People love watching and talking about trends. Trends in the stock market, trends in prices, trends in culture, and also trends in churches. And apparently, the trend for churches in 2015 is not a good one. If the predictions are true, it looks like things are going downhill:
Your most committed people will attend worship services less frequently than ever in 2015.
What does this mean? Simply that the people who once attended four times a month may only attend three times a month. Members who once attended twice a month will only come once a month.1
You can read more about how Will Mancini came to this conclusion over on his blog, and he also offers a few things we can do to help the situation.
But if I was to take a guess, I would say that the reason behind this trend is that people have forgotten one important thing about church. If everyone at your church understands this simple truth, then there will be no need to fear the predicted trend.
Church is not there to serve you. You are there at church to serve others.
Some of us really love our churches, and so turning up each week to serve others is an absolute privilege. Some of us aren't so positive, and so church can feel like a chore. For many of us, that feeling can change from week to week. But if your church understands that they have an important role in serving others, whether they feel enthusiastic or not, they will stay.
It's amazing how our mindset about church, what it is and what role we have, can impact our attitude towards church and our attendance. And when life gets hard, or busy, or both, it can be very easy for people to forget this simple truth.
How can we remind them?
1. Teach them this truth. Don't wait until people are dropping off or leaving to start teaching them about church. It's too late then because they won't be there to hear it. Start teaching them now what God says about church, and the part we have to play as God's people in loving, serving and building each other up each Sunday. Six Steps to Loving Your Church is designed especially to teach people these core truths about church and help them to love it. The six sessions examine current attitudes towards church and how they are expressed, what the Bible says about the meaning and purpose of church, and how we can be active encouraging servants before, during and after the service.
2. Show them this truth. When we arrive at church, we should be serving others. When we are in the service, we should be serving others. When we chat after the service and enjoy a cup of tea, we should be serving others. But what does it look like to have this mindset? Serve others. Look for opportunities and ways to serve other people in this church and show that this truth isn't just a catchy sentence that you rattle off at the start of a Sunday service, but it's your attitude towards the people of God.
3. Pray they would live this truth. There will be times when you will be greatly encouraged by the way Christians care for one another at church, and there will be times where you will be discouraged. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ, that they would not forget they are at church to serve God and others. Help them in whatever way you can to live out this truth, and then help them to do the same for others.
1. W Mancini, The Most Important Trend of Church Trends in 2015 And What To Do About It, 1 January 2015.