Links, Movement Building
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Why People Leave Your Ministry

68% of customers leave a company because of the treatment they received.

This is a ridiculously awesome infographic from Get Satisfaction, a company that does user generated customer service.

get satisfaction

Not completely new information but reiterates how important it is to make people new to your ministry feel welcomed (the way they understand being welcomed, not you). The best way I have seen is by getting people connected to 2-3 other involved people.

There are some other great aspects of the full infographic. Click here to check them out.


  1. B,

    I did a research project about 6-7 years ago on why people leave staff, in particular ethnic staff. This post and that graphic focus on customers leaving, but when I did the research I saw a similar graph related to why staff left the organization. I’m not sure it’s that different except I didn’t feel the categories were very helpful from exit interviews.

    An extremely large percentage of those leaving indicated that they were “called” elsewhere. In a ministry we can hear that and feel good about it because God has a plan. But I don’t believe those stats for a minute because there was a catalyst for them being “called” elsewhere. Many got trucked by a clueless leader, or they were tired doing rote ministry without the freedom to create and innovate, or they never were empowered to live out who they were. Whatever the case is, there are many concrete realities that lead to people being “called” elsewhere and I don’t believe that we’re really working to find out why they are leaving – really.

    Your post makes me think it would be wise for national and regional leadership to view staff who end up leaving as “customers” which makes a lot of since in a non-profit enterprise in which everyone raises support. It’s a volunteer org. in reality and volunteers really to some degree are customers too.

    I wonder if ministries, including ours, would learn and change if they began to view their own workers as their customers, especially when they leave. But sadly I don’t see a hint of that because we are far too easily content to settle for the reason that people leave as “calling.”

    What do you think?

    btw – finally recovered from our time last week, but so thankful you came out. Our team had some great interaction after you left that is going to bear a lot of fruit. I’ll tell you more later.

    • fun to hear re post-mtg interaction; sometimes the fatigue is too heavy to do anything but rest.

      writing a post for tomorrow on the new rules for ministry. one of them is “If I start a ministry then people should come.”

      agreed that it’s too much of a shift to think of employees as customers for many leaders, partly related to this if/then type thinking.

      certainly “calling” cannot be underestimated but as you intimated there is a lot of volition involved in joining a non-profit.

      the if/then paradigm hurts our ability to learn from people who leave–even if they are making a wise decision and leaving on good terms there is still so much to learn from them–if we don’t assume they are “out”

      i like the customer language because it not only has a service element but also captures the free will part of interacting. customers can come back after they are hurt. “out” employees cannot.

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