One trend is having a monumental impact on churches across the United States, says Will Mancini, founder of Auxano, a consulting ministry that focuses on vision clarity. On his blog at ChurchCentral.com, Mancini said: “Your most committed people will attend worship services less frequently than ever in 2015.” Churchgoers who once attended four times a month may now attend only twice a month. Those who attended every other week may now be showing up only once a month. Mancini points to several reasons, including increased involvement in multiple kids’ activities, greater mobility, rise of the virtual workplace, and access to online church services.
Rather than lamenting decreased commitment, says Mancini, church leaders should look for ways to help people make commitments to the most important things in life, given the cultural limitations. Mancini suggests three ideas:
1. Add value, not venues. Instead of adding more things for people to do at church, figure out how to add value to people through fewer programs. Rather than adding more classes, for instance, how can you add value to people’s lives 24/7? Decide on the one or two things you want everyone to be part of and then provide as much value as you can in those venues. Learn to use your website to provide content.
2. Think like a trainer, not a teacher. When your services are about teaching and inspiration only, people will choose to substitute attendance at services in person with digital ones. “Teaching is now ubiquitous and free. Training is not,” says Mancini. For instance, he says, “Instead of just preaching on prayer, give them actual tools and ways to practice.”
3. Design your ministry for end results, not just means. In many churches, people are overprogrammed and under discipled. This is an opportunity for church leaders to discern that more activity does not necessarily lead to more spiritual vitality. Redefine the win. How many people come to church and how often are not as important, says Mancini, as following Jesus better.