Ok, here's the deal. We have four types of people from whom to draw in our evangelism efforts.
First, we have the children of members as they approach the age of confirmation or church membership. (Some of them are adults who never joined as children. When such an adult "child" joined one church I served, one of my women said, "Well, she doesn't count." She did in our statistical report, and she does to God. It's just as important to bring these children into the church as anybody else.
Second, you have the prospective members--people who have been attending, but who haven't yet made a commitment to the church. I'm sure I'll get the pot stirring a bit when I say that I do believe church membership to be very important, unlike a lot of evangelical friends. I don't just want to know the average attendance of a church. I want to know its membership. of course, in Christian nurturing efforts, these members who aren't participating can be encouraged and reconnected.
Third, you have those who may be on the inactive roll. Most systems of church polity have some kind of inactive roll--people who haven't participated in quite a while. Some may live out of town, and as such, should be encouraged to affiliate with a church where they're living. The address of others may have been long since lost. But others are still right there in town. It will be hard to get a lot of them back. They got mad at somebody, perhaps, years ago, and they'll stay mad. But this field should be worked, to at least a limited degree.
And then, finally, we have the unchurched. They are not even in the door. We have to get them in the door. Somehow, our church has to be known to them. If they are neighbors or associates or friends, we can build relationships, and those are obviously the easiest ones to cultivate.
But these are the only groups of people we have. It's not rocket science to break down our task like this so we can understand it. The problem is: What are we going to do about it? How do we work these various fields--all races, ages, and types of people?