2. Long-Time Church People Are Unsettled
Not all long-time church people will be upset that your church is reaching unchurched people, but some will be.
Why will they resist the growth?
Well, because they’ll be concerned that people who don’t look like them, behave like them or share their moral value system are now sitting beside them on Sundays or in group with them mid-week.
This is a good sign.
Some of those churched people will leave, but you will also have a group that have waited for this day all their lives.
They have unchurched friends who are coming and they’ll be thrilled that the church is (finally) accomplishing its mission. Run with them.
When people who don’t look like you or behave like you are sitting next to you in church, you’re on mission.
3. Irregular Attendance Is Regular
Paradoxically, one of the signs your church is reaching the unreached is that irregular attendance is now regular.
This unsettles pastors and long time church attenders. Normally, if a church person is away for a month, it’s a ‘sign’ of something.
Not with unchurched people. Unchurched people often have no precedent in their lives for church attendance. Remember: This is the most they’ve attended church ever.
It’s kind of like you joining a gym. If you’ve never worked out, heading to the gym twice a week is a huge step and major commitment. The body-building iron-pumping dude bench pressing 275 may look at your soft middle and think you’re slacking, but for you it’s massive progress.
Smart congregations understand this way.
So do you want to leave people casually attending? Of course not.
As I’ve shared many times in this space, if you really want to tackle irregular attendance habits, focus on engaging people in their faith. (Here’s why and how.)