Assimilation is a strange word. The first time I heard it used in a popular setting was on of the recent Star Trek movies. It sounded unusual even hearing it then.
Honestly, it makes me uncomfortable. As if I’m asking someone to do something against their will. But until we have a better word for the process by which someone is fully integrated into the culture and community of our church, it is the one that I’ll use.
Assimilation is a complex mapping process where the church discovers more about the interests, passions, and personality of the member and the member discovers more about the leadership, community life, and vision of the church. If a church does this well, the relationship with the member can be exponential to advancing the mission of the church through the passions, interests, and skills of this person. If a church doesn’t do this well, it can create an incredibly fast burn rate for new members that creates the epic “revolving door” we often refer to in church life.
So what can we do to change it? The simple answer is that we have to do things differently. So much of the assimilation process is about checking boxes when it should be about building relationships.
That’s easy to say if you’re a church of 100. But what if you’re a church of 10,000?
That’s where technology can take you places you never thought you could go. A church who invests in the right technology and the time it take to train the users of that technology can see return on investment (ROI) in ways such as:
- Better matching between interests of the member and opportunities for ministry.
- Increased satisfaction in volunteer placement.
- Great assessment of the leadership potential of new members.
- Insight into new ministry opportunities based on the unique gifts the member brings with him or her.
- Much higher rate of generosity with respect to time, talent, and treasure.
The larger your church becomes, the more the staff you will need to rely on robust technology designed to accelerate the rate for people to grow, serve, and commit to being part of the long-term growth and development of your church.
When was the last time you evaluated your assimilation process to assess your return on investment? Is it where you think it should be?