Reaching the Missing Church Member

Today in our service our Pastor explained for a specific point he was making that the average Southern Baptist Church has around 250 people on their membership rolls. I thought “that’s not too bad, and even ‘good’ sounding” but then I instantly wondered how many people actually attend services on a regular basis.

The Church is one of the few “groups” of people who tend to talk about their membership rolls and not how active their members are.

We get a lot of calls from Pastors who are quick to share their membership numbers. Based upon our knowledge, we typically think that a little less than half of the members make it to service regularly. The Pastor often agrees.

Why is this? I think maybe these 3 reasons are what I hear often:

  1. Aren’t true believers. When’s the last time you tried to reach the members who don’t come? In the business world, we know you’re more apt to make a “sale” to people who already know you. Perhaps our churches need to reach their missing members at the same time as reaching “out” to the world.
  2. Don’t understand why they should attend. For those who are truly believers, if they don’t attend, they don’t realize the benefits of attending. If they’re believers, they’ll want to grow and fellowship at a local church. Do you know quickly why someone would want to go to your church? Every local church has some similar benefits. But you should also know the unique reasons for attending your specific church. Or maybe you should encourage them to attend another great local church.
  3. Don’t want to attend. These are the tough ones. There’s probably a really good reason they stopped coming. A crazy person in the church, a too dominant leader, a hypocrite, apathy, and the list goes on and on. Your church should have a way to find out those reasons without making the person feel judged. If you know the issues, you can change them. Many church leaders have their heads in the sand.

Our pastor said that a few more than 70 is the average service attendance for Southern Baptists. Wow. Only a third of the membership.

We need to change. Or we’ll be condemned to repeat where we’re at now.

God help us.

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