If the back door of a church is wide open, it doesn’t matter how many people are coming through the front door – that church is losing a spiritual harvest. It is easy to get so focused on reaching people that we have forgotten the importance of keeping people.
Churches that can retain people are healthier than those who don’t. They not only attract spiritual window-shoppers and lead them to Christ; they also grow them up to maturity.
That is what Jesus has called us to do… to “go” and “make disciples.” That’s evangelism and maturity in one missional sentence.
Do you remember the parable of the sower and the seed? Three out of four of the soils which had seed planted in it failed to produce a crop healthy enough for a harvest. The point of the parable is simply this – a spiritual start is no guarantee of a happy ending. No farmer in his right mind would ever be satisfied with those kinds of results. A crop that didn’t last all the way to harvest time would be a financial disaster.
Likewise, when churches lose three out of four people who are coming through the front door they are facing a disaster. The only thing worse would be to not have any visitors in the first place.
PCC is healthy and growing - not only because we have so many who visit each week - but because we have succeeded in retaining so many of them. We are a “sticky” church.
I think we can do better.
We must do better.