“That’s the church I used to go to.”
I think these are some of the worst words a pastor or church leader could ever hear. When talking to a friend or someone you just met and you find out they “used to go to” your church. It’s always past tense and it means they no longer go there.
Something happened that made them leave. Whether it was doctrine, or bad leadership, or too loud, or too flashy, or not flashy enough, or just too far away, something made your church a “used to attend” church. Regardless of the reason, they either attend church somewhere else or not at all. It can be discouraging to hear this frequently and some church leaders hear it a lot.
I once worked for a church that was over 60 years old. Like most churches, it had its ups and down with regards to its influence in the community. But everywhere I went, I heard this same comment. “I used to go there.” I hated it. Even though at the time, the church was currently thriving, it made me wonder, “How much more impact would the church have if all these people still attended?”
This is on my mind all the time. And it should be on yours also. Although we need to understand God calls people to different ministries, different churches, different place to live and minister (and be ministered), as church leaders we are still responsible for the flock and community God gave us to be a part of. We need to be single minded in the area of reaching those who are lost and to those who are fully walking with the Lord.
How can we best reach more people? How can we keep those who are already here? How can we create methods and strategies that encourage spiritual growth, but also allows for reaching the disenfranchised? How can we keep people from leaving and making our church the place they “used to go to?”
These are the questions we like to ask.
And we challenge you to ask yourself and your team the same questions.
REACH out to us…Is your church one that many people “used to go to?”