Even the regular attenders aren't regular anymore...
It used to be that ‘good’ church people were in church every Sunday (unless they were on vacation).
That meant that you could depend on your regular attenders to be there, serve, and pay the bills (give regularly).
But that has changed.
In most churches, most volunteers, most ‘regulars’ are attending less. Instead of four weeks a month, you might see them two or three.
Why is this?
Well… a few reasons.
Culture has definitely changed. People are ‘busier’. There are more demands on their time (or better said ‘more ways to spend their time’). Many now have work schedules that require them to miss worship frequently. Traveling sports teams now schedule games on Sundays. Plus .the internet has sermons on demand, and literally thousands of online church options (your church might deliver one of them)
But Carey Nieuwhof has another suggestion as to why attendance from people in your church may be inconsistent:
“Infrequent church attendance is usually a sign that people don’t see value in what you’re doing. And that’s a problem.”
“When parents who never ever miss their kids’ soccer practice regularly miss church, it’s a sign that they’re more engaged in soccer than they are in church. In other words, they just don’t see the value in attendance.”
Now this is something we just don’t want to hear.
Too many times we write off inconsistent attendance because of the list of excuses in the previous paragraph.
But maybe (just maybe), people aren’t coming as often because they see other things as just as valuable or more valuable.
Can we be honest?
There is very little that you offer at your church on Sunday morning that can’t be replicated outside your four walls.
I can listen to a sermon online (sometimes the same sermon that you are preaching… only delivered by Andy or Craig).
I an listen to worship music… even watch videos… of bands and vocalists that are much more polished than yours.
25 years ago, I couldn’t replicate those things on my own.
(And for the record, I don’t think people who skip church are necessarily listening to sermons and worship music online at home instead).
I’m just saying that the bar for providing value has increased tremendously.
The one thing your church does offer in a way that no other place can is community. There is something special about the gathering of believers to worship. But this community needs to be fostered in ways that get people involved, attached, and connected.
Those connections help people come back next Sunday. And the next.
QUESTION: What are you doing at your church to provide value, to insure that people WANT to be at your gathering, to inspire them to return because it was a highlight of their week?