This past weekend I went to a home improvement store. I needed help from two different departments on two issues I had in my home. As I walked into the spacious warehouse, lost at where to go, I started my quest to find the right person to help me buy the right product to end my nightmare problem at home. Now I could go into a lot of details, but the bottom line is I left that store two hours later, frustrated and no closer to finding my answer than when I walked in the door. I wasn’t connecting. Feeling aggravated, lost and frustrated, the Lord used that situation to help me make sure what I experienced in that store people wouldn’t feel as new church members at our church.
So what do people feel in your church? Do they leave your church no better than when they walked in the door? Do you have lots of new people and yet your church doesn’t grow? Do just as many people walk in the door as those that walk out the back door? Take a look at these seven tips and ask yourself where you rate in each area, 1 to 10.\
7 Tips for Connecting New Church Members
Tip 1. Community
When we think about connecting, what new church members are truly looking for is community. Community is a place where people can know and be known, love and be loved, celebrate and be celebrated. How does your church help people find community? This can be done in many ways. The most common ways churches do this is through small groups or Sunday school. Regardless of what your church does, you need rate yourself not only in how people find community, but what happens in the community. True community helps people stick to your church. Other ways to help people find their way to community may be through connections (click here for info on this), the web, sign ups in your printed material, pastor chats or a host of other ways. Rate your church on how well people can find community.
Tip 2. Own the vision and pass the passion
The only way for your church to know and feel the passion for connecting people is for you to model what you want. If the people God sends to your church really matter, then you will instill in your people the desire to do the basics for when new people come to your church. What should these basics be? It starts with being friendly. Before you go to your friends after church, go to someone you don’t know and say “hi” to them. If you are going out to dinner with some friends, invite someone you don’t know that was new to the church. If you see someone out in the parking lot, walk up and welcome them. Sit in a different place in church each week to force yourself to see and greet new people. Go up to people like you and get to know them—good chance you will have something in common. It is in the simplest day-to-day activities that you can model to people that new people to your church matter. Rate yourself on how well you have the vision and model passing it.
Tip 3. Never give up on them
Scripture only records a couple of times that Jesus weeps. One is in John 11 where Jesus finds out that his best friend has died. The other is in Matthew 9 when Jesus is looking out across the multitudes and sees them harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. When people in our church aren’t connected to a qualified shepherd, it causes Jesus to weep. It is because he cares for people, especially lost people, that it should drive us to make sure that at any cost we are getting people connected. What could be blocking you from making sure this is happening? Are you focused on each person that comes up on your radar to get them connected? Are you training someone in your church to see that these people get follow up? If you knew this person was going to donate $100,000 to your church, would your follow up be different? My guess is, in the case of the latter, that person would not fall through the cracks. Rate your church on how well and with what care new people get followed up with.