As a church leader, you know that each person in your worship services or small groups is valuable. Every church member matters. You hope that each person wants to grow spiritually as a part of your church family. But you realize that people come and go. Every church has losses. People move away or graduate to heaven. And it’s inevitable that some people leave the church despite its best efforts to help them belong.

Is your church intentional in its efforts to retain the people who have come through your doors? What can your church do to reduce the number of folks who drift out the back door of your church?

These three keys to church member retention can help:


You may find that the majority of those leaving your church are part of a specific demographic. Are you losing young families? Senior adults? Families with teens? Young adults? Knowing where the loss is occurring gets you closer to understanding why the loss is happening. And knowing why will help you create the right solution.


So why are members leaving? Does your church have a process in place to keep track of people’s involvement? Some churches put a lot of effort into getting people in the front door but lack a process that helps them decide to stay.

If a specific demographic group is dwindling, it may be time to add personnel—paid or volunteer staff—to reach and retain those folks. Losses could also result from having the wrong people in place—say, a nursery director who gets annoyed by children.

Your church could be losing people because of differences in perception between the leaders and the people. The two groups might see things very differently. Leaders can lose touch with what their people are really experiencing in their church and in their lives.

Some areas where there might be a leader/people disconnect:
* Vision – Is the leadership casting a clear vision? Are the people buying in?
* Worship – Are the worship services drawing people together, or perhaps alienating them?
* Relevance – Do the people feel that the leaders know them and understand their struggles?
* Spiritual Health – Do the leaders know whether their people are spiritually healthy?

While any combination of these issues could be involved, knowing whether it’s mostly a matter of process, personnel or perception gives you a place to start in improving retention in your church.


Anecdotes don’t tell the whole story. To really address retention, you need accurate information about your people’s attendance and involvement.

ShelbyNext and Arena church management software have solutions to help churches close the back door to church attendance and membership.

Of course, no technology can substitute for a real, human connection. People want to know that they are personally loved and valued by others, especially by their church family. And once you’ve formed those meaningful personal connections, the right technology can help you to consistently maintain and deepen them.

And it’s feeling deeply connected that makes someone say, “This is where I belong.”

Shelby Systems has decades of experience working with ministries of all sizes, for more creative ideas and suggestions contact your Shelby Sales Consultant today!