When this article appeared in LEADERSHIP nearly a decade ago, readers appreciated its insights into a difficult task: working with people who are leaving the church or becoming inactive.

Several years ago while looking through slides I had used in an every-member canvass in my church, I was shocked.

Pictured in the first three slides were three couples who had held key offices during my first year. Now, four years later, those couples were totally inactive. They no longer attended worship, except maybe on Christmas or Easter, made no financial contribution, and had a negative attitude about the congregation.

How could people move from active involvement to total inactivity in just four years? I wondered.

I thought of times I had visited inactive members and seen absolutely nothing happen. In fact, often they were more convinced to stay away after I made the call. I needed to figure out how to keep current members active and enable inactive ones to return.

I went to work ...

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