In Part 1, I shared a set of questions to help you and your team as you plan your New Member Class. The questions related to (1) your purpose for the new member class, (2) the frequency you will offer it, (3) who will lead it, (4) will participation be expected, and (5) what happens after completion of the class?
In Part 2, we will explore several more areas and questions to help as you design your New Member Class experience. Allow me to guide you through (1) for whom to provide the class, (2) what will be covered, (3) how you will handle challenges, and (4) how you will get people to attend.
FOR WHOM. For whom are you providing this class? Is it for…
- all new members (including children)?
- all new adult and youth members?
- all new adult members only?
- new Christians?
- those joining from other churches/denominations?
- the entire congregation when you launch it the first time?
CONTENT. What will be covered in your new member class? Some of this will naturally depend on how you answer the PURPOSE questions from Part 1. Will you cover…
- the history of the church?
- the vision and mission of the church?
- doctrinal beliefs?
- the programs of the church?
- membership expectations/covenant?
- the discipleship pathway (how to continue growing as a disciple)?
- spiritual gifts discovery?
- opportunities and expectations to serve in the church, community, and world?
- the importance of Sunday School/small groups?
PROBLEMS. How will you handle challenges related to your New Member Class? Will you…
- continue encouraging attendance by those who miss sessions?
- not send for a church letter from a person transferring from another church who never completes the sessions?
- continue encouraging those who don’t take next steps after the class?
- lengthen the time if the agenda is too full?
- add a meal if the session(s) is/are too long?
- provide childcare for those with younger children?
- allow people to exit gracefully if they disagree with your doctrine, mission/vision, or expectations?
- find another time to offer the class if the first attempt is poorly attended?
- reduce sessions to one longer session in order to ensure completion?
- add sessions in order to enrich early relationship development and/or potentially build new Sunday School classes/small groups from the group?
- have an alternative leader in case the regular one is sick or leaves the church?
PROMOTION. How will you get people to attend the class? Will you…
- personally invite them to attend the class you are leading?
- provide a testimony of a new member from the pulpit before you invite new (and potential) members to attend?
- send out special invitations to all new members?
- promote it in print and on the church website?
- talk about it in Sunday School classes/small groups?
- offer gfits to those who attend?
If you have experience with launching a New Member Class, what additional questions would you add to these? What is the best thing that happens as a result of your class? What is one thing you wish you could change about your class? Press Comments and share you thoughts and experiences. Connect well with new members. Make disciples!
For more ideas about assimilation and new members, check out these blog posts: