In their thought-provoking analysis, Francis and Richter provide a detailed account of the different reasons behind church leaving. They also identify how some church leavers can be converted more easily than others into becoming church returners. The authors look at why many people are disillusioned with the church, while for others questions are around matters of teaching, style of worship or incompatibility of lifestyle. For others, the costs of being involved in the church are too high, for others there are issues about change or lack of it. Leslie Francis and Philip Richter have evaluated over 700 telephone interviews and more than 900 questionnaires completed by people who have left churches of different Christian denominations. They provide powerful and authoritative insights into what church leavers really think about the church and into who is likely to return and who is likely to stay away.
Leslie J Francis is an Anglican priest and Professor of Practical Theology at the University of Wales, Bangor. Philip Richter is a Methodist minister and Director of Education at the Southern Theological Education Scheme (STETS).