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Issue #9: A Simple Addition that Can Skyrocket Your Retention of New People

Feeding & Leading the Sheep

Every church loves seeing new families attending services.

But every pastor knows the disappointment of noticing many of those families no longer there.

How can we help connect new families so that they stay to become a part of our church body?

That’s the subject of this week’s newsletter.

Being Nice Is Not A Strategy

“We have such a friendly church.”

Most people will say this about their church, including pastors. But having nice people is not a strategy for plugging people in.

You need something more than nice people saying “hi” to newer families in order to get those families to stick.

You need a system.

Sticky Churches Have Plans

How do you get the right people to stick to your church?

This isn’t about gimmicks or tricks. This is about how you can systematically give people clear next steps rather than crossing your fingers and hoping people stick around.

Systems have been around forever in the church. In Acts 6, we read about the system for feeding widows the apostles established to ensure the work was done.

Faithful shepherds utilize healthy systems to execute their roles effectively.

A system that helps you connect new people to the church is a newcomers class.

worship –> newcomers class –> a group

That’s a system. If they are in group, then they are plugged in to your church. You’re no longer leaving their connection to chance.

Point of Wisdom

Provide a class that meets regularly that newer people can learn about your church and are shown a next step.

Some Helpful Pointers

  • offer the class often enough for folks to catch one fairly quickly after they start coming (bi-weekly, monthly)
  • don’t stress about the class size being large (one family is worth doing it)
  • use the language of “newer to church” or “ready to take a next step” when you communicate about the class (it usually takes several visits before they’ll go to a class…don’t relegate it to first-time guests)
  • tell people about the class every week (from the pulpit or some communication medium…make it clear THIS is the next step)
  • ask guests or new people to fill out a communication card and use it to follow-up with them and invite them to class during the week
  • name the class something (we call ours “Welcome to TJC,” others call it “New Here Class” or “Connections Class”)
  • take time in the class to showcase the ministries of the church, the vision and direction, mission commitments, etc. (give them a commercial so they know if they want to be a part of the family)
  • have a clear next step they can take from the class (tell them their next step is to join a small group or Sunday school class and help them take it)
  • keep track of who goes through the class throughout the year to see how many plugged in (our church connects 96% of people who go through Welcome to TJC to a life group)
  • if you have multiple services, choose one service to host the class during (that way there is childcare)…if you have one service, host it after your service and provide lunch

Don't Hope You Connect Them

The biggest mistake churches make is not having a system. They simply hope people will connect on their own.

They won’t.

Help them by providing an easy step from the worship gathering to a life group.

A class for new people will solve this for you and skyrocket your guest retention.

Want to Dive Deeper?

Thanks for reading! Whenever you’re ready to go further, there are multiple ways you could work with me to grow in your leadership.

1. Pastor Cohorts. New cohort beginning in February of 2023. We cap the size of the group. Get signed up here ASAP. We’ve also had a large demand for a Student Ministry Leader cohort. You can now sign-up here (cap of 20 participants).

2. 1-on-1 Coaching. If you desire a more personal option, this approach is tailored to your church context and areas of growth. Starts in February. I’m only taking 5 in 2023.

3. Church Consulting. Those looking for help with a revitalization effort, setting new vision for the church, and developing systems, this option can be something to explore.