Build a Church Jesus Would be Proud of.
New members are pivotal to any church. However, sometimes churches don’t know there’s a problem until there are years without growth, or if they are growing, they don’t know about the people who visit and never return.
Churches have a lot of different ministries. There is outreach, missions, shut-ins, food pantry, D12 groups, etc. The one thing that I haven’t seen in the churches I’ve attended, is In-Reach groups©.
People search for and visit churches out of need. And while I know there are needy people who no matter how much attention you give them, drain the life out of you, there are others who don’t. Many of those people could be your greatest asset if you have a way to know that they were there.
So what’s an In-Reach Ministry©? In-Reach is the same as outreach, but you reach in, instead of out. An In-Reach Ministry© is for those who visit or attend but fall through the cracks.
Some churches have welcome committees. But those are only as good as the people involved. They often only do the job that day and rarely follow-up. It takes a special gift to be a true welcome committee member and to include a follow-up plan. It’s an easy job to greet at the door, so people sign up. But if you don’t follow-up, how do you know if the visitor stayed or left?
All churches want to grow. New members are an important aspect of that growth. So why is it that someone can walk into a church and not be noticed? There need to be members who are gifted in “In-Reach” to handle visitors or those who don’t automatically fit into any one group.
Here is a list of questions for church administrators to think about:
- When a visitor comes to your church, are they:
Invited into a group?
Given a list of activities and groups?
- Does anyone spend time getting to know the reason they came?
- Is there a welcome card or packet with encouragement to fill it out?
- Is there staff to follow through using the welcome card or packet?
- Do you have a visiting ministry?
That’s when people visit those who are housebound or go into the hospital for any reason.
Do they set up regular visits to shut-ins?
Do they visit people in the hospital?
If they aren’t allowed to visit in the hospital, do they call the family to check in or write a note of encouragement?
There needs to be the same or similar committee for new visitors — someone to make contact with the visitor and ask why they came to church. Then they can help them plug into a group or program that best matches their needs.
If you build a church on outreach and small groups, there’s bound to be people who fall through the cracks. That’s why I came up with the concept of the In-Reach Ministry©.
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©2014 Susie Glennan