How do your new friends learn about the ministries of your church? If your answer is “Sunday morning announcements,” I think I might have some bad news for you.
While making announcements in services is a subject deserving of its own blog, the truth is that these aren’t as effective as you hope. Even where churches have high-dollar media budgets and can present their announcements with the same quality as the finest television commercials, Sunday morning announcements lack the personal touch you need to encourage a new person to risk yet another new environment.
If you want your new friends to start connecting with your ministries and events, the invitation has to be personal. That’s why a regular Newcomer’s event is a great way to introduce guests to the opportunities you offer.
A newcomer event scheduled quarterly, or even monthly where possible, provides a way for those who are new to the congregation to meet church leaders and learn important information about the church, its goals, and its ministries. In fact, at such an event, friendships can be formed and personal invitations can be extended to the ministry settings that will fit our new friends best.
In my experience, new people who attended a newcomer event were significantly more likely to continue attending the church. They began to feel like they knew us, and we were feeling the same way.
Some churches offer a meal event–an idea I really like. Free food has an appeal I don’t need to explain to you. And, when we scheduled the event immediately following our Sunday services, attendance grew considerably.
During the event, we served these new friends and had al of our church leaders attend to help maximize the connection. Our team’s job was to meet each individual and learn enough about them to introduce them to the rest of us. Not only did that mean we were getting to know them, but by the end of the event, the new friends had met and talked with more than a dozen people.
We also included a brief presentation of the history and values of our church, along with info on kids ministries. Our children’s pastor even assembled special game packs for the kids. Every member of the family was given the kind of welcome that would help them feel as special as they really were to us.
The event lasted about as long as it would take to entertain them for a restaurant meal, and many stayed even longer to enjoy more connection time.
The result, new people became involved in our ministries more quickly, felt like they new and understood the church more fully, and got started on some new meaningful relationships a lot more rapidly than if we’d just left the get acquainted opportunities to them.
Good assimilation demands that you provide an effective way for people to understand you and your church a lot better before they try to decide if they want to be a long-term part of your family.