We are in an interesting season at my church. About a year ago, we really began to notice that our weekend attendance wasn’t what it once was. To make matters worse, our giving was in decline as well.
These two things really spurred us to do some reevaluating at the beginning of 2019. We started asking questions like:
What are we doing wrong?
What can we be better at?
We came up with a list of items that included assimilation, small groups, leadership development, and a few other things.
And we set out to fix it.
And we found success…kind of.
We’ve had more first time guests in the first six months of this year than we had all of last year.
We had more small groups in our first semester of this year than all of last year.
We’ve had more decisions for Christ this year than all of last year.
And our giving is trending ahead of last year’s.
Yet, our attendance is still down over 10 percent from last year.
This is frustrating to say the least.
It begs the question, what do you do when you feel like you’re doing everything you know to do?
I’m not sure if I have the answer to that question, but I’m trying a few things.
- I’m trying to focus on numbers less and stories more. I know it’s not all about the numbers, but when the auditorium isn’t as full as it used to be, it does something to your psyche. I’m trying to shift my focus to the stories of young men and women who are new to Christ and new to our church.
- I’m trying to pray more. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed for my church more than I have this year. Yes, I am praying for God to grow the church, but more than that I’m praying for lives to be changed.
- I’m trying to spend less time talking to “the saints” and more time connecting with new people. I love the people who’ve been to our church for years, but I’m trying to be more intentional about getting guests connected. As a part of that, my wife and I are doing small groups that are fun and relational.
- I’m trying to trust God more with the church finances. I’m pretty conservative when it comes to spending, especially when I see the attendance and giving decreasing. But, I have to realize that sometimes it takes money to reach people and holding on to it is doing more harm than good. Plus, God’s got this.
- I’m trying to not bring work home with me. I know this is next to impossible, but with a beautiful wife and two little girls at home, I’m too blessed to be stressed.
- I’m trying to trust God’s word. The apostle Paul told the Galatians, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
This has been a bit of a difficult season for sure, but I have no plans on giving up. I know there’s a harvest coming soon.
What type of season are you in? Do you believe the harvest is coming? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. And if I can ever help you in a difficult season, please shoot me a message through my contact page. I’d love to connect.