Every church seeks to inspire its visitors to move from first-time guests to fully engaged members. This, however, can prove difficult for church leaders when silos and disconnected data can keep them from being able to track every church member’s involvement.
But an integrated church software system can serve to help people find their groove in your ministry – and become fully engaged members over time.
Because when leveraged effectively, technology can bridge the gap between guests attending church any given Sunday and becoming actively engaged members through discipleship and ministry.
So here are eight ways you can set the course to evolve every church member’s attendance into active engagement in ministry:
1. Measure people, not tasks.
It’s easy to focus simply on finding someone – anyone – to assign an item on a to-do list. But a cohesive management software system will give you a better idea of a person’s overall engagement with your church. Comprehensive church software values people over tasks and can track all the different areas of someone’s engagement in one central place that then helps you keep your focus on what really matters most – your people
2. Encourage service.
People who serve are people who are engaged. And often, the most engaged people are not those who are in groups but rather those who serve. People who serve have bought into and feel ownership of your church’s mission. While our goal may be to get everyone into a group, only encouraging group participation may ultimately promote a more self-centered agenda – whereas serving is almost never individualistic. Engagement requires a healthy balance of the two.
3. Establish a clear path for involvement.
It’s all too common for someone to want to be involved but not know how. Church websites can be confusing at best and convoluted at worst when it comes to providing clear, actionable next steps. So can church leaders. And when faced with too many choices – or too few – people will often choose nothing. The more you make your path a simple ‘do-this-to-help-us-accomplish-that,’ the more people will be inspired to get involved.
4. Eliminate information vacuums.
Data silos prevent you from connecting people to ministry, and when your church management software separates all those things into disconnected tasks and initiatives, you lose the 30,000-foot view of every individual. But a comprehensive church software system can connect data and members, allowing you to then leverage the information you’ve gathered for your new guest follow-up process, your connection process, your membership process, your discipleship program – and more.
5. Focus on your mission.
With so many moving parts, it’s easy for your mission to get lost in the everyday shuffle. Moving from a program-based model to a simplified model helps people more easily find where and how they can get involved and engaged. Because again, when faced with too many choices – or too few – people will simply choose nothing. Program-based models, while encouraging involvement, also inadvertently encourage people to become passionate about their ministries – but not the ministry. The focus should always be on the church’s mission and church’s ministry, and trimming the fat and simplifying your model helps retain that focus.
6. Preach action, not knowledge.
Pastors and church leaders have the incredible opportunity to speak to a captive, rapt audience every week, and can choose to use that opportunity to either give people information or call people to action. But the latter is far more effective. A pastor’s words can convince – or serve to remind – members that the goal of their faith is not to know something but rather to do something with what they know.
7. Share ownership of your ministry.
When people feel ownership of a particular initiative or mission, they are more inclined to take every opportunity to get involved – and recruit others – to see that mission through. Your church management software can help you empower and inspire the people in your church to take action. When your church’s focus is on its people and your church software is leveraged to manage tasks and is designed around the same principles as your church, it intrinsically becomes a part of – and enhances – your ministry processes.
8. Celebrate progress.
However you define increased engagement, celebrate it whenever you see it. When you ask for volunteers and you get them, celebrate it – and them – the following weekend. Share their stories. Thank people. Acknowledging when people give sacrificially, bring a friend, or when new people join a group helps your congregants, staff and volunteers know when they're succeeding. And whenever possible, take the time to thank someone when you see them jump in. Whether you thank them the next time you chat, in an email, or a handwritten note, a personal acknowledgment that you see them and the efforts they make to fulfill the mission of your church goes a long way.
Leveraging technology to catalog and manage all of your church’s information in a management system will help you bridge the chasm of disconnect that may exist between your attendance and active ministry engagement.
When we as church leaders answer the call to equip the saints, we should utilize every discipleship tool at our disposal to make sure we shepherd those that God has entrusted to us and brought through our doors.