The reasons people leave a church is not always bad, people can leave a church for a variety of legitimate reasons. I'm talking about when someone leaves with a broken heart and or broken relationships. What happened?
Burn out - Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? They say that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. This remnant of people are eager to participate and help bring in the harvest in all areas of your church. As a church leader, this may look good at the beginning, you've got people to help do the work that needs to be done. But over time, these people will burn out. They'll get tired, they'll get weary, and maybe, they'll leave. They get so busy doing, they forget that they themselves need to be fed and nourished by the ministry that they are serving. So sometimes, it's up to you to be aware of this dynamic and to make sure your leaders have quality time receiving ministry, and being with their family.
Offence - Let's face it, people aren't perfect, and neither are the people in your church. It's surprisingly easy to get hurt in the church and experience a heartfelt offense, and not just by another Church member, but by the Church leadership as well. I think this is because the church is the last place that people think that they will get hurt. It's supposed to be a safe place. As a church leader, you will do yourself a big favour by quickly addressing any offence that you become aware of.
Distractions - Wouldn't it be great if every church member was dedicated to the mission and invested in seeing it move forward, serving God. People get distracted by all sorts of things in their personal lives from work, to children and other family matters. Distractions can quickly make people feel apathetic towards the church. Our hearts are prone to wander.
Life change – People who have significant life style change can quickly slip through the cracks. Divorce, change of job, moving to a new community, it's surprisingly easy for people to slip away and disengage from the church.
Sin - I was going to use "mistakes" for this reason, but at the end of the day, isn't it really just sin. Look, we fall short all the time and we mess up. But different sin comes with different consequences and effect on the individual and the body. Sometimes the guilt and shame of our sin drives us out of the church. Sometimes the lack of Grace apply to sin drives people out of the church. How do you handle sin that affects the body at your church?
Power struggle – Yeah, people have power struggles even at church. They have an agenda that they want moved forward and when it doesn't, they leave. Sometimes it's best to let them go.
Lack of connection – These folks came in but never got connected to the church and the church family. Without this connection, people feel that they are not loved and that no one cares for them, so they go find a place that will give them the love and attention that they need. I think most of us have seen these type of people come and go.
I think if we make people our main ministry focus, as not all churches do, I think that goes along way in affecting the decisions that we make at the leadership level.
Pastors, how are you taking care of the people in your church? Do you have any effective assimilation process so that newcomers to your church feel embraced and cared for? Are people your main focus, or is the ministry? Just a afew thoughts to consider.