Here are the top ten reasons LifeWay Research found why people switch churches:
If you have people that are no longer attending your church, here are some potential reasons why:
1. The church was not helping me to develop spiritually. (28%)
2. I did not feel engaged or involved in meaningful church work (20%)
3. Church members were judgmental of others (18%)
4. pastor was not a good preacher (16%)
5. Too many changes (16%)
6. Members seemed hypocritical (15%)
7. Church didn’t seem to be a place where God was at work (14%)
8. Church was run by a clique that discouraged involvement (14%)
9. Pastor was judgmental of others (14%)
10. Pastor seemed hypocritical (13%)
Take a Page From Successful Businesses – Learn From Your “Mistakes”
First of all, realize that you can’t please everybody. But one thing we can do when people leave the church is to find out why. If you can find out why, without applying pressure for the person to stay, you can leave the door open for them to return while gaining insights that might stop a mass exodus. So here are some tips.
1. Do them over the phone or via a form. You are looking for brutal honesty, and people will be more bold if its not eyeball to eyeball. The downside of a form is there is no tone of voice. If you do it over the phone, keep it brief and don’t judge. Make a concerted effort to LISTEN.
2. Don’t Be defensive or judgemental. You’ll only reinforce their reasons for leaving.
3. Pray for them and ask God to bless them on their journey.
Keep in mind that in most cases, people just leave. They vote with their feet in restaurants, retail stores, etc. They are asked if everything we OK, and they reply that things were “fine” and then never come back. If you can get someone to open up, do NOT interrupt them. Listen, and take notes. Take lots and lots of notes. This would be the thing to consider as well before conducting exit interviews. Have people in place with the authority to address any changes that need to be made. There is nothing worse then having someone complain, and then do nothing with that information.