUT… keep in mind, a visitor is doing just that… VISITING. Requiring guests to take classes, asking how many they’ve led to Christ, etc., will run them off quickly. They want to come in and “test the waters”. If AND when they are interested in joining the church, THEN you can mention the class.

        Another thing churches have to realize is that, just because they walk through the doors doesn’t mean they’re saved. The church should be a place to first and foremost, get the people right with God. They care not what your church mission statement is, or even how to join, they want something or someone to help them. 

      • Mike Stidham

        However, these “required” membership classes are often offered only one time during the week.  If you can’t be there at that time because of work, etc., wait till next month when they will have the class again at the same time of the week. 

    • gary knox

      if your wanting to serve god you will stop looking for excuses and look for the one that matters the most and thats Jesus Christ

      • Gail L Ostermeyer

        Dear Gary, shame on you (? not meant harshly). I don’t believe these are excuses, for I have heard many (and produced many), but honest frustrations of someone trying to find Jesus and finding Pharaseism instead. People enter churches to find love, peace, and help, or to rededicate their lives back to Christ. It is our obligation to be Christ to them and love them and meet their needs. If not, what earthly good are we? Gail

    • Revgbb

      Wow, how refreshing! I am so sorry this has been your experience! I pastor a church in Marlboro, NY and I truly thank you for letting us pastors know what bothers you. God bless you!

    • John G.

      Sorry for your bad experiences!  Not all Churches are like those!  But I do
      think that until you see your own spiritual need, you do not need to go anyway.
            Try and listen to the Holy Spirit’s call, & then go where He leads you.
                                       John G.

  • Joe

    #6 Is outrageously wrong. Church is not about entertainment, a plain social gathering to discuss worldly issues. It is the sanctuary to praise God and help people know the Truth in Jesus who will set them free of their worries and hopelessness

    • Gail L Ostermeyer

      Joe, it is also the place to meet people where they live. They want the tools  to be able to deal with everyday issues. Our circumstances do not change when we accept Christ, but our perception of them and the power to handle them, does. My perception of #6 is that we cannot concentrate on ‘religious’ speak, terms and expressions that people do not understand, but on the power that Jesus gives us to overcome our circumstances. Gail O.

      • Dasolomon

        Did I hear “our circumstances do not change when we accept Christ”? I bet they do. I have seen it happen too many times.

    • Samtanya11

      Yes thats the truth ppl done got itTwisted!!!

  • tru4life7

    I beleive each of these comments are relevent to God’s Kingdom work and necessary in their own right. It’s important to gain converts. It’s important to disciple and strenghten the souls you already have. It’s important to not focus on shere numbers alone. It’s important that at some point God adds to the church such as should be saved. It’s important people understand the weekly messages that come from the pulpit and that it’s relavant to their lives, (that’s the work of the Holy Spirit working through the speaker and the hearer).It’s important to make visitors, new converts, and all members as welcomed and comfortable as possible without neglecting the truth of scripture, (sometimes the truth of scripture will find us and convict us and make us feel uneasy. It’s supposed to.) And it’s most important that God through Christ Jesus is the most welcomed and the biggest and most glorified in our midst.

  • Cochise

    #6? Reading the Bible, and just giving life experience during the message, will solve this one.

  • Maria

    Acts 2:42-27 tells us that the early Christians studied His Word, met regularly, celebrated the Lord’s supper and prayed. They experienced signs and wonders; shared their possessions; were joyful and they were praising God. The LORD ADDED to their numbers. A passion for God has to be translated into a passion for others. Being a church is about genuinely loving God and loving others. We have been doing church for a long time!

    • Gail L Ostermeyer

      “doing church” is a good expression. We begrudge the day or two a week that is expected of us and wonder why we cannot drag others with us. I agree with your illustration of the early church. The enthusiasm and joy of followers was contageous. We do need to recapture that if we want to reach the world for Christ.
      Gail O

    • Johngpsa911

      Passion for God and for the lost!  How are we able not to have both?
      The love OF God will give us the love of and for the lost.  If we have
      no love for the lost, how can we have love for God?  Can we be that
      selfish?  I hope not.  The love & grace we have received enables us to
      give that very same love & grace to the whole world.  I could never
      love the lost without the grace of God.

    • Old n’ Rich

      Consider also that in the middle of Acts 2:42-47 the Word tells us that the fear of the Lord came upon every soul.  It is an important and almost entirely neglected part of the foundation of the fellowship of Christians.  Lord Jesus, I ask that you teach us the depth of what that should mean to us.

  • Collector

    People are high maintence. “It’s too cold, too hot. Too hard, too loud. Too demanding. They expect too much from me.” A bit self-centered, eh.   

  • the Unfinished Pastor

    #6 “talking about Bible stuff” is what “they” would expect if coming to church. If not, we have certainly missed it. Merely “talking about what people want to know” may give them some tools to live morally, but what good is that without surrendering to Christ as Lord and Savior. What people want and what they need may be very different. My children want pizza, Coke, and ice cream. But at our table we give them meat and veggies! You keep people with what you draw people with. Set the true gospel on the plate and you will never be at a loss of those drawn by the Holy Spirit!

    • FireSpeaks

      You are 100% correct. However, we can give people what they want (answers to the issues of their life concerning salvation) and what they need (the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ) at the same time.

      Consider the issue of addressing the reasons people use for not going to church, like phoney Christians, homosexuality, and why God allows suffering, then you will be amazed how many people will show up when we address these issues. (provided we advertise them ahead of time)

      And when we use scripture to address their arguments we create opportunity for them to return and tell others.

      I still preach sin, eternal punishment, and salvation through Jesus Christ, and never water it down or try to re-package it to a more palatable taste for the unregenerate.

  • Gagafraser

    Peaching practical does not mean comprise. A revelent message is what people hope to receive when they attend church

  • ServantHeart2012

    This sort of comes under “why people don’t come BACK to your church” but it is important.  SIGNAGE.  Some churches have little or no signs to help newcomers get around on their first visit.  That sends a tacit message that newcomers aren’t all that welcome, even if it is far from true.  Right?
    Simple yet informative signs that direct visitors to a welcome center or other central location that is staffed by smiling faces who want to welcome new folks makes a very positive first impression!

  • David Buffaloe

    In the Church I pastor we do Bible Stuff and Gospel Stuff every week. I don’t remember Jesus preaching anything that wasn’t Kingdom related – though He used illustrations familiar to the people (as do I). Read 1 John 3:1-9. The world will not accept us no more than it accepted Christ. Jesus told the Pharisees: <>New International Version 1984 16“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:17“‘We played the flute for you,and you did not dance;we sang a dirge,and you did not mourn.’18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”’ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”
     The world will never love the Christ nor the Christ Follower. Get over it, and move on!

    • Jcb1apologia

      Hi folks – No man comes to the Father unless the Spirit draws him. There are three types of conversion. 

      1)   The intellectualism conversion – where many give an intellectual assent to to the Gospel. And our churches and Bible Colleges are full of them. This is NO conversion and they will die in their sins.

      2)   The emotional or romantic conversion, the unconverted love the romance and the things of religion. This NO conversion and they will die in their sins.

      3)   The Holy Spirit conversion, which is the result of being draw by the Holy Spirit and the irresistibly Grace of God and convicted of Sin, righteousness and the Judgement of God. They have sincerely repented of their sin and Believed on Jesus Christ as their LORD and Saviour  who shed His Blood and died a Sacrificial, Substitutional and Atoning dearth on the Cross. Rising triumphantly again from the Grave on the third day for the Justification of all who will Believe on Him as their LORD and Saviour. They are then Baptized by total immersion in water on the authority of the LORD Jesus Christ, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Their old lives are buried with Christ and they are New creatures or creation in Jesus.2 Cor, 5:17

  • Theologian2

    Practical theology. This is one of the keys to getting folks in the church and staying there. Don’t leave the people in Jerusalem, Moab, Nineveh, Babylon, Nod, Egypt, Samaria, Ephesus, Edom, etc. The Bible must be preached where the people are in their lives. Until this is done, the pews wiil continue to be sporadically fiiled with the “frozen chosen,” if that.

  • islanderwaab

    The bottom-line is that “doing church” (the called out ones) is for believers.  Yes, we have to bring others into the fold, but we have to think along the line of evangelism (personal evangelism and team evangelism).  Going to church ought to be a place where people (believers) get fellowship and grow in their faith (equip) to go out again and evangelize.   

  • Kdbrich

    #6 is laughable.   I’m ok with people not showing up at my church because I talk about the Bible too much.    I’d rather not have a bunch of goats filling out my pews because I give them parenting tips. 

    • Bman

      Is it? Most people in churches (including yours I presume) probably can’t even tell you what doctrine they believe. Yet so many Pastors preach as if they’re still in Seminary classes. Church is a large pool of people, most of them are hanging out in shallow water. It should be our goal to get them into the deep water but we can’t expect it to happen by feeling pressure to be “theologians” from the pulpit instead of simple communicators of the Word of God. 

  • amazed4us

    Probably number 1 on the left off the list reason and number one actually – people are not desperate for God and are not relying on Him to guide them. He will draw people to Himself, be it your church, our church, or somewhere else. Why is it Acts talks about the Spirit adding new members every day and lots of churches are either dying or just recycling fish from one tank to another? And then there are churches who are busting out at the seems, having thousands of professions of faith, sending people out to serve, etc. Lots of well meaning pastors and churches are just doing things themselves and getting results of their own efforts. But, when you see 3,000+ come to faith at Easter or 1,100+ get baptized the next week, you know something else is going on besides good preaching, good inviting, and good signage.

  • Yonlyn

    I have a question – suppose you have done all that you know to do yo bring new people into the church, (personal invitation – advertising – visitayion, etc.) and there is still no growth. What then?

    • Pslindow

      What kind of growth are you looking for? Individual personal growth for each of your believers? Are you equipping your saints and edifying them? That is the purpose of the church (Eph. 4). When the crowds got too big, Christ told them of the trials ahead and many there were that left him that day. If your saints are equipped and in the world being the salt and light that they are meant to be, then you will see the changes that are lasting.

  • Garytaylor14

    They really aren’t thinking about going to church. We need to go to them! Attractional ministry is dying. Let’s try an Incarnational approach–take the life of Jesus to people.

  • Will

    Because of the article and even more for the comments, “Yawn.”  

    • Kddit

      Any one can do what you are doing!  THis is the attitude that will drive away
      the people and keep them from coming!  If the subject bores you so much,
      why don’t you go where you won’t be bored?  Any moron can say & do what
      you did!

  • Cbormb64

    If you think talking about the issues of the day won’t bring people in, just look at joel’s church, that’s about all he talks about. If it’s numbers you want, give them cake, if it’s
    disciples you want, give them meat.

    • Guest


      • J G Casey


  • Eagleview

    Need to rename article. Only items #4 and #5 deal with people visiting initially. The others deal with people coming back. Weak article… People come primarily because someone they trust/value/have been invested in… has invited them. If we are excited about what God is doing in our lives as a result of our involvement, they might consider that their needs could be met also.

  • ithiel

    Begin to teach on your Statements of  Faith and see how many of your mature saints knows the Word of God. You might be surprised! It is sad when we have to part whiskers to put the bottle in.

  • Copchurch

    Are pastors shopkeepers to stock and give what the people want or are they shepherds who must lead them where God guides them?

  • heislight

    When I hear a statement like #6, it always raises a red flag for me.  I think about Acts 2 and the reaction of the people who heard Peter speak; “when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles – what should we do brothers?”   This wasn’t something they originally cared about.  However because of Peter’s words and the power of the Holy Spirit, they heard what they needed (and here’s the important point….) and what God wanted them to hear!
    We need to be more obedient to God and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work rather than relying upon ourselves to tickle the ears of people so that our seats are full. 

    • J G Casey


  • Obcpastored

    Sounds like several of these reasons are not why they don’t visit you, but instead why they don’t return after their first visit.

  • Whitetotheharvest

    Listen, Mr. Pastor: I just visited your church. It is a small church. I didn’t come in with a crowd–just my wife. The greeter welcomed us and gave us a bulletin. From then on we were on our own. There was a small group of people talking to each other in the back of the otherwise empty church, who did not even notice that we were there. We left. I guess that is why the church is small.
    Here is another church, also small. We walked in and were greeted by the greeters and given a bulletin. They introduced themselves and asked our names. Again we went in and were on our own. We went through several occupied tables near where the refreshments were before service and got some. Nobody at any of the tables seemed to notice we were there. Again it was like we were invisible.
    Finally we were greeted by people we knew from another church. They made us feel as though we were needed. So we stayed. Still on the third visit no one came up to us from the congregation so I said “I am going to go up to people before service, introduce myself and start talking to them.” I asked the first person I came to, after getting his name, if he had been going to the church a long time. He told me that this was his first time and he had come with relatives. After talking with him for a while I felt the Holy Spirit indicating to me that he was not saved. Since he did not go forward at the end of the service, I looked him up and found he wasn’t sure he was going to heaven if he died. So I led him to the Lord!
    What, then, is my message to you? You need to make your congregants aware that they have a responsibility to keep an eye open to visitors and go to them and introduce themselves. All they have to do is introduce themselves and ask if the person has been going a long time. If you have a small church, it should be easy to spot newcomers.

  • Ellen

    My reasons for not wanting to go to other people are people #1, their church isn’t for me. Sure they may be welcoming but it does not mean that I have an interest in attending that church. A friend of mine has always been pushy about me going to church with her, even when she knows perfectly well that I go to a church and have no interest in going to multiple churches. There is a difference between being welcoming and being pushy. Churches should always be prepared to have guests. It should not matter whether a guest came on his own or with a friend. A church should always be welcoming no matter what, and always be ready and willing to answer any questions that they might have. As for #6 I agree that churches need to use more relevant topics when presenting the readings and gospel in their sermons/homilies. Where I go to church, we have the old testament, new testament, a psalm, and the gospel in every mass. In the priest’s homily, he will usually make a summary tying to the readings and use an example of something that may have happened recently or to something that does relate to people’s lives. I have found that by doing this, I can relate to it and grasp the meaning in the Bible passages. I noticed that there are a lot of comments criticizing #6. #6 is not about entertaining people. To me it is about relating the Bible to how it fits in people’s lives today. When in a church, sure, the Bible should be presented in relation to what the church believes and teaches, but it should not be used to criticize what other people and religions believe. From my experience with going to church with my friend (before I chose the church that I go to), a lot of time seemed to be spent criticizing and condemning what other people and myself believe. That is not the kind of church that I would want to spend my time with.


WATCH: John Piper | God Is for Us

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? —Romans 8:32