Hi there! I hope that you are all well.
One of the primary battles that synagogue’s face is attrition. They simply are losing members. I’ve been giving some thought as to why synagogue’s may be losing members and here are my (non empirical) conclusion. If you find that there are other common reasons let me know.
1) The way things are run – Often congregants are frustrated by the fiscal irresponsibility of a synagogue or the lack of efficiency from the front office. This can be a source of major frustration.
2) Different style – At times people leave (to another shul) because the style of the synagogue doesn’t fit with their conception of a synagogue.
3) It kept costing me more and more – Almost all synagogue’s need more money, but that constant need can be off putting. Members who are asked over and over for money can be totally turned off.
4) Turned off by an event or program – Members teetering on the brink can easily be pushed away with a tasteless synagogue event.
5) Private suffering – Parishioners can suddenly fall off the grid not necessarily because of anything you did wrong but rather because they are going through traumatic or embarrassing experiences that are keeping them away from attending shul.
In my next post I will discuss reasons #6-10.
See you around,
Rabbi of West Side Institutional Synagogue - www.wsisny.org
Director of WINGS – A OU Synagogue Consulting Group – http://www.ou.org/synagogue_services/wings