People who love their church are concerned about the trend in the video below. They have invested in a community and want it to prosper. Their beliefs are wrapped up in this investment, and it disturbs them to think their church might face decline. But, many of them don’t embrace this simple truth: “If you only do what you’ve always done, you’ll only get what you’ve always gotten.”
Case in point, many committed church-goers assume their congregation can only grow by attracting people. If the only way to maintain a church is by attraction, then every American church is consigned to a long, slow decline.
American churches now face something that will be very good for them: what it looks like to be on a mission again, and not just maintain an institution.
Simply put, every community of faith must learn to engage people on their own turf, and then actually invite them to their turf. According to researcher Thom Rainer, most people who do not attend church say that they would go if invited. But, Dear Church-goer, think hard about what it would be like to show up at your church for the first time…
Before you invite someone to your church
Imagine an old college friend inviting you to one of the following places:
a) His family reunion.
b) His office Christmas party.
c) Their neighborhood’s block party.
Most Sunday gatherings are going to feel like one of these to a guest. So, if you want new-comers to connect with your community, you must create something for them. You must have a pathway with stepping stones in reach of your worship service.
These three questions will help you build a path
1) Do you know the real WHY behind your church involvement? Can you express your faith on a personal but non-threatening level, in a way that connects w/ people who may have little spiritual background?
2) Can you point to the specific ways a new-comer can experience the same life-changing personal discovery through faith in the life of your church without needing a lot of background?
3) Can you name the stepping-stones on a path that moves a person from insider to outsider, from hurting to healing, and from sitting to serving?
What are your observations, either as a member or as someone who doesn’t go to church?