Ask most pastors what their competition is on Sunday mornings, and you’ll quite possibly hear a list of what other churches in town are doing.
Most church leaders aren’t real competitive with most all of the churches in their town or region.
But most have at least one or two churches in their area that they feel a little heat from. It could be that the church is bigger. It could be that they’re doing something unique. Or it might be that they are just getting a lot of ‘buzz’ or are the cool church to be at.
But the competition you have on Sunday morning really isn’t other churches. It’s largely a combination of the following things:
1. Apathy – People aren’t going to bed on Saturday night or waking up on Sunday morning keenly aware and interested in their spiritual lives.
2. Busyness – When people don’t place a priority on attending church, other things take it’s place. Sporting events, camping, sleeping in… just to name a few. (A fun experiment for you sometime… visit your closest Walmart sometime in between a couple of your Sunday morning services. It’s a great place to invite your casual worship attenders back to church).
Bottom line: your church has not presented a good enough value proposition.
Now wait. I know that’s a business term. So please don’t jump all over me.
But if people enter your church on Sunday morning and don’t leave encouraged, challenged or changed in some way, there’s a good chance they won’t return the next weekend.
If they leave without being connected (or worse yet, without having a single conversation with ANYONE), they will probably not be long-term attenders.
That’s the back door that everyone talks about. Your front door can be as wide as you like it, but people will find the back door when there is not a good value proposition.
You may be very leery of the ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality when it comes to church attendance. I get that. But be careful. That cuts both ways.
What if YOU don’t get YOUR way? What if the board doesn’t approve YOUR plan? What if YOUR paycheck diminishes? What if YOU don’t feel appreciated or get as many pats on the back as YOU want? What happens when the pastor appreciation gifts don’t arrive with YOUR name on them?
Many church leaders are just as fickle as the people we point the finger at that leave through the back door.
So… let’s talk.
If you’re having problems with people not ‘sticking’, it could be because your message isn’t resonating or sticking with them.
That doesn’t mean that you have to be all things to all people. But it does mean that you need to find fresh and innovative ways for the gospel to STICK. For people to feel VALUED. And for Jesus to become a WAY OF LIFE for the people that enter through your doors.
That’s a tough thing to do.
(Especially when it’s easier to just talk negatively about the people that take that back door exit).
What is your church doing to make sure you give a good value proposition to those that attend? Why (other than a sense of obligation) would most people attend your Sunday morning service rather than sleep that extra hour or run make a Walmart run for motor oil?
What will you do THIS Sunday to help make the message stick and connect people with each other and Jesus’ message?
Your real competition this Sunday is YOU. And how you choose to (or not to) move people from the status quo of their lives.