A Church Quitter: Tips to Reaching Them

Are you a quitter?

Most would say, no, I’m not a quitter. But I think there’s lots of ways we quit.

Some statistics say as many as 95% of dieters fail. With 45 million Americans dieting each year, there’s some quitting going on.

Should I ask about your daily quiet time? Sadly, I realize I’m a quitter. I love the benefit of personal bible reading and prayer but I drift away. Regularly.

It’s hard to be critical of people who stop regularly attending church. Although I can’t imagine being a quitter. But statistics say it happens all the time. People leave church; maybe not all at once, but they stop regularly attending, move to occasionally coming, and then disappear.

It happened to me a few years ago at my local gym. I was going every day. Then 2-3 days a week. Then I became a quitter. And my membership lapsed.

Within 2 months I realized that my pants were shrinking and I didn’t feel as good about myself. That’s the time the gym needed to contact me and asked me to come back. But instead, I didn’t hear from them. Several months went by until a friend invited me back. The friend who won’t let me become a quitter.

What about your church? What do you do about a quitter (aka: former member, back slider, former saint)? Here’s 3 ways to deal with a quitter:

  1. Monitor what regular attendance means. When a credit card is used in an odd, non-regular way, an alert is given for someone to check on your card. Churches need to decide what is the “regular” pattern for members attendance so we can send out an alert when people are wavering. Small groups can monitor this easier by holding better accountability.
  2. Send an alert. Is that an email, a personal letter or a call? If someone is slowing down in attendance, it’s an excellent opportunity for ministry. Is work, home, stress the reason? Sickness, death, pain? Or maybe they’re questioning what church has to offer them. It’s easier to reach them now by ministering to them.
  3. Know the time of pain. The moment I expanded beyond my pant’s waistline after I became a gym quitter. If people stop going to church, there’s a time that they should miss something. You need to determine that time frame and send another alert to contact them. People don’t miss you? You’ve discovered a greater ministry issue.

The key to all of this? Make sure you’re keeping good records of people who “try” your church. Keep an email or number so you can contact them. And then do it! The gym had a lot of my personal information (thanks to their contract) but never contacted me once. Shame on them. And shame on you if you’re not contacting people that drift away.

In case you were wondering, I’m back at the gym. I’m getting my benefits again. And all my pants seem to fit better! Now, that’s a great benefit.

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