Recently, I came across a church website (a nicely-done one, by the way) advertising a church that I have no doubt has effective ministry in many respects. But one thing struck me as so oddly/sadly out of place: the church admitted to the following two facts:
1. We have an average attendance of 1300.
2. We have a church membership of 3600.
Question: wouldn’t that embarrass the stuffing out of you? Would that be the kind of thing you’d admit (dare I say even “brag about”) on your website? Making the reasonable assumption that a decent percentage of that “average attendance” (let’s guess low and say 10%) consists of folks who aren’t members of the church, is the fact that two out of three of your members don’t bother parking their butts in church on Sunday morning a source of pride, or deep, deep embarrassment? No…let’s be even more charitable. Let’s assume that on any given Sunday, 20% of your membership is out for acceptable reasons (travel, illness, etc.), and let’s also assume that in a church of that size, 2% of the membership consists of “shut-ins”. OK, I’ll amend my numbers: wouldn’t it embarrass the socks off you that 1/2 of your membership rarely if ever darkens the door of your church?
Seems to me that very high on the list of priorities for a church such as that is purging the rolls of the deadwood. It’s a matter of discipline, a matter of accountability, a matter of integrity, and a matter of the glory of God.