• Survey Articles

Survey Articles

Jim Currin is Secretary for Evangelisation at CTE.

Olaf Fogwill and his colleagues are to be commended for approaching a difficult subject with some enthusiasm – namely how to learn from people who have been disconnected from church and then reconnected again.

When I was first asked to comment on the Connect4Life series of booklets for The Good Bookstall website, the booklet which stood out as quite significant was the one that can be offered to people who have left church but invited to ‘Give it 7 Days’. I thought this was quite a unique contribution to the body of Christian evangelistic literature, and worthy of a lot of churches having it handy to give to those who would be prepared to ‘give it another go.’

Survey comments by Michael Harvey

Back to Church Sunday has prompted hundreds of thousands of invitations over the past decade, resulting in thousands of people being re-connected with their local church. My findings after conducting over 500 focus groups containing church leaders and lay people concur with a finding from Journey’s research that fear is the major obstacle facing the church in winning back those who are disconnected. The Journey research finding also suggests that there are people open to a connection but who need an invitation. Many who reconnected list that they felt a pull from God, guilt and being laid low by illness as reasons prompting a return but they say the first step over the threshold is the hardest of all. I believe we have fear on either side of a church threshold, we are afraid to go and invite and there are people outside of a church setting who are being prompted by God, and they are afraid to come on their own.

Chris Justice is Senior Pastor at Beaconsfield Baptist Church

I have been a pastor for over 30 years – in different churches - and have met people in all three categories that this survey investigated; ie. unconnected, disconnected and reconnected.  I would like to confine my comments to those who have disconnected and those who have reconnected.  With regard to disconnection, I am not surprised at the causes stated for this.  In my experience people have often disconnected themselves from the church because life pressures and commitments have conflicted with (a) Christian principles and/or (b) commitment to church activities.  The actual details of these ‘disconnections’ are so wide and varied it’s hard to reach a conclusion as to what could prevent them and, when they have occurred, rectify matters.

Andy Peck is a tutor at CWR and co-author of Closing the Back Door of the Church.

The issue of disconnecting and reconnecting is one that continues to challenge the church scene in the UK and it is good that attempts have been made to find some hard data for the UK. The charity I serve, CWR, made a small attempt to address the issue by running a series of workshops entitled, Closing the Back Door of the Church in 2006-2008. The presenter Ron Kallmier was staggered to see some 200 attend the workshops, which were in the end limited to 40 a time to facilitate interaction. We co-authored a book of the same name published book by CWR in 2009. My reflections come from research and writing on the topic, and chats with friends who would be in the ‘disconnected’ category.