Aren’t Churches Supposed to Lose People When They Change?

When I was in seminary, I was taught that before you ever make a change in your church, you need to calculate how many people you would lose if you changed.  An honest look at how those departures would affect attendance, volunteers, and especially budget should give you an indication of whether or not you should change.

North Side is in the middle of a change (if you haven’t heard ;)).  We are going from 3 worship services to 2.  2 worship styles to 1.  We are having a simple flip-flop schedule with worship and discipleship groups for all ages at both 9:30 & 11:00.

We decided to change for 2 basic reasons:

1.  We believe that God will be more glorified with our unity. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been glorified in the past, or that churches who do different styles of worship and discipleship are in the wrong, it just means that the more we study Scripture, we think God will be more pleased when we put our preferences to the side rather than on display.

2.  Our accommodation led to a logistical nightmare of a schedule. In an attempt to meet all different “needs,” we couldn’t do simple things or do them well.  This schedule makes it more accessible for people of all ages to get plugged into worship, discipleship, or service on a Sunday morning.

We went through a time of prayer and seeking God’s Word.  Our elders met.  Our members discussed.  And our church decided that we needed to forward with a new schedule and new approach.  And now is the time to hold our breath, right?  Now is the time when we step back and see how many people will we lose?  How will the budget be affected?

Honestly, we are not shocked at what is happening.  It is actually quite the opposite.  We believe that if you follow God, he takes care of you and all the details (Ex. 14:14).  In fact, we aren’t losing members, we are gaining them.  We had the largest Connect we’ve ever had 2 weeks ago.  We are having more baptisms than normal.  We are having more people say that they buy into the vision of this church.  Literally hundreds of people have said they were tired of sitting on the sideline, and they are starting to get into groups and serve in different capacities.  In some areas, we have more volunteers than what the original call was for!

Aren’t churches supposed to lose people when they change?  Maybe, but we know that if our God is for us, than who could be against us (Rom. 8:31)?!  We are actually seeing growth during our time of transition.  God is honoring our desire to be more pleasing to him.  So if you are a church or ministry leader who sees the need to improve some things, go forward, but only go forward if you believe that the change you want to take place would honor God.  Not because it’s the hippest new trend.  Our changes right now are bucking the church growth paradigm, but we are backed by the Word of God, and when the people of God empowered by the Spirit of God get behind it,

Watch out.