This morning I’m sitting in the lobby of the new Hampton Inn in Pikeville, Kentucky after leading an assimilation event last night in the area. As I type, I’m looking up the hill at the Pikeville College campus where I began my formal studies. I spent two semesters at the college before I transferred to the big city of Morehead, Kentucky where I eventually graduated from Morehead State University.
I spent a large percentage of my life here in these hills and I suppose it will always be “home” to me. I began my life here, grew up in “these parts,” taught school nearby, and pastored for 12 years at two different churches in the area. I often miss the mountains and miss serving as a pastor of a local church. But emails like the one I received this morning from Larry Reed remind me that I am making some small difference in my current role at the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Larry wrote….
Thank you again for last night. It is an eye opening presentation that creates the realization of the need for improved change in our assimilation, as well as the culture of our churches that sometimes causes lost people to not return.
During the 5-year period from 2002-2006, the average assimilation rate of Kentucky Baptist churches was 1.12%! Every church in Kentucky and around the world should take a SERIOUS LOOK at how well they are connecting newcomers and new members to the church.
After the Assimilation Tour Stop in Owensboro, Mike McLeod, Discipleship Director of the Airline Baptist Church in Henderson wrote:
Wanted to say thanks again and let you know about some of the fruits of the conference you organized and led. Bro. Nathan and myself are excited about the material that was presented at the assimilation conference. We met and discussed how to share this information with our Church (Airline Baptist in Henderson). We came up with the idea of having another similar local conference at our church on a Saturday morning next month. Bro. Nathan and myself would be presenting a majority of the same information your teachers shared. However, we’ll make some small changes to the format so that everyone will attend all three sessions. We also want to work in some brain storming time to develop specific ideas that can be implemented immediately.
As you can probably see, we are excited about sharing this information and doing this training that flows from the work you presented. I have a favor to ask.
I applaud these men who left the conference and decided to make a difference. I encourage you to make a decision today to do something to improve your assimilation process. If possible attend one of the upcoming Assimilation Tour 2008 stops or the Beyond the First Visit event on May 22, 2008.