When talking about retaining people church leaders often use the terms front door and back door to refer to bringing people in (the front door) but not wanting them to go out the back door (leave the church). I think this terminology needs to be examined because I think underneath it is the old facility mindset that has long plagued the church. The assumption is that if you can keep people between the front door and the back door that they will become Christians and get involved. What is between those doors? Typically the Sunday morning worship service. So this view basically leans on 1-2 hours a week to be what someone needs to be spirituall renewed and transformed. It also assumes that evangelism is to get people to the building where the preacher and others do your work for you.
How many spiritually healthy Christians do you know who have gotten where they are solely based on church attendance? Of course you know I am not downplaying how important church attendance is. I am just saying that we need to understand what church attendance is beneficial for and what it is not as beneficial for. People who are growing understand that growing their faith is about the whole week and not just 2 hours a week.
How can we expect people to grow into a praying, Bible studying, Christian who understands the value of community and engages in spiritual disciplines if the way we won them to Christ was solely by bringing them to the building for an hour or two with no follow up? The way we convert people typically has an impact on the type of disciple people become. The methods they learned to come to Christ are often the way they measure their walk from that point on. So if we depend on the worship hour to be our sole evangelistic focus, you can place your bets that the disciples you win will be people who think the goal of their Christianity is to be at the building but not necessarily get the connection to the other 6 days of the week.
What do we find in the book of Acts? When Peter meets someone who is lost and needs Christ…how does he respond? Do we have any verses of him saying, “You really need to Tabitha’s house on Sunday. We have some really uplifting worship and you will learn everything you need there.” Nope. He tells them about Jesus. We have to start seeing that growing healthy disciples requires much more than 2 hours on Sunday. People have to have connection and that connection has to come from more locations than between the front and back doors.