Ethics: Church Members Do Not Feel Connected

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What would you do Wednesday!

Today’s issue is relatively common in the church as far as I can tell. So I’d like to  offer a scenario and ask the Christian blog readers what they would do. I am also curious how common the following issue actually is. Maybe (hopefully) I am wrong about its frequency.

Fellow church members, a married couple, have been sporadic in attendance over the last three months. You noticed the lack of attendance and involvement when it started, but wanted to make sure it was a pattern that might continue before saying anything.

You run into your friends while out at dinner on a Sunday night. You ask how they have been. They reply with the typical, “Fine. We’re good.” You probe gently, “Well, I’ve noticed you all haven’t been around on Sunday mornings as much. I left a couple of messages and had not heard back from you. I wanted to make sure everything was okay. And I want you to know I am here for you.”

They pause and finally answer, “We are thinking about finding another church. I mean – we haven’t looked yet, but we plan to. We haven’t been coming to our church because…honestly…we just don’t feel connected anymore.”

What would you do?

Here are some suggestions to start your thinking…

  • Empathize and try to persuade them to come back.
  • Empathize, but explain that they have not tried.
  • Tell them to suck it up and get back in church!
  • Or…

Here I blog…

Mark

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The above article was posted on March 19, 2014 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rhology March 19, 2014 at 11:45 am

Ask them about how they’re actually serving Jesus.

2 summerpinch March 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm

That’s a good one!

I don’t know how to answer it without knowing the state of the church in question. Does the church value discipleship? Does it give its members opportunity to serve and stress the importance of serving? Is there a community there, i.e. is the church made up of people that do life together?

What does the couple mean by “not connected”? Because that could mean that the church isn’t encouraging discipleship and it’s full of people who are faithful on Sundays but that’s the only time you’ll see/hear from them, OR it could be that the couple is shying away from service and in a spiritual drought and not wanting to be held accountable or brought back to the fold.

If the church I attend is the one we’re talking about, then I would comfortable to share with them all the ways in which I am personally connected, all the opportunities that are available for serving, and try to invite them to a bible study, small group, etc.

3 summerpinch March 19, 2014 at 12:12 pm

ugh. *I would be comfortable enough to

4 Mark Lamprecht March 19, 2014 at 8:40 pm

rhology, that question certainly gets right to the point.

5 Mark Lamprecht March 19, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Summer, I left the details vague hoping to get people to speak from experience. 🙂

Thanks for sharing your insights. Sometimes we never get to ask questions when people use these types of excuses. I always wonder what their expectations were that others didn’t fulfill. Were they reasonable, biblical expectations? Or were they personal felt needs that may be unwarranted or that they’ve never expressed to anyone. Sin might also make them feel disconnected.

6 Cathy M. March 20, 2014 at 10:35 am

I’ve certainly thought a lot about this scenario. One thing I’ve learned is that people leave the fellowship for many reasons, but the one they cite is never it. My church is so demographically misshapen, we’ve all been forced to look hard at this phenomena. Most of the time, leavers are young adults whose spiritual immaturity (or deadness) craves some fulfillment that doesn’t even fall in the purview of a biblical church. Americans quit churches the way we quit marriages. Flesh that analogy out any way you want.

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