You’re probably pretty well-versed in the ways you can attract new visitors to your church’s worship experiences and events. Advertising, public relations, social media posts, printed invitations, and other modes of communication all work to varying degrees to get people to check out your church. But then the tricky part kicks in — what happens next? Once a visitor comes to an event at your church, will they come back? Did you even know they were there?
If we want our efforts at bringing new people into our churches to yield eternal results, we’ve got make sure we’re connecting with these people. Our activities have to get personal, and we have to connect with visitors in ways that make them feel seen and known and cared for. Then we’ve got to lay out a clear path for these visitors to get more involved in our church communities.
That sounds like a pretty overwhelming task, right? But it’s really not. It’s building relationships with people, which your church has already been doing for years — you’ve just got to be a bit more intentional about making sure it keeps happening as your church grows. To help you get the thought process started, here are six ways to help you effectively connect with more people and get them involved in your ministry:
- As a leader, make human contact with as many people as possible. Create opportunities and events for people to see your ‘human’ side, not just the side that stands on the platform on weekends. This may mean you organize more frequent, smaller events where people can get to know you as you, not just as ‘pastor’.
- Make sure everyone in your church feels like they’re a ministry partner — because they are. You need them to help you do the real work of ministry, not just to fill a seat on a Sunday morning. Use language that reflects that partnership as much as you can.
- Help people find the right place to serve, not just the places where you need volunteers most urgently. Get to know their interests, their gifts, and their passions so you can connect them with the ministries where they’ll make the most impact and feel the most fulfilled.
- Keep the communication going. Make sure you’re letting your new and established members and volunteers know the difference they’re making, and that they have chances to share their experiences with you and your staff. Share your successes and failures, and give them avenues to do the same.
- Empower your people to make their own decisions. Turn them from ‘volunteers’ into stakeholders. Show them they really are ministry partners, and expect them to carry their share of the ministry load.
- At the same time, recognize their need for balance. Ministry work is amazing and important work — but it’s not your people’s only work. Help people feel okay about saying ‘no’ to things that will throw their lives out of balance, even if it’s church activities.
When we connect with people personally and help them become invested in our church community, a funny thing happens … they stick around. They even bring others into the community too. And that’s how ministries grow and make lasting change.
How are you helping connect newcomers with your church community? What can you do today to help strengthen those connections?