Most church leaders think their connections efforts are working as long as new visitors are coming in at a rate that’s faster than people are slipping out the back door. But this line of thinking assumes that there’s a steady flow of new visitors coming in the door — which may not always be the case. And it misses the key idea that those new visitors and members who become a lasting part of your church family are looking for ways to get more deeply involved and may not know where to begin.
A well-designed connections process shows these newer members how they can engage with your church and make the most of their God-given gifts and abilities. Not only that, designing a solid connections process can be an energizing process for your entire church as they look at how they carry out their activities week in and week out.
Here are just seven specific ways we’ve seen churches benefit from designing solid connections programs.
- It helps everyone in church leadership understand how a new visitor or member is integrated into their community. It’s often been so long since many church leaders had that ‘new member’ anxiety that they can lose sight of what it really feels like to be joining a new faith community.
- They develop a process that can be easily replicated. Easily repeatable processes are key to efficiently running your ministries, and documenting something like a new member connections process gives other leaders in your church a chance to assess and update their existing processes as well.
- Having a documented process means you can more easily spot the times when the process works and when it doesn’t. You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and you can’t measure how effective your connections process is working if you don’t know how it’s supposed to work.
- Churches where the new members understand how to connect with your community are more likely to have higher percentages of small group participation, of faithful givers and of active volunteers. Their ministries overall are more active and engaged.
- New members in these churches are more likely to be serving in positions that match their passions, interests, skills, and abilities. Churches without a solid process are more likely to just fill slots rather than help people find their unique fit. This path frequently leads to burnout, while other leads to breakthroughs.
- New leaders rise up instead of staying in their seats. A solid connections process moves people into deeper involvement in your church, rather than letting them get comfortable as ministry ‘consumers’ rather than active participants.
- Ministry opportunities you never knew existed are coming up. Church leaders aren’t the only ones with great ministry ideas, and connecting new members effectively to your church lets them explore their unique gifts and how they could be used for the Kingdom. God’s given each individual a purpose to fulfill, and He could be leading them to do that through your church in ways you hadn’t imagined.
Welcoming new visitors into our churches is fantastic. Helping them find the unique ways God has equipped them to serve others through your church is even better.
How are you helping new visitors and members connect in ministry?