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Why Do People Come to Church

Posted by Pastor Paula Ferris on

During my recent move, as I cleaned out a few files, I discovered some notes I had taken a couple of years ago at a seminar with nationally respected church growth expert, Jim Griffin.


“Do you know why people come to church?” he asked.  Actually, I did know that 75% of new church members come to a church because of personal invitation from a friend or acquaintance.  “Because they’re asked!” he exclaimed.  (Two points for me.)


“Do you know why they stay?” he asked.  “Because of the great preaching,” I thought.  “Because they feel ‘friended’!” he exclaimed.  (Minus two points for me.0


He then went on to ask some pointed questions of the audience.  “Do you talk about your spiritual life to your friends, family, acquaintances?” he inquired.  “Do you invite people into your spiritual world?  Do you make friends?”


Then he all but yelled, “Come on, say it out loud, ‘I don’t want new friends and I don’t want new people at my church.  I just want the church to be big and full of people I already know and who honor and respect and love me.’”


I swallowed hard, then acknowledged that he might be right.


A growing church is a church where the friends and members of the church are living the love of God right out loud and people are being touched and transformed.  We want to be that kind of place.


If you’re hanging back waiting for someone “braver” or “more outgoing” than you to do this job, your spiritual life will languish and the spiritual condition of our faith family will languish.


PS.  Try it at the car wash.  You’d be surprised at how willing most people are, in ordinary conversation, to share their spiritual experiences with you.