Spiraling Spiritual Danger – Inactive Members

by Jim on June 2, 2014


Ministry Encouragement Podcast – Episode #093  – Host: Rev. Jim Hollis

Sponsored by: Proactive Ministries (proactive-ministries.org)

Hello and welcome to the Ministry Encouragement Podcast.  This podcast is for all Christ followers and those who are serving in ministry to others.  You may be a Pastor, a church Leader or someone who simply loves Christ and wants to serve others with joy.  It’s my prayer that you will receive encouragement for your ministry involvement as there is far too much discouragement across the churches today.

The topic of this episode is addressing a deadly place where many Christ followers can easily find themselves.  It can lead to isolation from Christian community and a major disconnect in spiritual growth.  We will be talking about:

Spiraling Spiritual Danger – Inactive Members

 Thousands of mainline churches across America today have 50% to 70% of their members who live in the surrounding community become inactive members.  How do we define an “inactive member” for the sake of our discussion?

Popular definitions of inactive members generally resemble one or more variations of the following widely accepted, mainline church definition:

A person who has joined a congregation as a member in full, through a public profession of Christ as Savior and taking of vows.  Also a resident of the community who lives within reasonable driving distance of the church, and has not attended a principle weekly worship service or contributed financially to the church in the past twelve months.

This could be considered as the popular American mainline church definition.  To take such a view of one of the members of a church allows us to simply treat these folk as “out of sight, out of mind” and basically forget them.

In our ministry we have a different definition of an inactive member:

A member of the congregation in full standing, who has made a public profession of Christ as Savior & Lord, and taking of vows to be loyal in discipleship in and beyond the church.  They have participated in less than 70% of a principle weekly worship service and are not engaged in another ministry beyond weekly worship. 

For you math types, someone can be involved in the weekly worship of the church 70% of the Sundays of the year and still miss 13 Sundays.  That’s quite a few Sundays in total.  We also advocate that if a person misses more than 13 Sundays a year, they should not be involved as a key Leader in the church.

Here are some important questions to reflect on concerning the thousands of resident, inactive members in churches across America today:

1) As a Pastor of the church, should our having a high percentage of our resident members who have not attended in months interfere with our sleep at night?

2) As local church Leaders (Deacons, Elders, Council Members, etc…) are we to reach out to these persons or just forget about them as though it’s not our concern?

3) If we were to make a decision to initiate reaching out to them, what would our motivation be?

4) Does the phrase, “There but by the Grace of God, go I” apply to our present relationship with our inactive members?

I’d like to share an a real life, theological analogy with you concerning our inactive members of a couple with two teenagers – one compliant and the other rough, rowdy and rebellious.


The bottom line is this: Do you feel enough love or pain in your heart as a Pastor or a church Leader today to take action concerning this incredible spiral of spiritual danger.  What can you do to reverse this?  What can you do to effectively initiate your church taking caring, compassionate and courageous action to begin to stop and reverse the spiral? 

Will you be the one to take action?  I invite you to call or contact me personally today concerning this incredible opportunity to reach some of the people in our own spiritual family who have drifted away, left because they were hurt or simply never became connected relationally in the church.  We have provided practical, Biblically based and effective outreach training for reaching inactives for more than 20 years in 40 states across America.  My information is:

Email: jim@ministryencouragementpodcast.com

Ministry Office: (Smyrna, GA, USA) – (770) 803-9988

OR leave me a personal voicemail, just on the right of this blog page, using your computer microphone and mouse.  It will come directly to me. 

Facebook: Jim W. Hollis

I hope to hear from you soon.  Lives hang in the balance.  Together, we can make a lasting difference with Christ in the lives of our Inactive, resident members and families.  It’s not too late – unless we ignore the ministry opportunity.






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