I had an extended conversation with a pastor of a church this past week. The topic was not that different from those I've had with church leaders for nearly 25 years. The pastor's words were similar to those I've heard repeated hundreds of times: "We have a pretty good front door with a healthy number of guests. And we've had a steady increase in our number of new members. Our problem is really not the front door; it's the back door. If we could just keep a fourth of all those who become involved in our church for a few months or more, we would be triple our size."
He then asked the questions I was anticipating: "So how do we close the back door? What do we do to keep people from leaving our church or just becoming inactive?"