Ways to Improve Attendance of Current Members

  • At least once or twice each year, perhaps in the New Year’s resolution season, teach and preach the importance of faithful worship attendance.
  • Invite church members to make a written commitment to grow one step toward faithful attendance.
  • Include a commitment to faithful worship attendance as part of a holistic annual stewardship commitment.
  • Keep a record of attendance and monitor it.
  • Know that it is important to respond to absentees before they drop out of active attendance. Once a regular attender misses six consecutive weeks, it is hard to return to the habit of consistent Sunday worship.
  • Form a worship membership care team to review attendance within 24 hours of each service.
  • Send a handwritten note (signed by the membership care team, not the pastor) to anyone who has missed three Sundays in a row. Say, “Looking through the attendance slips, we’ve missed your name!
  • Hope to see you next Sunday.” In a smaller church, the wording can be more personal.
  • Ask a personal friend (a choir mate, Sunday School class member, or someone who sits in the same pew) to telephone people who have missed four Sundays in a row. “Hi, John. We’ve noticed that Fred has missed church the last four Sundays. Can you telephone him this evening?”
  • Maintain a loving, invitational relationship with those who have been absent for five or more Sundays. Never be judgmental.
  • Telephone every household in the church and everyone who has ever visited to invite them to some special event four times a year. Say, “Hi. We are calling everyone related to First Church this week, reminding everyone that this Sunday the choir is singing the Messiah. I hope you will be there.”

These ideas are excerpted from the Lewis Center’s 50 Ways to Increase Worship Attendance prepared by Dr. Crossman and now available as a free online download.


About Author

Bob Crossman is a New Church Strategist with Path One, General Board of Discipleship, United Methodist Church. He is the author of New Church Handbook: Nuts & Bolts for Planting New Churches in the Wesleyan Tradition.