Connections is a core function of church growth that often falls in the shadow of outreach. Most church leaders are satisfied as long as new visitors outpace the number of people slipping out the back door. The inherent flaw in that thinking is that it assumes a steady growth of new visitors. That model also ignores the pent up potential of people who want to go deeper but can't find the path that best aligns with their unique gifts and passions. A well-designed aconnections process can make a huge impact on helping people engage and stick long-term. But it goes beyond that.
Here are seven specific ways I've seen churches benefit from greater intentionality around connections:
- They end up mapping out how a new visitor is integrated into their community. It’s often been so long since many church leaders felt that “first time visitor” or “new member” anxiety that they lose sight of what those folks really experience.
- They develop a process which can be replicated and reproduced. Processes are critical to the success of your ministry. It's always a good exercise to assess, design and tweak them on a regular basis.
- They are able to measure what’s working and what isn’t. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
- They place a higher percentage of attenders into small groups. Active small group participants are more likely to be faithful givers and volunteers. They also have a greater propensity to hold lay leadership positions.
- They have greater success connecting people with volunteer opportunities that match their passion, interests, skills, and abilities. It’s too easy to just fill slots rather than helping people find their unique ministry fit. One leads to burn out. One leads to breakthrough.
- Their churches are producing active leaders instead of frozen chosen.. A good connections process moves people into deeper church involvement rather than making it comfortable for them to just sit and consume.
- They discover ministry opportunities they didn’t know existed. Church leaders aren't the only ones with great ideas. It makes sense to uncover the gifts God has given us in each member. Chances are God has given them a purpose that He wants to fulfill through your church. That purpose may be something you hadn’t considered otherwise.
Is connections something that you consider instrumental to your church growth strategy? If yes, have you experienced impact I didn't mention?