So crucial to a healthy church is finding a way to keep everyone active and ensure everyone knows the part to play in spreading God’s love all around. How do we do that? In Thom Rainer’s 5 steps to keeping the back door shut, noted to have upheld 90% of new church comers still active after two years since their first connection with the church.
- Have a mission statement that includes the importance of members getting involved in a group. For example, if the mission statement is “Love God, Connect with Others, Serve Others, and Give Abundantly,” the second part of the mission statement (“Connect with Others”) would refer to the importance of a church member getting involved in a small group, Sunday/Sabbath school class, or some other group.
- Communicate the importance of groups in your new members’ class. In fact, some churches actually require the prospective member to connect with a group as a requisite for membership. This statement obviously assumes that the church has a new members’ class in place.
- Make certain the church is intentional about starting new groups. This step is very important if you are diligently moving new members to groups. New groups, particularly, will be attractive to these new members. They will not have to break into existing relationship patterns.
- Have a leadership group review the status of new members at least once a quarter. In the church I mentioned early, the ministry staff takes that initiative. Some church leaders do this review once a month; others do so once a quarter. One of the primary purposes of this review is to determine if the new church member has become active in a group.
- Follow-up persistently if a church member is not in a group. Another church I know has a “meal plan” follow-up. They make certain an existing member of a group takes the new member out to eat, and invites him or her to join the group. The success rate has been very high.
Church members in a group are more likely to read their Bibles regularly. They are more likely to share their faith. They give more abundantly to the church. And they are much more likely to “stick” with the church over time. In fact, in earlier studies, I found that a member who was in a group was five times more likely to stick with a church than a member who was not.
They engender new relational connections. They create an implicit system of accountability.
And they also get members to stick.
The back door is closed.
Original Post | ThomRainer
Allowing church goers to practice and exercise faith on the field of mission is the key to a healthy church. Being involved together led by a strong leader who is able to see skills and potential in others to do good in the community will make sure no-one gets to slip out the back door.