I said goodbye to 2 families this weekend. They are both moving out of the state and I was able to recommend some good churches in their area. These moments are always bittersweet for me. I’m excited by what God is doing in their lives, yet I’m sad to see such great people leave us. Selfish? Probably. But I feel it nonetheless.
But it got thinking about something that’s a reality for every church: attrition. Every church experiences attrition to one degree or another. People die, people backslide, people get upset, and people move. It’s the natural reality of ministry.
Depending on where you minister and who you are ministering to is what level your attrition rate will be. If you are like us, ministering in a large city, and are in a stage of life that they have not planted permanent roots, your attrition rate will be much higher than a person who is reaching those over 50 in a rural area.
The national average for attrition runs at about 15%. In a big city, that number could be as high as 25% to 30%.
Think about what this means. It means you have to grow by 25% each year just to maintain the same attendance you had the previous year! It also should give us another perspective as to what’s happening in many churches. We are probably reaching a lot more people than any of us realize!