8 million leave church every year

8 Million Americans Leave Church Annually, ‘reDiscover Church’ Booklets Invite Them Back

Great Tool for National ‘Back To Church Sunday’

VISTA, Calif.—The church in the United States is in a general state of decline, with fewer than one in five Americans attending on a regular basis and almost 8 million—150,000 per week—leaving churches each year. To help invite them back, Outreach Inc. is offering “reDiscover Church,” a 37-page booklet that can help church members reach out to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. The “reDiscover Church” booklet, customizable for individual churches, discusses 10 reasons why people leave church, and why they come back. The booklet also helps equip members for national “Back to Church Sunday” (www.backtochurch.com) Sept. 12, a movement that seeks to reach people who once attended church and invites them to a special Sunday service.

“Tragically, people have left churches across America, but the good news is, many will return if somebody simply invites them,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, who also is a pastor, author and columnist for “Outreach” magazine. “This simple booklet is a powerful resource to bring them back.”

In 2008, the American Religious Identification Survey showed that 83 percent of American adults identify themselves as Christians. In contrast, another survey that same year by the Barna Group indicated only about 20 percent of Americans attends church on any given Sunday.

A study by LifeWay Research and the North American Mission Board of 15,000 adults found that 67 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be effective in getting them to visit a church. A personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would effectively reach 63 percent. A survey of pastors discovered that awareness of these statistics makes a big difference in motivating pastors to empower congregations to invite their family, friends and neighbors to church.

“A church’s greatest outreach tools are its members,” said Eric Abel, vice president of marketing for Outreach. “Equipping members with tools like the “reDiscover Church” booklets empower people to share their faith.”

In addition to church distribution, the booklet also can be inserted into door hanger bags and left at homes as part of a neighborhood invitation campaign or mailed to visitors, along with a personal letter from the church’s pastor. More information about “reDiscover Church,” including a preview, can be found at https://outr.ch/2z.

Abel said “reDiscover Church” is an excellent invitation tool to give to church members in the weeks leading up to national “Back to Church Sunday.”

During the first event last year, hundreds of churches across the country participated, with members inviting more than 700,000 non-churchgoers. Churches that took part saw a 19 percent average increase in their weekend attendance.

To date, more than 2,300 churches have committed to participate in the 2010 event. Outreach estimates almost 1 million invitations will be issued. A list of participating churches can be found at www.backtochurch.com/roster.

Outreach Inc. (www.outreach.com) is the largest provider of outreach products and services in North America, including “Outreach” magazine, a leading publication for church leaders nationwide. The company was launched in 1996 with the mission of empowering Christian churches to reach their communities for Jesus Christ. Outreach Inc. endeavors to create a network of churches and ministries working together to invite and connect every person in America to a Bible-believing church and ultimately to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


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