We really believe that effective parent ministry will not only impact families connected with your church but also many families outside your church. Your ministry can make an impact with unchurched families as you invest in parents, because parents are connected with the very people your church is striving to reach.
This week we wanted to highlight a leader who can help you think about reaching unchurched families. Last year at the Orange Conference we had the chance to learn from Carey Nieuwhof, and we wanted to share what we learned. We also wanted to be able to remind you that is you are looking for an incredible family ministry conference, you should check out The Orange Conference! Check out what we learned from Carey and also check out the podcast we did with him about leading your ministry through change!
This year at The Orange Conference I had the chance to hear Carey Nieuwhof talk about how we can help our churches connect with unchurched people. I know as a church leader I often forget to think about these ideas because I spend most of my time with people plugged into our church. Check out these 11 ideas and see what they stir in your heart…
1. Unchurched people don’t come back to church when they have kids.
a. 50% of parents said that having children did not affect their connection to a church. (Even many churched parents said that children did not change their level of churchgoing.)
b. 5% of unchurched parents said that having children helped them become active in a church for the first time.
2. Unchurched people feel less guilty than you think.
a. Unchurched people feel no more guilty about missing church on a Sunday than you feel about missing synagogue on a Saturday.
b. Guilt is a short-term motivator.
3. When they attend, they attend less often.
a. Small Groups can provide the motivation for people to come more regularly.
b. No one should be able to out-community the local church.
c. Disconnected families generally don’t stick.
d. They will become your best inviters if they like your ministry.
4. Most are spiritual.
a. Most unchurched people believe in some kind of God.
b. Respecting their past journey better enables them to start a new journey.
5. They’re intelligent, just not biblically literate.
Be inclusive without being condescending.
6. They want you to be Christian. Be authentically Christian.
Don’t alter the content of your services for unchurched people; alter the approach and experience.
7. They expect transparency.
They admire your strengths, but they resonate with your weakness.
8. They struggle with every social issue you were hoping to avoid.
a. You can’t hold non-Christian people accountable for Christian values.
b. Have conversations.
c. Allow ministry to precede theology.
9. Their kids matter to them… maybe even more than they should.
a. Safe is even more important than “right” to families.
b. What you spend on families communicates value to unchurched families.
c. The quality of your team determines the quality of their experience with you.
10. They are looking for partners.
a. They’ve just never thought the church could help.
b. Strategy is almost more important than content when it comes to partnering with parents.
11. They need help with the home side.
a. They are not sure what “Christian” means.
b. They do not have a precedent for what a Christian home looks like. So you need to make that clear.
12. They do not follow a predictable spiritual growth curve.
a. Design a flexible on-ramp.
b. Think steps, not programs.
c. Maturity takes time.
d. Relationships matter most.
Make sure and check out Carey’s blog here. It’s one of my favorite blogs to read!