Many pastors and members alike have become focused on the growth of their churches. With the largest churches in America exceeding tens of thousands and others growing at nearly 50% a year, quickly getting people into the church is a major priority for many ministries.

marathonIf your church is seeing this kind of growth, what are you doing to make sure those attendees stick around? It’s not just about getting people in the door, but getting them plugged in and involved so they stay.

Sure, you hosted some outreach events and redesigned the church to bring in those new people, but how are you engaging them now that they’ve joined your church community?

It’s important that you don’t just reach a church growth goal and become complacent because new people are coming into your church—make sure you continue the engagement process.

Why you should keep them engaged

Each person that becomes a member or active attendee within your church is, of course, more than just a number. Whether you’re a church of 40 or 40,000, every single person that steps through your doors is a soul in need of discipleship. While people go to church to worship, serve, and fellowship, they are also seeking spiritual nourishment. They need to grow in Christ in order to produce fruit.

If people are not establishing those roots and growing spiritually, it will be easy for them to pick up and leave when life gets in the way. If they weren’t engaging with the body or developing a deeper relationship with God, they won’t feel like anything has changed once they leave.

When your people aren’t consistently engaged, they might begin to lose their hunger for spiritual nourishment. At that point, they may think it’s easiest to just bow out of the race early.

Keeping new attendees engaged is especially important because they are most likely to leave the church. But even those people that have been a part of the church for 15 years need that continued discipleship. It’s easy to grow complacent after many years in the same ministry. And every member of your church community should continue to grow.

This doesn’t negate the individual responsibility of engaging with the church, but you want to help your church community, don’t you?

How to keep them engaged

One of the best ways to keep your church community engaged is to get them plugged into a small group. People appreciate the opportunity to connect with others they can relate to. Whether they’re based on life stage or other factors, small groups can reach a large percentage of your people and engage them for years to come.

Providing opportunities to serve and volunteer is another great way to engage your church community. Make it easy for them to sign up as a nursery worker or worship leader and suggest ministry needs that fit individuals’ unique gifts. Many of these activities operate on a yearly calendar, so encourage people to continue their service or find a new way to get involved each year.

Engaging your church doesn’t have to stop with small groups and Sunday morning services—you can keep the process going all through the week online. Start a discussion on the church or pastor blog. Create conversation on Twitter or Facebook. Post a video series on your website to keep God’s Word fresh in their minds.

Tools to help you engage them

>Church Website

Your church website doesn’t just have to be a place where visitors find directions and service times. Make it attendee-friendly and engaging. Allow people to register for events, connect with a small group, update their personal information, and make donations. Keep the content fresh and consider adding a blog so that people will keep coming back.

>Church Mobile App

A mobile app will help you reach more people—especially the younger generations. Include a media center where they can catch up on the latest sermon series and a church directory so they can engage with each other no matter where they are.

>Social Media

Meet your church community where it already is! Use the platforms that are popular with your people—consider popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Share photos, ask questions, and build a genuine online community.

>Check-In & Kiosks

Have attendees and volunteers check in for services and events. Make it easy for them to share a prayer request or find a service opportunity through a touchscreen kiosk right in the foyer.

>Reports & Tracking

Track the attendance and involvement of your attendees to ensure they’re still engaging with the church. Keep them accountable long term and use past records and personal details to determine the best way to engage with them in the future.

When your people see that you’re making the effort to keep them engaged long past their first year, they’ll be encouraged to take a more active role within the church and their own spiritual development. You’ll build disciples and they will eventually engage others in the discipleship process.

How are you keeping your church attendees engaged?