If we are to attract those in our community who do not attend church, we need to know why they do not attend church. Over the years I have heard many answers to the question. One of the complaints is that the church is too restrictive in what they demand of their members. I wonder if as churches we communicate the wrong message. Individuals in the community only hear what the church is against without knowing how—what the church believes is connected to statements concerning issues in our society. They fail to see how despite one's profession of faith, members of the church have differing solutions to issues. I suspect that those who are not familiar with our churches believe every member belongs to one political party and all agree that there is only one way to find solutions to the problems we need to address in our society. Not everyone in the church “thinks” the same way in solving problems but everyone in the church has core beliefs.
I would suggest that the church needs to communicate its core beliefs. I wrote a book, Life: It is All About God. For my own benefit I attempted to answer four questions that I believe either consciously or subconsciously we all attempt to answer. The questions are:
- Who are we?
- Why do we do what we do?
- What should we do?
- What should we expect?
I think these are four questions that are answered by all of us in some manner either through our words or our actions.
I would suggest that the church needs to answer those questions and communicate those answers to our communities. Rather than making statements for and against issues, the core belief of the church needs to be communicated so that statements made about issues have their roots in our statement of faith. Those who do not attend church many times see the church being for and against issues rather than seeing the how they relate to the “core beliefs” of the church.
It may be helpful to do a survey of the community in which you assess why people do not attend church. I would further suggest that Elders as leaders in the church spend time answering those questions and then communicating those answers to both the congregation and the community.