“Why I’m Leaving…”


In north Tampa, the two largest churches are less than 3 miles from each other.  I spent 20 years of my life as an active member of church “A”, and the last 5 years as a member and now staff member of “B”.  Both are making a difference for the Kingdom – with strikingly different approaches.  One not better than the other, just different.

My role as Director of Assimilation at church “B” is to help everyone, particularly new members, become connected and fully engaged within our church family.  Each weekend we have about 100 guests checking us out.  Hardly a weekend passes that I don’t see a familiar face from my days at church “A” (and I’m sure there are just as many checking out the church down the road as well).

Please hear my heart – I am much more interested in pouring all of my energy into the unchurched guest than I am the church hopper.  We all go through seasons where God moves us – I get that – He did that to my family.  But others make it a habit of changing churches for all of the wrong reasons.

But a few months ago my friend from the church down the road started attending our church.  It was such fun seeing her smiling face each weekend.  But God called her back to church “A”.  I am convinced that we can learn more from why someone leaves our church than why they started attending.  She was kind enough to share with me a few reasons why – all personal – nothing negative.  But completely insightful.

Exit interviews are critical to the health of all organizations.

Made me wonder what draws and keeps those that God leads to our churches?

Check out what Thom Rainer’s writes in his book Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, about why people choose a church to what keeps them active.

Top 13 Reasons that Unchurched People Choose a Church
(research conducted by Ranier)

90% – Pastor/Preaching
88% – Doctrines
49% – Friendliness of Members
42% – Other Issues
41% – Someone Church Witnessed to Me
38% – Family Member
37% – Sensed God’s Presence/Atmosphere of Church
25% – Relationship Other than Family Member
25% – Sunday School Class
25% – Children’s/Youth Ministry
12% – Other Groups/Ministries
11% – Worship Style/Music
7% – Location

Top 9 Reasons that Church-Attenders Choose a Church
(research conducted by the Barna Group in 1999)

58% – Doctrine/Theology
53% – People Caring for Each Other
52% – Preaching
45% – Friendliness
45% – Children’s Programs
43% – Helping the Poor
36% – Denomination
35% – Like the Pastor
26% – Sunday School

Top 6 Things that Keep the Formerly Unchurched Active in the Church
(research conducted by Ranier)

62% – Ministry Involvement
55% – Sunday School
54% – Obedience to God
49% – Fellowship of Members
38% – Pastor/Preaching
14% – Worship Services

The Top 3?

  1. Doctrine
  2. Friendliness
  3. Pastor



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