No church is right for everyone. It can be helpful to acknowledge that fact to potential members. It is a way to treat such conversations from the perspective of their need to find the right church rather than from the church’s need for members. In essence, you are saying that our goal is for you to find the church where you can worship and serve best and, when you do, we will celebrate that decision with you. In my experience, people will take your church more seriously, not less so, with such an approach. No matter how vital your church is and how sensitive your approach to new people, not everyone will choose to attend your church.
Having said that, there is a much more important question than how many people choose to attend your church. Who takes your church seriously?
Our goal is for you to find the church where you can worship and serve best and, when you do, we will celebrate that decision with you. In my experience, people will take your church more seriously, not less so, with such an approach.
Let me illustrate from a different context. No matter what the enrollment or quality of a seminary, not every seminary student will choose to attend that seminary. However, you would expect that out of the population of persons attending seminaries and those who could attend your seminary, your school would have some proportion of the various groups found among seminarians. For example, think about a seminary discovering that they did not tend to attract many women (or men) students, or people of color (or white) students, or second-career (or young) students. Such a school could decide that the problem was with the group or groups underrepresented in their student body. But a more appropriate response would be to ask, “What is it about us that causes some groups to take us less seriously (as reflected by attendance) than other groups that we reach more effectively?”
As you think of various types of people that God has given you in the area of your congregation, are there some who, when they consider attending a church, simply do not take your church seriously? If so, who are they and why might that be the case?
You may discover that there is some understandable reason, but be careful not to jump too quickly to rationalize current unstated assumptions about people and churches. Some groups take your church so seriously that they may be overrepresented in your congregation compared to the community. Celebrate that and learn from it. But do not stop there.
You will never be the right church for everyone, but it would be tragic if you too quickly dismissed the reality that some people in your midst do not take you seriously as a church option.