This is an excerpt from our book, Out into the Desert, concerning “evangelism” and the status of Western Christianity. I suppose it could apply to any organization.
“Most of the staff in a typical church is postured toward the potential church members. Generally, there are specific people to greet new members. Many churches have follow-up plans to reach out to those that filled out a visitor card.
Let me be clear, I don’t think there is anything wrong with being hospitable and making people feel welcome. But, in our attempts to grow the organization, has the main thing really gotten lost in the shuffle?
The church is described as a family, but what if we are neglecting the current family because we’re always searching for the next addition to our clan? What if the lost sheep is really within the people that already attend? What if the most recent drop in membership is due to a valid problem in the organization that we don’t have time to address? What if the wounded are hobbling out one door as we greet new members coming in the other?
It is probably safe to say that a certain number of people will leave the organized church on a regular basis, and some will never return. Especially when churches are seeker-sensitive and longing to attract new members, people will always act like consumers and “shop around” for what suits them best. I certainly had my share of disappointment toward people that left the church without explanation.
But is the answer to this modern dilemma to just keep feeding people into the machine? Should we neglect current members and write off the ones that are leaving since it’s “inevitable” anyway? Or should we take a long hard look at what business as usual looks like in the 21st century church?” -Karl Forehand, Out into the Desert
Be where you are,
Be who you are,
Be at peace,
Karl Forehand is a former pastor, podcaster, and award-winning author. His books include Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father’s Heart and The Tea Shop. He is the creator of The Desert Sanctuary podcast. He is married to his wife Laura of 32 years and has one dog named Winston. His three children are grown and are beginning to multipl