This month, we’re taking time to identify and address three of the biggest challenges every church faces: assimilation, engagement and retention. We’ll carefully unpack each focal issue, taking an in-depth look at each to identify its root challenges, solve for its existing issues and then strategize a preventative, proactive approach for each moving forward.
Because while all churches face the same challenges with assimilation, engagement and retention, successful churches not only know who is showing up every week, they also know that to do amazing ministry, they must truly care about who those people are, why they showed up, whether they will come back, and how to deeply connect with them.
So before we begin, here are several articles you may have missed that cover each of the three biggest challenges:
You can’t disciple someone without a relationship – so a good assimilation process will connect people to your church through those relationships. Churches that connect well are also good at creating disciples. Therefore, churches can employ church management software to help them manage the execution of their mission and help move people toward full engagement in the mission and ministries of your church.
As a leader, it’s important to constantly look for ways to improve your ministry efforts by learning from other church leaders. And that willingness to learn will directly impact your personal growth and the growth of your church.
Church leaders recognize the impact technology has had on their ministry by supporting and systematizing their assimilation process for deeper, more personal relationships with potential and existing membership.
The more connected a person feels to another person or organization, the more generous they will be towards them. And if you can provide tools to anyone who offers to get involved, you can then empower them to help you keep track of where people are connecting – and where they aren't.
If you want to move your church members from audience to action, it’s important to know who is involved – and at what level. Church management software helps you see if people are following through with their commitments – or if they are even committing at all. You can also identify their interests, equip them with everything they need to grow, and invite them to participate to move people from marginal to missional engagement.
It’s not just about tracking attendance, and mailing information and contribution records; it’s about enhancing relationships with people and uncovering better questions to ask. Behavior is a much better indicator of reality than words; behavior is much closer to the ‘truth.’
Every church wants visitors to move from first-time guests to fully engaged members. But silos and disconnected information keep us from being able to track a church member’s involvement – but an integrated system can help people find their groove in your ministry.
Moving people from observers to active participants is a challenging proposition in today’s ‘entertain me’ culture. There seem to be two effective strategies to get people involved in ministry opportunities but the bottom line is this: You can’t grow what you don’t know.
Retention is a numbers game and like most games, once you understand the basics, you can develop your strategy and skills. And your church’s numbers, once properly documented, measured and understood with the help of your church management software, can provide you the metrics to help you and your ministry focus on people. And that’s what retention is all about – engaging people to create meaningful relationships that ensure those people stick around.
Paying attention to first-time guests is often the difference between a dying church and a growing church. It’s also a stewardship responsibility. Retaining first-time guests is critical to growth, and reaching first-time guests doesn’t have to be an arduous task.
It’s our job to discover and develop volunteer leaders so our ministries can continue to expand, advance or enhance the Kingdom. Church leaders have been given that responsibility – not anyone else. No formulas or shortcuts – just the hard work of engaging with people and navigating life together.
When churches let people fall through the cracks, it’s a lost opportunity – but it’s also easily avoided. Retaining church members is about stewardship. We must take it seriously if we want God to bless and grow our ministries.
Successful churches know they must think critically about how they can better measure, monitor and manage the process of moving their people and their ministries forward.
And when properly measured and tracked, your numbers will offer you invaluable insight into the health and vitality of your church – and will help you build the community of believers you’ve always desired.