I am struggling with something that I know many many churches struggle with - but the Lord has laid it on my heart to take action. But there are few things as "touchy" as the infamous "church roll". My observations: The church I pastor has a roll that has nearly 300 names. Our average Sunday School attendance is around 45, with Morning Worship attendance at an average of 60. Anyone detect a problem?:tear: I have been here almost 3 years. Just a little over a year before I was called here, the previous pastor and a committee put together a bailout that went to every name on the church roll (that they had an address for). The letter basically said that the church was updating the roll and wanted everyone to respond (even those that were active at the time) via a postage paid postcard that gave a few of choices: 1. I have joined another church, please take me off the roll. 2. Please keep me on the roll 3. Please remove my name from the roll. From what I can find in the folder all the replies were placed in, about half the names got a reply back. Of those, most of our current active membership (other than the new additions since) replied the obvious way. But there were quite a few that requested that their name remain on the roll - even though they have still not stepped foot in the church, contributed in any way to the ministry, or even had contact beyond that post card. My view - This all falls under "church discipline" - these long absent "church members" have removed themselves from fellowship. Some have moved away, others still live in a reasonable distance from the church building - and just don't "go to church" any more. Am I so wrong believing that voluntarily removing oneself from fellowship (even if they have not formally asked for such) is ground to remove them from the church roll? I have made an effort to call/write/and even track them down to visit - and have had nearly no success. The few I was able to actually talk too - they gave this story and that (none had physical limitations preventing church attendance/fellowship). Some couldn't "really explain". Some said they knew they needed to start back coming. Membership at our church is based on being a born-again believer in Jesus Christ/Saved/etc. with a public profession of this, scriptural baptism, and agreement to our church covenant (a pretty traditional and well-known covenant) - that ends in the following paragraph: We moreover engage that when we remove from this place, we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principals of God's Word. I have little doubt that there are names on our roll of people who are unredeemed. Not that I know them personally, or have made a judgement based on appearances. But the choice to not "got to church" and/or participate/fellowship falls squarely under the admonition of Hebrews 10, which describes one of the reasons we are to "assemble/meet together" - to encourage/provoke one another to good works and our Christian service and walk. We are to NOT forsake the assembling together. Further - as I included this past Sunday in the morning message from 1 John - the redeemed have fellowship with God, and with with one another (v. 6 & 7). Every so often, you hear someone say they don't go to church any more because they get board or just don't like the preaching (sometimes it is for superficial reasons like the preacher's voice/he sweats/he's loud), or as I have heard a time or two - they got tired of the preacher talking about sin... (!!!) Yet what does 1 John 4:6 imply? The redeemed love the preaching, teaching and reading of God's Word. I can totally understand if someone quits going to a particular church because a preacher is preaching false doctrines or butchering the scripture - but then they should seek to join another church as soon as possible. I have prayed, I have read, and I have fasted (which I don't do very often) over this - and have been comforted in knowing that this IS an issue that the Lord wants me to address. But I sure would like some input from others on how this may have been handled in situations you are familiar with (even if it was a disaster - because I can learn from other's mistakes!).