Effective connections processes and growing churches go together like bacon and happy men. If you see one, it’s highly likely you'll see the other! Yet, I am still surprised by the number of churches I visit or talk to that have no connections process at all. How is that possible?
Have you considered that every single ministry in your church benefits from an effective connection process? Think about it. Discipleship thrives because there’s an intentional process in place to move people into a deeper relationship with Christ. Community flourishes because people feel cared for. Volunteerism grows because people are intentionally connected. Giving increases because people enjoy supporting healthy causes and organizations. I could go on, but you get the point.
So, do you have a connection process? (Telling people to visit the welcome desk doesn’t count, by the way). If you do, how do you know it’s as effective as it could be?
Here are four questions to ask in order to determine the health of your connection process.
- Are your volunteers trained and equipped to provide the kind of active hospitality needed to make first-time guests feel welcome? Active hospitality involves real people who watch for ways to assist anyone entering the facility. Don’t just throw people onto the greeting team because it’s easy. Be intentional about who they are and make sure you train them well.
- Do you have a simple process for intentionally gathering information that helps you connect with every single person who walks through your doors on Sunday? Don’t provide a catalog of options. Make it very simple and clear. Provide one or two primary options for taking the next step. A welcome desk and a connection card are two very effective strategies.
- Once you have someone’s information, can you determine whether followup actually happens? Who is responsible for followup? Did they actually do it? Whatever you do, don’t rely on email here. Your church management system should be playing a major role.
- How are you recording what you learn about people throughout the process? An effective connections process has a number of milestones or steps, and you will learn more about a person as they complete each one. If you don’t have a central repository for all of this information, you will miss the opportunity to help, serve, and mobilize people.
Connections is one of those oft-overlooked details of the way we do church that can make a huge impact on someone’s life. If you miss the opportunity to be intentional with how you steward your people, you will most likely end up with a church full of spectators rather than active disciples.
Do you regularly hear stories about people who fell through the cracks in your church?When did you last evaluate your connections process?