C.L.O.S.I.N.G. the Back Door

Tomorrow evening, some of my buddies and I are kicking off an eight-stop assimilation tour across the state of Kentucky. The tour spreads through March – May of this year. Joining me on the tour will be Darryl Wilson from The Sunday School Revolutionary along with our Kentucky Baptist Strategists, Glen Cummins, Mike James, Ronnie Sivells, and Alan Witham. We will be sharing ways to help churches grow through improved assimilation of guests and new members.

Two of the keys to church growth is Opening the Front Door of the Church and Closing the Back Door of Church. In other words, getting more people to visit your church and then integrating them into the life of the church once they attend.

Below is the basic outline I put together for CLOSING the Back Door of your church. In the upcoming days, I will devote a post to each of these areas.

  • C-reate a welcoming environment. First impressions are often lasting impressions and you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
  • L-et people know you care. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  • O-ffer multiple connection points. The morning worship service is often the main “entry” point of the church, but the Sunday School or the small group program is usually the main “connection” point of the church. The church that offers multiple connection points will improve assimilation because many newcomers and new members will not attend Sunday School or a small group.
  • S-tart a membership class. Dr. Chuck Lawless’ research discovered that a pastor-led membership class is a key factor to improving assimilation in the church. He details his findings in his book Membership Matters. See Start A Membership Class for more info.
  • I-nvite people to lunch. People are not just looking for a friendly church; they are looking to make friends at church.
  • N-otice what’s happening with people. Every church needs a simple way to track people’s progress toward assimilation and discipleship. Many computer-based and web-based programs exist that can help in this area.
  • G-ive them a place to serve. People want to feel welcome, but they also want to feel needed. Every church needs to have a strategy to involve new members in the ministries of the church.

If you live close enough to one of the Assimilation Tour 2008 stops, then come on out and join us. Either way, follow my upcoming posts.

For more details about CLOSING the Back Door see the entire series:


  1. Jason,

    Thanks for the helpful feedback. It’s great to hear that the “lunch” piece is helping guests to feel welcome and wanted. Please feel free to share any other suggestions you have. Keep up the great work!

  2. Steve,

    Thanks for the outline, and I look forward to your further explanation of each of the points. However, I want to go ahead and give a hearty “Amen” to the “Invite people to lunch” point. I am a SS Director of a church here in Louisville and I encourage my teachers to try to take any visitors to lunch that day. I also try to make a practice of this myself as much as possible. I have seen a tremendous increase in the number of times that the back door closes, and folks end up joining our church.

    Thanks for all of the helpful info on your blog. I visit it along with Darryl’s blog daily, and recommend them to others!

    In Christ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.