Let’s take a look at some “rules of thumb” for your efforts to welcome newcomers into your congregation. These come from Gary McIntosh’s excellent book, Church That Works: Your One-Stop Resource for Effective Ministry.
1. 60% of your guests come with little or no knowledge of church. So don’t assume the majority of your attendance understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, or how to join in. Take time to explain your worship practices, especially those that might seem a bit unusual to outsiders.
2. The days of average family meaning mom, dad, and 2.2 kids are long gone. Today, the average family consists of half that many people. So, plans for parking should be based on about 2 people per car rather than 4.
3. Churches lose about 10% of their people each year to a variety of issues. This even happens in healthy churches! If your church is going to grow, you’ll need to gain more than that.
4. A church must keep at least 16% of its first time guests in order to achieve a minimal growth rate of 5% a year.
5. Churches keep about 85% of the guests who visit a second time the week following their first visit. This underscores the need to do a good job welcoming guests on their first visit and following up effectively during that first week.
These are just a few of the standard ideas McIntosh covers in his book. We’ll take a look at some “rules of thumb” for small group ministry next week.