Back Doors, Spinning Wheels, and Undisciplined Members
Laymen (remember I was raised in the era of the genderneutral use of "-man" and "-men" so take that into consideration please....), you need to see if your pastor has read this book. If not, buy it and give him a copy.
Make him promise to read it. Then read it yourself.
If he takes the info to heart, he's going to need all the support he can get.
The book is a magnificent display of things which make "high assimilation churches" the way they are. In many SBC churches, they may take in 50 new members in a year, yet their attendance might increase by 15 or 20. Or none. That doesn't happen in what Thom Rainer refers to as "High Assimilation Churches". Their increase is as much, or more, than their new member count.
The book explains why that is.
I know our church baptized about 50 people last year, and I believe that was rather typical. Yet our attendance did not increase. At all. In fact, we're down perhaps 20% in attendance over the past 14 years.
Not to tell too much of the tale ahead of time, but Sunday School and New Member Classes are essential, crucial, critical parts of making your church more than a revolving door for church members, or a gatheringplace for non-attenders who want nothing more than their name on a roll somewhere.
Wow. How much misleading can THAT do in a year or two?
Curiously, high-assimilation churches did not see "Discpleship Training" as an important part of the assimilation process.
Simple dumb "why-didn't-I-think-of-that" thought: Maybe the reason we see so little church discipline, today, is that so few churches tell members what is expected of them, when they join. I mean how can you discipline someone for not doing what you didn't tell them they should do?
We've got a massive oversupply of "pie in the sky by and by" sort of phrases and words in the SBC. What we need is more of what us old Hoosiers referred to as "puttin' the corn down where the hogs kin git at it...".
Dr. Rainer's book does just that, and will reward those who read it, if they're concerned about open back doors, spinning wheels, and undisciplined members.
And are ready and willing to do something about it.
Oh. Yes. Dr. Rainer wrote this book in 1999!