In this series, we’ve been looking at ways to help our churches grow by assimilating newcomers and new members into the life of the church. In this post we will look at the “O” in C.L.O.S.I.N.G. the Back Door.
For most churches, the Sunday School classes or the small groups serve as the main connection point of the church. My friend, Darryl Wilson, has written two great posts on improving connections through the Sunday School called It Takes More Than Worship and Sunday School to Close the Back Door and Growing Next-Level Sunday School Relationships.
Experience shows that everyone will not be connected through those groups. Because of that, the church should provide other places guests and new members can build relationships and get connected. Here are a few other “connection points” I would suggest:
- A New Member’s Class. A new member’s class can serve lots of purposes, but one of the most important things it can do is help in the area of connection. Connection will not “just happen” in a new member class–the leader will have to be intentional. Be sure that you wear name tags, provide time for interaction, and provide fellowship time.
- Sports Activities. We are generally a sports-crazed, sports-saturated society. You will attract people through softball leagues, fishing clubs, hunting trips, running groups, exercise classes, motorcycle rides, etc. In those settings, lasting relationships and memories are often formed.
- Music Groups. Who doesn’t like music? Churches should have a variety of music outlets where people can easily become involved. Music will attract people to these groups and their participation will allow for connection opporunities.
- Backyard Cookouts. Church members can regularly host cookouts at their homes and newcomers can be invited to one near them. There’s just something about eating a flame-broiled burger or a polish sausage that will keep you coming back. These cookouts can serve as a relaxed setting to get to know one another. Plus, I’m pretty sure there will be cookouts in Heaven!!!
The KEY is that you intentionally, but discreetly, use these as connection points to the church and to the people of the church.
For more details about CLOSING the Back Door see the entire series: