In Part 1, I shared that in some churches nearly half of church members are inactive. Many have not attended in years. In the effort to restore inactive disciples, I shared three reasons access to these individuals is difficult. Then I shared three critical ways to start the restoration effort: pray, make a commitment, and place someone in charge.
In Part 2, I will share three more steps in the restoration effort:
What Can Be Done?
Prior to moving forward, it may help to clarify the definition for four categories of church members (disciples). The following were adapted from a resource that is out of print, Ingathering: Reclaiming Inactive Church Members:
- inactive members: church members who have no participated in any church activities in the past 12 months, even though they were physically able
- marginally active members: church members who have participated during the past 12 month but less than 25% of the time
- active members: church members who attend Sunday School, worship, and other activities more than 25% of the time
- members becoming inactive: church members who have significantly decreased participation during the past 12 months
PREACH A SERMON OR SERIES ABOUT RESTORATION. Following God’s leadership, preach about concern for inactive disciples and encourage participation in this project. Raise the spiritual temperature about the importance of restoration for the individuals, the church, and the Kingdom.
GATHER A TEAM. Before the person in charge (see Part 1) enlists the team, he/she prays that God will help assemble a team who will committed to restore every inactive member. After a season of prayer, consider candidates He brings to mind and personally enlist them. Explain the importance of the effort, phases of the work, and the length of the work. Then gather the team to chart your course and set regular meeting dates.
PREPARE AND CONDUCT RESEARCH. It is impossible to understand the scope of the work without looking through your church membership list and Sunday School enrollment. Gather statistics about total membership, resident members, nonresident members, Sunday School enrollment, and worship attendance, and Sunday School attendance. From examination of records, determine the number of inactive members (disciples). Gather whatever names and contact information you have for these inactive members.
In Part 3, I will share more steps for the Restoration Team in the effort toward restoration of inactive disciples. The effort is worth the time and energy. Make (and keep) disciples!