Why then, are we not doing more to reclaim the 43 out of 100 that leave? Here are 5 practical tips.
1. Use technology.
My friend Jim Davidson, spoke last week about an experiment he did. He searched on www.peoplefinders.com for people that he knew were disconnected from the church. It took him 10 minutes to find several. With the average church only having an average of 50% of its regular members in regular attendance, how are we letting the former/inactive/disconnected know that we care?
Handwritten notes say “I care”. But so does a postcard, a letter, a text or an email. Here is a sample one you can use or adapt. http://www.slideshare.net/RogerHernandez6/sample-letter-for-reclaiming-members
c. Use right approach.
None of these strategies work very well:
Threats- “if you don’t come back, we will have to erase you from our books.”
Warnings- “Jesus is coming, and you are at risk of losing your salvation if you don’t come back.”
Pat phrases- “I know just how you feel.” (no you don’t)
Defensive posture- “let me explain.” No need to defend the church for previous decisions. Just listen.
“The church has changed”- unless this is true, don’t use it just to get them back.
The best approach is one of loving intentionality that tells the person: We love you. We miss you. We want you back. So does God.
d. Prepare your church.
How many people have left the church in not so good terms, returned, to find the same drama that made them leave in the first place? Explain to your greeters and ushers (and for that case ALL members) that when they see a face they have not seen in a while the way to go is to act normally. Don’t ignore. Don’t smother.
e. Use special days to your advantage.
Christmas. New Years. Valentine’s Day. Easter. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Fourth of July. Back to School. Thanksgiving. All times of the year where you may be having something special. It’s good to invite them back when they know they won’t be the center of attention.
What has worked for you? What resources have you used? Share them in the comment section.