Simply stated, assimilation is the process of new people becoming part of a group. Assimilation efforts begin with relationship-building and evangelism efforts prior to joining a church and continue in connecting, discipling, and mobilizing efforts as part of the body of Christ. So new member assimilation begins the moment a person joins the church.
Evaluation should be conducted regularly on every church program, event, and strategy. That is no less true for new member assimilation. New member assimilation effectiveness can be measured in three ways:
- Retention. Did the new member stay? Is he/she still attending worship and Sunday School or small group? This should be reviewed monthly looking back at everyone who has joined during the last year. When faithfulness wavers, special encouragement should be provided.
- Discipleship. Is the new member making progress? Is he/she growing as a disciple? Is he/she in a Bible study and/or disciple-making group? Has he/she completed new member training? Does he/she have encouraging relationships? When discipleship is stagnant, special encouragement should be provided.
- Mobilization. Has the new member found a place of service in the church and/or community? Has he/she invited people to the church? Does he/she look for opportunities to get to know and help people beyond the walls of the church? Has he/she been trained to be a “fisher of men”? When mobilization is absent, special encouragement should be provided.
Evaluate whether your new members are staying, making progress, and serving. One simple fix going forward is assigning an Encourager for every new member. The Encourager would walk with the new member for a year:
- weekly in person or by phone for a month,
- twice monthly for months 2-3,
- monthly for months 4-6, and
- quarterly thereafter.
Care, encouragement, and discipleship are the focus. Coach, ask questions, and mentor the new member.
God sent the new member to you to provide care and disciple-making for Him. Will you be faithful in the care you provide? Or will you allow him/her to drop out in the first six months? Assign an Encourager. Make disciples!