Webinar retaining members sept2011


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How can we stop the revolving door of members leaving after a few years? A look at why they leave and steps to keep them. Based on "Closing the Back Door," a webinar by Mark Bernstein of the Central East Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

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Webinar retaining members sept2011

  1. 1. MidAmerica Region: Prairie Star, Central Midwest & Heartland Districts Membership: Closing the Back DoorDori Davenport ThextonFaith Development & Growth Director<br />
  2. 2. Why are people leaving our congregations?<br />An estimated 35 million Americans have left organized religion in recent years. American Religious Identification Survey (2008)<br />28% o fAmerican adults left faith of their upbringing for another religion or none at all.<br />People moving into “unaffiliated” category outnumber those moving out of it by 3 to 1.<br />U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (2008)<br />
  3. 3. James<br />Russell <br />Hale<br />“The rites of passage by which people become members of religious communities are well known. The rites of passage by which people leave remain unexplored.”<br />
  4. 4. External reasons – no congregational control<br /><ul><li>Relocating
  5. 5. Death or serious illness
  6. 6. The economy
  7. 7. Change in work schedule
  8. 8. Transportation problems
  9. 9. Accessibility issues
  10. 10. Too many other obligations</li></li></ul><li>Spiritual/Emotional Needs<br /><ul><li>Not committed to Unitarian Universalism
  11. 11. Spiritual needs not being met by congregation
  12. 12. Lack of clear understanding of UU faith
  13. 13. Not inspired or moved by worship, minister or programs</li></li></ul><li>Other Reasons<br />Minister left<br />Kid(s) not coming anymore<br />Spouse/Partner doesn’t come<br />Don’t find educational offering interesting / relevant<br />Don’t feel loved, accepted or wanted<br />Don’t feel that I’m contributing<br />Contributing a lot but not appreciated<br />Conflict with another member or minister<br />Practical <br />Social<br />
  14. 14. Losing our youth and young adults<br />They need to experience the value of teachings and relationships in a congregation and see relevance for the next phase of life.<br />
  15. 15. Satisfaction Index: Reasons for Staying <br />Proud to belong <br />Feel valued <br />Confidence and trust in leadership<br />
  16. 16. <ul><li>It should stem from our principles, which hold that every life is precious and when one member leaves, it diminishes the entire community.
  17. 17. It should come out of the mission/vision of the congregation and stated as a specific goal – publicized widely.</li></ul>Be Intentional about Retaining Members<br />
  18. 18. 10 Ways to Retain Membership<br />Raise the bar for membership<br />Offer a variety of small group opportunities for members to explore UU ideas & ideals<br />Involve members in the life of the congregation according to their gifts and preferences<br />
  19. 19. More ways to retain members<br />Create a culture of acknowledgement and gratitude.<br />Expand pastoral care with trained lay leaders to meet personal & emotional needs of more congregants.<br />Engage Conflict, don’t ignore it!<br />
  20. 20. Bringing Inactives Back<br />Examine attitudes of how “actives” and “inactives” feel about each other and explore assumptions:<br /><ul><li>Every person who joined the congregation did so in good faith
  21. 21. There’s a good reason for being inactive
  22. 22. Inactive member will continue to be so until situation is handled effectively
  23. 23. The longer the wait, the harder it is to bring inactive member back to active status</li></li></ul><li>Maintain frequent contact with members through phone calls, surveys, email, and face-to-face conversations<br />Develop system for tracking, identifying and reaching out to members who have become inactive<br />Technical steps to take<br />
  24. 24. Last, but definitely not least…<br />Ensure meaningful and varied worship services that speak to the needs of the congregation, that celebrate wonderful music, and that involve aspects of church life<br />
  25. 25. A faith community is…<br />one of the few places where casual interchanges between young and old can take place, where familiarity breeds appreciation rather than contempt. Faith communities keep us aware of and in conversation about our core values as we move through life and struggle with what it means each day to live with courage, generosity and grace.Michael A. Schuler, Making the Good Life Last<br />