Five Ministry Ideas For Member Involvement

Five Ministry Ideas For Member Involvement

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

Dale Pollard

You must have a plan. If the leadership has no plan to grow, then the members don’t have a path to follow. According to one Gallup poll taken in 2020, 47% of adults are affiliated with a religious group of some kind in the U.S. Those numbers drop even lower after considering the amount of members that make up the Lord’s church. Of that remnant, the faithful are in the minority. Knowing that God is able to help His church grow is one thing, but creating an environment that encourages growth is another. According to Paul, the more streamlined and dynamic we can be in our service to Him, the more growth occurs. 

“…from the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual.” 

  • Ephesians 4.16

So let’s simplify it. 

A growing environment focuses on two areas: 

A. For Spiritual Growth…

  • Have an excellent customized Bible curriculum
  • Focus efforts on the worship service planning 
  • Emphasis on group focused programs (teens, young adult, & seniors) 

B. For Numerical Growth…

  • Plan to grow your staff (outreach minister, youth minister, co-minister/associate) 
  • Look for needs and create jobs/ministries to fulfill those needs by getting others involved. Churches are often stagnant because there aren’t enough outlets for all members to plug in. 

Five Job Ideas For Church Families 

  1. Social Tech Team: Perfect for a youth group looking to get involved in public communications. Facebook, Instagram, church websites, podcasts, YouTube channels, e-banners, PowerPoint slides, and numerous other lights to help your “city” (Mat. 5:14) become more visible. Online presence is crucial and a team of young people seem perfect for that job. 
  2. Scoop Squad: There are visitors who walk in the back door each Sunday and for some reason they aren’t all coming back. What if your congregation had a few folks who have taken it on themselves to seek them out in the crowd and invite them to lunch? To their home? A cup of coffee? These people are soul focused and they’re determined to keep visitors coming back to hear more about Jesus. 
  3. Conversion Crew: Appoint someone with a passion for soul winning to head up a group that’s passionate about training others in the art of conversion. The more capable teachers you have, the more likely your members will invite the lost.
  4. The Howdy Boys: There’s nothing better than a warm smile and a handshake to make your presence in the room feel appreciated. The Howdy Boys (or the Welcome Women?) excel in conversation. They’re extroverts who can make a visitor’s first experience a stress-free one. After all, they get more than a “howdy” from a stranger. They’ll get directions to the nearest child care room, bathroom, classroom, and coffee room. Side note, “Caffeinated Christianity” isn’t a bad Bible study group name. 
  5. Builder Brigade: The question, “where can I help?” isn’t bad unless there isn’t an answer because there aren’t any options. Having a person(s) to help others find where their talents can bring Him the most glory is invaluable. If one were to place membership and then their talents were quickly put to work, the chances that apathy set in go down. Remove that “checklist mentality” by removing the option to simply attend without any responsibility. A team designed to create jobs or help others find their job is an important job. 
Capitalizing On Visitors

Capitalizing On Visitors

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

pollard

Neal Pollard

It is a pretty courageous move for someone to make the decision to attend a church they are unfamiliar with full of people they do not know. From the moment they park, they are deciding whether or not this is a one-time deal or the first day of a beautiful relationship. Church growth statistics say that things like the cleanliness and attractiveness of the facilities, the preaching and worship services, and the location of the building are important, but so many of the factors revolve around how members respond to them. Thom Ranier gave a list of 10 reasons why over 1,000 people surveyed never returned a second time. The list included unfriendly church members, no place to get information, bad church website, poor signage, insider church language (not theological terms as much as initials–think CYC, EU, MPR, etc.), and members telling visitors they were in their pew (Source). How can we prepare for, then provide for a great experience for visitors, then make progress with those who “check us out”?

TEST. Evaluate.How are we doing at this? Every single church whose members are asked, “Are you friendly?,” invariably answers “yes.” Most visitors, when asked by poll-takers and surveys, say of a church that they are unfriendly. How could that be? We are more often friendly to those already “part” of the group, but not to people we don’t know. We’re uncomfortable talking to “strangers.” We’re afraid of offending someone who we find out is already a member. We’re unsure of what to say. But, we need a way to evaluate where we are and how to improve. This may be done through something akin to “secret shoppers,” perhaps brethren from far enough away not to be known to local church members who pose as visitors and report their experiences to church leaders. This can be done by QR codes and/or Google forms hosting.a brief survey evaluating their “guest experience.”

TEACH.  What the leadership emphasizes, the membership internalizes. What does Scripture have to say about this vital interaction? James 2:2-4 is the most explicit New Testament passage, warning against personal favoritism with such encounters. But Matthew 4:19 says we’re to be fishers of men, and these are fish who have fallen into our own pond. 1 Timothy 2:3-6 reminds us of God’s feelings toward every “all men” and “all,” which certainly includes those who visit. We are to be “finders” (John 1:40-41), and who is easier to find than one who comes to us. These are just a few passages which should build our conviction to connect with visitors.

TRAIN. We may need help to become more effective at making the most of the visitor’s visit. That includes emphasizing the discipline of simply looking for those who may be new or what to say when inviting someone to come. It includes getting organized, properly utilizing the welcome center, greeters and/or ushers, new member orientation, and all that needs to be implemented and improved to make us intentional with newcomers, first-timers, and returnees. It is really the whole-life mentality that we must incorporate to further this precious relationship.

TIME. In the 1980s, Herb Miller published the statistics that 85% of visitors return if visited in the first 48 hours, 60% if in the first 72 hours, and 15% if visited in the first seven days (Source). Today, that may mean text, email, or call, but even in today’s tech-first world, it’s hard to beat even a brief, friendly face-to-face visit. But, following up quickly is key to success. Taking it to the next level includes building a way for more than elders and preachers (or even deacons) to be the one making contact.

TRANSFORM. What is or should be our interest in visitors? We are trying to move them from the “visitor” column to the “member” column. If they are not New Testament Christians, that means something totally different than if they are “transfers” moving from another location. To transform the relationship, we must inform them. That includes where to go, who we are, what we are doing, etc. That can be in a welcome brochure or packet, or with an attractive, informative web site, or with a key “front man” or “front woman” who connects with them when they come through the door. Ideally it is all of the above. Likewise, to transform the relationship, we must communicate with them. Where’s the bathroom? Where’s their child’s classroom? Why are we taking the Lord’s Supper, singing instead of having a concert, or doing X instead of Y? That can be done in a user-friendly rather than confrontational way that is positive and helpful. The point is, we often assume people understand more than they do. To transform the relationship, we must connect with them. They will need to form at least five connections, according to experts, in order to “stick.” Again, this must be intentional. To transform the relationship with specifically non-Christians, we must study with them. At some point, we must work up the courage, when we know they have not obeyed the gospel, to ask them if they will study the Bible with us. That takes us back to the “training” step because the more of us trained to do that (and the follow up with new Christians), the more we will grow and the better we will transform those who come among us.

Consider this list more of an appetizer than a five-course meal. There’s so much needed to leverage these crucial relationships. This is the easiest opportunity within the Great Commission. These are the “come into all the buildings” rather than “go into all the worlds.” Let’s be good stewards of our visitors. The stewardship principle includes the idea that the better we manage what we are entrusted with, the more opportunities we are given! Let’s make the most of those opportunities (Col. 4:5)!

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