LifeWay Research released a survey this week indicating that 15% of church attenders have thought about leaving their church in the last 6 months. You can see the survey Here.
Why would so many people think of leaving their church? Of course, there are a few legitimate reasons: moving from the area; marrying a heretic (I’m kidding) who attends another church; not getting your way in the Carpet Color Committee Meeting (oh wait… that’s not a legitimate reason). It’s been my experience that people are too quick to start “church shopping,” but the churches that keep the 15% have taught its members/attenders the following:
1) The Truth about Pastures. The “grass in the other church’s pasture may look greener” but it’s not. Churches like cow pastures are filled with shades of green and brown. Since cow pastures are both the cattle’s kitchen and restroom, they contain opportunties for growth, but you also have to watch your step. Just like every church. All the churches I’ve pastored have had a less-than-perfect pastor (me) and have had room to improve. They’ve also had plenty of good folks and ministries. Your pasture (church) just like the next pasture (the church down the road) has its share of green and brown too. You will find whatever color you are looking for, so look for the lush green grass on your side of the fence.
2) Math Rules. Good members/attenders have learned to add and multiply, not subtract and divide. Add to the body by offering your talents, love and positivity. Then watch God multiply what you’ve given for His glory. Those that subtract from the ministries, who are negative toward leadership and mission become a fraction of themselves and play into our enemy’s goal of dividing the body.
3) Churches should be more like camping, than a cafeteria. Church isn’t a cafeteria where you pig out on piles of bacon, mounds of potatoes and more of everything offered only to leave as soon as you can’t eat another bite. It’s more like a campground, where you pitch your tent. You stay. Make friends with the next campsite’s residents. Share stories, supplies and maybe eat some s’mores together. Just because there may be rain clouds forming, you don’t pull up your stakes. Instead, happy campers hunker down with a “this-storm-will-pass” attitude. It’s not about consuming all you can and leaving, but joining in life and sharing with others even (especially) through the storms.
4) Members/Attenders should be more like Gorilla Glue than real Gorillas. Gorilla Glue’s marketing campaign states that the glue can hold anything together. On the other hand, you never know what a real Gorilla is going to do: charge or start throwing their own messes. Churches aren’t places to beat one’s chest and claim your territory, instead we need members/attenders who are more like the glue that holds things together.
Conclusion:Your church needs you. Look for areas of growth, adding and multiplying to God’s work, camping out with a positive attitude and being the glue that holds things together. Your church needs you to be in the 85% that says: “I’m staying! God’s up to something and I don’t want to miss it!”