Last time we explored the importance of connection in the first few weeks someone visits your church. Today, let’s look at step two in the assimilation process–INVOLVEMENT.
What does it mean to get involved at your church? Now for some of us who’ve been around church for a long time, being involved can mean someone attends just about everything that’s going on or is actively contributing to some ministry effort. But involvement for the guest is a lot more tame than that.
People need to become involved by taking one step beyond showing up for Sunday worship. Maybe that step is attending a small group or a midweek Bible study. It could be attending a women’s event or a Sunday school class. The critical step is that they participate in something where they can feel like they are part of something. If a woman attends a women’s event, she now feels a part of the women of the church. Same for a guy in a men’s event or anybody who attends a small group. When I take the second step in a church, my feeling of involvement goes up significantly, unless of course, no one spoke to me or cared that I was there.
What are the best relational settings in your church? Is that small groups or Sunday school? Is it a regular rally or fellowship event. Whatever it might be, you need to get your guests involved in the first 6-8 weeks after their initial visit. Come join the softball team…play music with us on Friday night…join the other moms at an outing this week…come help us assemble food boxes for the poor. Any such effort feels like involvement, especially if I’m likely to get to know people.
When I was a kid, a lot of people would go to a restaurant after Sunday night church. When guests came along, well, they almost always became a long-term part of our church. Why? they felt like they were involved with some people. And since we hit a restaurant a couple of Sunday nights a month, it became a habit that just increased the feeling of connection.
Figure out the best relational settings and use the potential for friendship to draw people in. Yes, a study of the Book of Revelation will be extraordinary, but a guest is more likely to attend if he can find friends among the students.
Get people involved in something–the sooner the better. of course, we aren’t trying to sign them up for stuff on their first visit, but if they come back a second time, we need to help them find a fun next step with us.
So, make connections in weeks 2-4 and get your guests involved in something no later than weeks 6-8. If you do, you’ve made great progress in your effort to seal them as a lasting part of your church.
We’ll discuss the final piece of the assimilation puzzle next week…