Do people visit your church but end up not staying?
Here is an example of a common question I receive:
My church is not growing. People come, but they do not stay. We’ve analyzed all the majors and feel we are doing what we should, but they do not stay. Any thoughts please?
I receive something similar almost weekly. I wish I had answers every time. I don’t. Most of the time I know they can’t afford a consultant (or don’t think they can, but should consider the investment), so I try to give them a few suggestions, in the limited time I have, to think through their issues.
Here is an expanded version of my typical answer:
It’s hard to diagnose here without more information. I do believe God wants the church to grow. We are to make disciples, and part of discipleship is make more disciples. That in and of itself is growth.
A few quick comments first:
God is in charge of the numbers.
People can disagree with me (and do) when I say I believe healthy churches are growing. Some grow in different ways. Some internally and some by raising up people who go outside the church to make disciples. Regardless of how growth occurs, all of us must agree God is ultimately in control.
The Holy Spirt grows people and therefore the church.
We aren’t without responsibility in doing our part. We’ve been given an assignment to be a body with many parts, but we don’t ultimately grow people or churches.
Churches go through seasons, just as individual believers do.
There are seasons we grow more than others and seasons we are simply maturing to grow later.
There are no cookie cutter answers.
Just as God makes people unique, churches are unique because they are comprised of unique people.
With those clarifications, here are a few quick thoughts to help you discern your particular situation: