A healthy community is crucial for any church. But if church attendance has been dwindling in the past couple of years, there are definitely reasons for you to be concerned. When fewer people are going to church, your church services become less lively, but more importantly, there are fewer people that are donating to your church frequently.
Why Do People Leave A Church Community?
There could be a combination of reasons why fewer people go to a church weekly. Primarily, older people tend to frequent church, and it's often the assumption that once they go to heaven, that results in emptier pews. While that may be true, there may actually be bigger problems caused by what your church is or isn't doing.
Some people tend to get affected by outside influences that can cause them to be less interested in religion altogether, while others opt to attend another church in town. The latter can cause “competition” so to speak for attendees and donors.
There are a collective number of reasons is why there are not as many attendees as there used to be in a church. But, there are many things that you can do in hopes to not only get some attendees back but to attract new ones, as well. Here are five things you can do to revitalize the community around your church:
1. Make Renovations
This idea certainly can draw a lot of attention in the community and can cause many lapsed church attendees to return. This suggestion, however, should only be for churches that need or can benefit from repairs and/or upgrades. With upgrades, you can replace your pews with newer and comfortable ones, add or replace the air conditioner, get better lighting, add newer decor, and other ideas that can improve the experience overall for your attendees. If attendees are finding it hard to stay comfortable throughout your services, you know that this can be changed for the better.
If you are in need of funds for upgrades to your church, NewFire Giving can give you tools and resources to raise money around your area.
2. Hire New Pastors
This is often another common reason for attendees to leave a church and join another one. If you have a priest that is known to speak in a dull tone, drone on, and fail to captivate church attendees, it could result in many of them looking for something better elsewhere. While you can keep current priests in your rotation, it's important to look for fresh pastors that can grab peoples' attention, use charisma and personality, and be lively and upbeat in general to make sermons more interesting and worth listening to. Younger pastors can also tend to appeal to younger audiences, so it never hurts to give one a try.
3. Appeal To A New Demographic
There are things you can do to invite new demographics to your church so that more than just one type of demographic attends weekly services. If you think you are in need of more teen and young adult attendees, you can assemble youth groups to lead the music and bible passages that go on during your services. It can encourage more involvement among younger attendees and can make for a livelier atmosphere that the community can look forward to.
Alternatively, you can rent out the church to other functions in need of a place to hold events. Musical concerts, daycares, and other events can take place inside your church, with the trade-off being that people at these events are impressed with what your church offers. If they like what they see, they can surely stop by on Sundays to attend a service. Should you decide to rent out church space to others, however, you should contact legal counsel to be sure you are making the right decisions every step of the way. It is also a good idea to refer to laws on renting out church space, as they tend to vary on a state-by-state basis.
4. Take Advantage Of Other Churches Losing Supporters
Some churches tend to move on when a group of lapsed attendees are gone and long forgotten. With that said, new attendees become the church's next priority. Even if there are people that have left your church, there are always people that have also left other churches around town for one reason or another. You can use this to your advantage.
To find people like this in your area, you can always search social media groups and reach out to church-goers that have lost faith in their church recently. From there, you can tell others about your church, and how it makes a difference to the community. Of course, you're going to want to impress new attendees as well, so make sure that their first impressions aren't underwhelming.
5. Conduct A Survey
If you aren't sure of why a percentage of your attendees and donors have left your church, you can always get feedback with a handy survey. Simply refer to your directory of current and past patrons and send questionnaires to their addresses or email inboxes. Ask them questions like “What are you doing on Sundays?”, “What are the reasons why you left?”, and “What would it take for you to return?”. You can add these questions and many more, but always be sure to be respectful and do not plead for them to return or donate.
From there, you can receive feedback on what you can do to improve your church's experience. If you notice a pattern in what feedback you are getting, you should have a good idea about what can be done to win back lapsed attendees and more.
Revitalizing a church community is no easy feat, but you know that there are changes that need to be made in some form so that you maintain a strong gathering of donors and attendees. Consider making changes to your church which can, in turn, make waves across the community and restore its life and activity.
NewFire Giving makes it easy to accept funds and donations to churches locally and online. Get started with NewFire Giving today for beneficial tools and resources.