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You Can’t Keep Anyone at Your Church

With the time that God has given us, we can either chase people or create a culture that people will never want to leave.

I have found that people are far less likely to leave when the culture is right.

When we as leaders focus on creating a healthy, positive and faith-filled culture, and take a stand against things like gossip, politics and a negative spirit in general, our churches become a place people want to be! (Offense) But don’t do it in order to “keep” them. (Defense)

When I talk about things like the spirit of your church, the atmosphere and culture, I mean the general vibe people experience when they attend your church. These things trump your programs. You can execute nearly flawless programming in your ministries, but if the newer people don’t sense a “freshness and vibrancy” in the air, rather than an old “staleness and sameness” no matter how hard you work, new people won’t stay.

From first impressions to early connections, the front door is key. Today’s culture has too many options competing for people’s time and if you don’t “set the table” well, they will find something else to do.

Here are four helpful things to help you set an environment where people want to come!

1) Create an atmosphere that is inviting.

Growing up as a kid I remember my mom saying: “We need to clean and get things ready, we have company coming tonight.” There was a sense of anticipation of something special happening. My parents invited friends for dinner and they wanted everything just right. That is an inviting atmosphere, and the same is true in your church. Everything from your trained ushers and greeters to the enthusiastic children’s ministry, are they ready? It’s not about pretense or putting on a show, it’s showing your guests you care!

2) Communicate practical and relevant sermons.

The tough thing about writing and delivering great messages is that the next one is due in seven days. Most of us can do one great talk, it’s the 40-50 a year that is challenging. Nonetheless, each one must be your best.

Most pastors need several guest speakers (live or video) each year in order to make time to prepare their best messages! Each message should be what you believe God is directing you to say. It should be engaging, encouraging, helpful and speaking directly to the real needs of people. For me, as I’m praying and preparing, I know the moment when the message is ready … it’s the moment I can’t wait to teach it!