Many people attend a church service when they’re invited by a friend or colleague. Sometimes they really enjoy the service, but never end up coming back. It’s not because they do not want to not return. The majority of the time it’s just because they don’t know how to get “plugged in” to what’s happening in your ministry.
But it’s not just visitors to which this happens, sometimes this lack of being “plugged in” can also occur with members who become inactive in church activities.
For believers, the Church is not a building, it’s the people. Whether they’ve been members for 30 years or if this week was their first time attending, each individual (and his or her overall spiritual health) is important.
Everyone in your congregation comes from different places. Some are brand new and looking to get involved with church activities quickly. Others may be new but are looking for their passion in ministry, evaluating where they stand before jumping into becoming more involved. And still, others may have been there for years without ever becoming involved.
There are several key things to address when discussing assimilation, but there are three which are essential. To get people connected, remember the three areas of involvement: fellowship, discipleship, and service.
From your ministry perspective, the chief goal should be to ensure your church is proactive in assimilating people into a healthy, interconnected group to form them into Disciples of Christ.
However, getting people connected can be the most challenging aspect a church faces.
The key to getting people connected in your ministry is to help them find the best place in which they fit. After this happens, normally the entire church body functions much better and can move deeper into meaningful service.
There are three things your ministry should consider before you ultimately dive into making connections in your community:
1. Don’t be pushy with visitors, but give them a place to get answers.
2. Create a sense of excitement among new members.
3. Help lurkers and inactives realize they’re missing out.
It’s also important to match the right person with the right group or outlet. It’s not just about filling empty spots. Many people, due to hyper-connectedness, feel more isolated than ever. People everywhere, whether followers of Christ or not, are frazzled. They’re over-worked and over-committed, leaving their spiritual lives in a depressed state.
Believers have a strong desire to go deeper and to grow in their faith while sharing life in their church community. Meanwhile, those who don’t yet know Jesus share the same need to belong. Salvation is often the result of a nagging sense of loneliness and a desire to find a new way of life. What’s interesting is these things are happening in an era of unprecedented connectivity, thanks to the growth of social media, smartphones, text messaging, and the Internet.
But how do you get there?
There are numerous ways to get people plugged into your ministry via traditional means, whether it be a welcome center, greeters at each service or connect cards. These methods are absolutely necessary. However, there is an important next step you should take in today’s fast-paced world.
That step is to make a true connection with people outside of Sunday School or weekly services. It is to really bring that connectedness to people anytime, anywhere, through the use of technology.
As society moves deeper into the future, most are embracing technology to communicate and better connect. But what churches need are viable online tools that can deliver real spiritual sustenance and a way of regularly connecting outside of normal church gatherings.
There are tools out there which are people-driven and designed for ministry growth. There are ones which hit the proper marks. Those marks are: connecting people; providing deeper interaction; and moving ministry forward.
And some churches out there are doing it right.
Growing megachurch congregation taps into the power of community.
Geoff Surratt, Ministries Pastor at Seacoast Church in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina says many churches misuse social media technologies.
I see them totally misusing Twitter and Facebook — either they ignore them or use them wrong. ‘Community’ doesn’t mean sitting around listening to people talk about what they’re doing next. You have to talk with each other. You have to share your lives.” Surratt says his church has seen what can happen when people truly get involved by harnessing the power of technology.
There’s a reason it’s called ‘social networking,’” he says. “It’s not a platform to share who you are and get your message out there. It’s a way to connect with people…. that’s how you tap into the power of community.”
Get Better Connected
Whether they’ve just walked through your front door or they’ve been quietly warming a seat for years without engaging, the key to a healthier, thriving body is getting people connected and properly assimilated. When you do, ultimately you’ll spread the Gospel more effectively.
To learn more about assimilation and put best practices to use, download Assimilation: Best Practices with the Whole Church in Mind.