The best way to keep people from leaving your church is to not let them in to begin with.
I understand why Seeker Sensitive churches exist. I get why churches market and use gimmicks to get people to attend. I also know that most people attracted by gimmicks and marketing leave the church, often after causing problems.
There is a small-business owner in my church who told me that he is picky about who his customers are. If a customer is too demanding or has a bad attitude, he doesn’t do what they say. They don’t come back. Everyone is saved a hassle.
“The customer is always right” is a statement based on a business model of making money no matter what. Keeping customers happy retains customers so you can make more money off of them. Jerks pay cash too!
The church, in my opinion, is not a money-making venture. Mine particularly. Although the church ignores them, there are several verses about church discipline. Not all people in your church should be in your church. The customer is not always right.
This is a tough pill to swallow for many. Some have a view of grace that says anything goes, everyone must be tolerated, and no judging should ever be done. I think the Bible disagrees with that.
I’m rarely shocked when people leave my church. I know months before they were going to leave. I’ve become quite adept at identifying problem people.
Although I do not go out of my way to initiate people’s departures, I have been known to expedite the inevitable. As Jesus said to Judas, “What thou doest, do it quickly.”
Jesus Christ made following Him difficult for people who volunteered to follow Him. “Foxes have holes to lie in but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head. You sure you want to follow?” “Let the dead bury their dead” was said to a man considering following Christ. This doesn’t sound seeker sensitive to me. If anything, Jesus comes across as Seeker Insensitive.
I’m not saying churches and pastors should be jerks, but I think the idea of making the transition from world to church as smooth as possible is fraught with dangers.
Much of the ugliness going on in churches today is because we beg anyone and everyone to come in. Then we’re shocked when the church looks like the world and our churches are filled with politics and fighting.
Put a few hurdles in the way. Sing old hymns. Preach for 45 minutes. Use the King James! Be different from the world and scare some folks off before they run roughshod over the church.
I know, I know, “all things to all people.” That is fine for personal ministry, but disastrous for a church to follow. The same guy who was “all things to all people” also handed people over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.
This is a tough issue. No one I’ve ever talked to about this has ever agreed with me and nor have I ever agreed with anyone who has talked to me about it.
My point is: I’d rather have people know they don’t fit in my church after three visits than after three years and then leave trying to split the church. Get it over with.
Jesus Christ put some hurdles out there for people to jump. I think He knew what He was doing. So, What Would Jesus Do? Probably use smoke machines and laser light shows.
Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.