Behind every inactive member lies a story to be heard and a hurt to be healed.

Several years ago I was looking through slides I had used in an every-member canvass in my church. When I held some to the window, I was shocked. Pictured in the first three slides were three couples who had held key offices in the church my first year there. Now, four years later, those couples were totally inactive.

These people no longer attended worship, except maybe on Christmas or Easter, made no financial contribution, didn't participate in the life of the church, and had a negative attitude about the congregation.

How could people move in just four years from active involvement in a congregation to total inactivity? 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 knew I needed to figure out how to keep current members active, and enable inactive ones to return.

Anxiety-Provoking Events

I went to work on these questions as I pursued a doctorate and have continued ...

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