Kent Shaffer has an interesting article about why the unchurched (and previously churched) pick a church. He listed statistics from a few sources, one of them being Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and proven ways to reach them.
It appears that when a person is unchurched, their choice is heavily influenced by the pastor. However, once that person starts attending the church the reason they stay active is Ministry involvement.
Many moons ago I used to teach customer service classes, and won awards for delivering outstanding customer service. On occasion I would get involved with people and clients who wanted to “do a survey.” They would start working on questions to ask, the format of the card to send, etc. I would always put up a giant STOP sign and ask, “What are you going to do with the feedback when it comes in? If someone complains, do we have a system in place to handle it and to rectify the situation?” Looking at these surveys it seems as if nothing has changed.
You can have the worlds most dynamic pastor, and that will draw in people. It may keep those who just want a good sermon. However, God wants us to be active Christians. For us to be active it helps if the church has ministries that people can get involved in.You don’t want people going, “Hey I’m a member what do you want me to do?” and answer them, “Ummmm… hold on a second.”
Shaffer conculded, “The statistics speak for themselves. Overall, doctrine, the pastor and his preaching, and the friendliness and fellowship of the congregation are the most influential qualities.” This appears to be true based on the answers of the surveys. So if you are looking to get people in the door, read that article. If you want people to keep coming back, you better work finding some ministries that these new members can get involved in.