In some churches nearly half of church members are inactive. Many of these have not attended in years. These inactive disciples often are not on a Sunday School roll or in any church ministry or organization which would be attempting to provide regular contact and care. As a result, access to these individuals is frequently difficult. It is difficult for a at least three reasons:
- the church has lost correct contact information (phone, address, and electronic information for the individual is incorrect),
- no one knows or remembers the inactive disciples or anyone connected with the individual; and
- guilt by church leaders because of the lack of contact with the individual.
What Can Be Done?
PRAY. The best way to start is with a season of prayer. Confess poor stewardship of the sheep in the care of the church. Even though some walked away through no intentional fault of the church, the lack of contact shows a history of apathy. Seek the Lord’s help in the restoration effort.
MAKE A COMMITMENT. Lead the church or a key group (such as Deacons or Sunday School leaders) within the church to commit to make a good faith effort at restoration of every inactive member. It will be messy and take lots of time by many people. Without commitment, the tendency will be to grow weary and distracted before effectively concluding the effort.
PLACE SOMEONE IN CHARGE. Enlist someone who is passionate about this effort. Without passion, the individual can settle for a premature end to the project. Give this person authority and support to accomplish this important work.
In Part 2, I will share more steps in the effort toward restoration of inactive disciples. The effort is worth the time and energy. Make (and keep) disciples!