5 Surprising Reasons Your Attendees Won’t Commit

5 Surprising Reasons Your Attendees Won’t Commit

On any Sunday morning, your church is populated by a few distinct groups. You have those who are committed to your church community, those who are visiting, and those who are somewhere in between.
The latter group shows up to a service periodically (or maybe fairly often), but for whatever reason they’ve never actually made your church their home. They’re satellites floating in your church’s periphery that never seem to land.

Every church is hard at work ministering to the committed and trying to get visitors to come back—but knowing how to reach the uncommitted can be difficult.

If you’re interested in turning these satellites into dedicated members of our churches, you need to ask yourself where the disconnect lies.

Here are five potential reasons why they haven’t committed to your church:

1. They think they are committed

It’s important to consider the fact that their idea of commitment and yours may not be in sync. If they were raised in a home where church attendance was something that only happened on Christmas and Easter, coming once a month may feel like a lot.

In their minds, they’re more involved than their family of origin, and that’s a win. You need to continue to challenge everyone with what real commitment looks like. It’s the only way that you’re going to encourage more engagement from people who think they’re already aligned with you.

2. You haven’t asked them

You might speak a lot about commitment from the pulpit, but how does that translate to individuals who already think they’re involved enough? If they assume that they’re committed, why would they think that what you’re saying applies to them?

There comes a time when you need to have a conversation with these people and invite them to experience a deeper level of community. But remember, you’re not confronting them—you’re issuing an invitation.

3. You haven’t asked enough

There’s a good chance that you’ve created more than one opportunity for people to get more involved, and they haven’t taken you up on it. That’s okay.

The good news is that they’re still orbiting, and you have more opportunities to connect with them and build a genuine relationship. Ultimately, their commitment to the church will happen as God moves in their life. So keep praying and giving them opportunities to become more engaged.

It’s also important to approach commitment in a variety of ways and from several angles. Sometimes, they just haven’t heard an invitation to community that has resonated with them yet. When they hear the right one, it will click with them and can snowball into commitment in other areas, too.

Be sure to ask. Don’t be shy about it. Invite your community to participate in your mission and nurture engagement and growth within your ministry.

4. They have an obstacle to commitment

Sometimes, you’ll find that the problem isn’t that they don’t know how to commit; it’s that past commitment has burned them. They’ve come from a church where too much was expected of them or they felt unappreciated.
The challenge here is that you need to keep reaching out, but with the understanding that they’re nervous about finding themselves in the same situation. You’ll probably find more success by helping them take baby steps to more involvement than you will by expecting them to make a one-time, all-in commitment.

5. They don’t know how to commit

One of the great things about church membership is that it provides a clear demarcation of commitment. People who want to be more involved and commit themselves to the church can become members, and this provides a way for them to make that crucial, public step that says, “This is our church and we’re part of this community.”
Without membership, it can be harder to define when and how someone becomes more involved. If you don’t offer membership, but you want people to be more engaged, they need to have a clear understanding of the expectations. And it’s helpful if you have a visible process that’s similar to membership where they and the congregation can communicate their mutual commitment to each other.

Building Commitments through Relationship

Relationships are the key to getting people more involved. If you can forge a connection with the commitment challenged and gain an understanding of their past church experience, it can help everyone move forward.

Knowing why they’re hesitant to get involved will help you extend an invitation that they’re excited to accept. Learn more today—download the free ebook, 7 Ways To Beat Church Decline!

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Jayson D. Bradley

Jayson D. Bradley is a writer and pastor in Bellingham, WA. He’s a regular contributor to Relevant Magazine, and his blog JaysonDBradley.com has been voted one of the 25 Christian blogs you should be reading.