5 Alarming Reasons people are leaving the church (Membership Retention)

Adventist Youth (AY)
How can we as a church retain our members. Find out what the statistics really say about why persons are leaving the church.
Program Aim
To educate the church on the effects of our actions on members and that we have a huge part through discipleship to play in bringing missing members back into the fold.
Scripture References
Luke 15:1-7, Eph 4:29
Theme Song(s)
369 Bringing in the Sheaves
Program Audience
Preparations and resources

Please click the PowerPoint for slides to enhance this AY program.

Request that the vespers be done in the form of a presentation by the Pastor, First Elder or Personal Ministries Leader



1. The church is to be divided into groups to discuss the given scenarios.




 SCRIPTURE READING:Luke 15:1-7, eph 4:29






Happy Sabbath everyone,

How many of us enjoy crusades? How many of us enjoy when new members join the church? How many of us have noticed that shortly after crusades, newly baptised members leave the church? 

How many of us grew up in the church with persons who no longer attend church. What can we do about the epidemic of members leaving the church? How can we practice membership retention strategies?


The church body has done extensive research on patterns that contributed to members leaving the church. Today’s program is an exercise in educating the church population as to the reasons members of the church leave additionally for us to understand that we are soldiers in the army whose purpose is to retain our members through our observation and most importantly our actions.



Preliminaries: AY Motto, Pledge and Song

Can be found here: 





Icebreaker/ Activity: 

Go around the room and take a picture with someone you don’t usually talk to. Exchange numbers with that person and throughout the upcoming weeks push yourselves to stay in contact and share uplifting messages with each other. The intention is for us to understand we are our brother’s keeper.



AY Leader:

Can you imagine some of the reasons that will cause someone to leave the church? (Ask for suggestions) 

                    As mentioned previously the church conducted a study and listed some of the problems and important reasons persons cited no longer attending church. Please pay attention to the reasons as it will assist you in the upcoming exercise. The reasons are as follows:




Are we guilty as individuals or as a church body of passing judgment on someone who was found at fault? Do we extend the hand of fellowship and forgiveness to members?

At this time I would like the church to be divided into groups. (*Choose an appropriate number of groups based on the size of your church*). Appoint a member of each group to present their findings. 

Each group will be given a scenario to present findings on. We have 8 minutes to discuss and 5 minutes to present.


Scenario 1.

There is a distant young adult who has attended your local church since she was a baby. She grew up in a family with poverty and social issues. She was an involved teenager at church, but within recent years you noticed her staying outside during services, missing church regularly and just being none participatory at programs. Her demeanor and dress code began to negatively change. The church pastor decided to speak to the young lady about the dress code and an argument ensued between them. Many members found the young lady was disrespectful to the pastor and refrained from further conversations with the young lady.

What are some of the problems that can be identified here (based on the list previously read) and what solutions or interventions can be made to retain this member in the body of Christ?

Scenario 2.

There is a prominent church family at your local church. The parents were elders and the children also occupied various positions at church and attended church regularly. Last year, the parents got divorced and the impact on the family was apparent. The father was immoral in his marriage and was asked to step down from serving in the church. The children became rebellious and members began hearing negative rumors about all them and their lifestyles. The eldest two children have stopped attending church regularly and have taken up romantic relationships outside of the church. Members constantly talk about the family and their negative impact on the church.

What are some of the problems that can be identified here (based on the list previously read) and what solutions or interventions can be made to retain these members in the body of Christ?

AY Leader:

Here are some factual statistics, collected by the General Conference. The question was asked to members who left the church: What did you think of the church when you left?


   Let us briefly analyse the pie chart. The highest scoring area was: 24% of persons felt highly of the church but felt they couldn’t live up to its standards. This shows their understanding of God and how He loves and accepts us is incorrect and we as members must work with persons and show them love so they won’t feel this pressure. Secondly, 19% of persons were angry over the way they were treated. I hope we are all aware of this effect and work on changing our dealing with persons when they have shortcomings.


 This second slide was particularly interesting because 79% of members still believed the Word of God as taught by the SDA church. However, their conviction to return to the fold is not there. Brothers and sisters, we have work to do.




Lastly, when responders were asked to rate their openness to reconnecting only 12% said it was very unlikely. 19% said it depends on the approach. This means over 69% of persons are open to the possibility of reconnecting. This opportunity is paramount. I pray the Lord moves all of us to go into the highways and byways and bring these lost sheep back into the fold of safety. 


*For vespers, ask a pastor or the first elder to do a 5 minute presentation on the recommendations as given by the General Conference on discipleship and its impact on Membership retention.

Ask the presenter to end with a charge and a prayer of recommitting to the Work of evangelism for the members.


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