A Startling Statement

04.22.18 | by Keith Russell

A Startling Statement

    I READ A STARTLING STATEMENT just the other day. It said, “Studies show that 82% of newcomers who join will leave the church in their first year”. That’s a BIG number! The article I was reading went on to say, “The first six months are critical because the person (newcomer) is asking three questions: CAN I MAKE FRIENDS IN THIS CHURCH? IS THERE A PLACE I CAN FIT IN? DOES THIS CHURCH REALLY WANT ME?”. Those are three critical questions.

    THE FIRST QUESTION: “Can I make friends in this church?” I have said it often, but let me say it again: Most people are not looking for a friendly church, they are looking for friends. Now, being friendly is important, but becoming a friend is more important. In the first six months a newcomer needs to make six or seven friends. If they do not, they are not likely to stay at the church.

    THE SECOND QUESTION: “Is there a place I can fit in?’’ It is imperative that a newcomer find people of their age and marital status. That’s why our Connection Groups are age-graded. That’s why we offer classes for married people and single people. It is imperative that newcomers find people they can relate to. That can be people who enjoy the same things: music, hunting, shopping, fishing, traveling, golfing, etc. If a newcomer cannot find someone to do life with, they are not likely to stay at the church.

    THE THIRD QUESTION: “Does this church really want me?” New members have new ideas. Those ideas may be different than the ideas of the long-time church member. I don’t mean the ideas are unbiblical, they are just different. If the newcomer is ignored and mindset of the congregations is “business as usual”, he/she is not likely to stay at the church.

    THE BEST ANSWER for all of those questions is the Connection Group. That’s where newcomers get connected to God’s Son, God’s Word, God’s people, and God’s mission. So, make sure your Connection Group is open and welcoming to newcomers who are looking for a friend, a place to fit in, and feel wanted.