I’ve heard it said, if a worship attendee hasn’t become part of a ministry team or joined a group of some kind, the likelihood of them staying in your church decreases dramatically after two years.

It is true that worship is typically the main entry point for people.  Worship will always be the primary function of the whole church.  Unless the church meets together regularly, it wouldn’t take long for accountability to become non-existent, for funds to dry up and for people to lose heart and interest.  Worship has to be key.

Every church needs to invest most heavily in worship ministry and the other areas will begin to be taken care of merely through growth, numbers and vision. And once someone has become part of worship, we then need to begin to help move them to more connection.  We minister to those who respond.

If this information is generally true, then what do we need to do to connect people?

1)  Always be inviting new people to worship – We keep inviting people to great worship services!  Plan worship services that will be uplifting, helpful, and inspirational to people.  And let people know about them.  Teach your people to invite and disciple.  If worship is the primary entry point, then we have to keep growing in attendance in order to have more people to take to a deeper connection and transformation.

2)  Think of new people to invite to groups – We always need to be working on creating groups, classes, ministry teams, and opportunities for people to grow deeper. When you begin a group or new ministry, focus on newer people in your congregation to invite. Pull a list of all the ones who have started attending in the last few months and focus on them as you invite people to participate. Getting people into groups is a big part of discipleship.

3)  Thorough follow-up – Create a great plan for follow up that walks with people through the first few weeks of being involved in your church.  If this plan can include a letter at the one-year mark that would also be a great point of follow up.  Are they connected to a ministry?  Have they been through the new member class?  We need to help people stay committed.

4)  Invest in great software and training – The thorough follow up will be impossible without a great system.  Invest in a program that will help track attendance, church member involvement, etc.  Invest in the training for people to become experts in this.  Being able to follow up with recent attenders and new members will be one huge step in getting people fully engaged.

5)  Set expectations in new member groups and classes – One of the best ways to help people get connected is to set expectations for what is “required” of church members.  This can be done in a membership class or gathering.  This gives people an opportunity to start the process of getting connected with the knowledge of how to grow deeper through groups and ministry teams.  One Great Resource is Thom Rainer’s “I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference”

I’m not sure why, but sometimes, we just wait too long before inviting people to serve. Maybe we want for them to initiate it. Maybe we don’t want to be pushy. Of course, we don’t want to become overbearing and put too much pressure on people! But generally, if someone is continually attending worship, they will welcome the invitation to get connected.

Inviting New People To Serve

Often, the connection in a ministry of service will be one of the simplest and easiest ways to feel like part of the family. Most often, someone will help serve in hospitality, tech ministry, recreation or outreach ministries before they will join in a small group or Bible Study. There are some obvious roles where people need to be vetted carefully (children’s ministry volunteers as an example), but create a culture of inviting people to jump in quickly and begin taking part in the church in meaningful ways as soon as possible. New people are typically the most excited about these things and their energy will be contagious. Don’t wait six months or a year before inviting people to really commit.

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