An online devotion by David Jeremiah pointed readers to a recent study by the American Enterprise Institute. According to this study, wrote Dr. Jeremiah, “. . . since the outbreak of COVID-19, a third of Americans who previously attended church have stopped going.”
Has your congregation suffered declining attendance during the last two-and-a-half years? If so, do you know why? Was it COVID, or was the virus just the excuse those who left were looking for?
If your attendance has declined in recent years, I suggest you ask those missing folks why they don’t come. You might also ask what it would take for them to return and re-engage. Taking the time and making the effort to sincerely ask these questions might bring some missing members back into fellowship.
In his most recent book, Trust: Knowing When to Give It, When to Withhold It, How to Earn It, and How to Fix It When It Gets Broken, Dr. Henry Cloud posits that there are five essentials of trust: understanding, motive, ability, character, and track record. The essential that hooked me is understanding. Dealing with someone who has a track record of wrong motives and/or inabilities and/or poor character will certainly prevent or destroy one’s trust in that person. But understanding?
Dr. Cloud describes how even a completely moral and capable person (or business/church) may cause people to distrust them simply by not taking the time and effort to ask questions, to understand the thoughts and desires and needs of those they are serving, and to show that they genuinely care about these people. Without that evidence of understanding, people soon ask themselves, Is this person trying to help me or hoping to use me?
The number of registrations and hotel reservations for our 2023 convention indicates that thousands of our members are longing to be together again, despite lower attendance in their local churches. Will you join us in Kentucky?
— Loren Stacy