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:
Thanks Brenda….kinds words are always appreciated!
I know some folks at your church and I’ve actually been there for a visit. You all are doing such great things! Many blessings on your church family. Love your blog.
Sure thing. I’d be happy to get together sometime, although I’m not sure how many ideas I could share that you haven’t already mentioned on your blog. Send me an email and we can try to work something out!
Good suggestions Jason. We’ve got to get together sometime. I’d like to hear more of your ideas. I’ve got to give more thought to ways to use the internet to stay connected. Be sure to check out tomorrow’s post.
Brenda and Steve,
Great point about Facebook. One of our deacons started a Church Facebook Group, and sent out a mass email to all of the known email addresses of members, asking them to join. To date, we have 41 members in the group, and it has been a wonderful way to stay connected to one another throughout the week.
Also, one of my Sunday School Teachers sends out an email devotional to members and visitors alike every day, and it helps us to keep in touch with one another throughout the day, including sharing praises and prayer requests throughout the week.
All of that to say that the online world is definitely a way to connect visitors and inactive members to the church, and it helps to keep that backdoor closed!
Good point Brenda. I wish I had thought of that. I do not personally use Facebook, but my kids all do. I can easily see how that would be a wonderful connection ministry in a church. I’ll plan to make that a future post.
Great post, Steve! Another place to connect is online. I’m a working mother of two toddlers, and I don’t have much time to socialize. But I love to keep up with friends on Facebook and via email! I love looking a the latest pictures my friends post, read their “walls”, check out the latest applications and quizzes they’ve added. It’s a fun way to stay in touch throughout the week.