Lots of bloggers including yours truly have written thousands of blogs on the issue of assimilation, which is how we keep the people we reach. How do we create a climate of hospitality that causes people to desire to come back after they visit? How do we get people really involved in the life of our churches and not be just pew sitters? How do we get them to stick after they join and not go out the back door? How do we plug them in and help them to grow using their spiritual gifts?
There are some really good assimilation strategies available. Recently KBC sponsored two PLACE ministries workshops on this very subject. PLACE is a great process for assimilation.
Any assimilation strategy works better than no strategy at all!
All of them involve a process or a strategy that takes some time and work for it to be successful. There are no short cuts to involve people in the life and ministry of your church.
I believe that the very best way to assimilate someone is to disciple them. Yes discipleship is the most effective method of assimilation. It could be one on one or one on three or one on 12 but never the less discipleship is the New Testament model for assimilation. Helping people grow in their faith and journeying with them as they grow is what discipleship is all about. If a new person is connected to a disciple maker for a period of time they will stick. How long? I would suggest that for a brand new member or a new Christian it should last between 6 months and a year. Of course discipleship does not stop after a year is up but in a year you can lay a solid foundation on which a member can be productive in kingdom work.
Remember…the key to discipleship is relationship. To attempt to disciple people without a relationship is hollow and ineffective. People stay and stick to a church because of relationships formed thru small groups.
What does assimilation look like at your church? If you are drawing a blank maybe you should spend some time in prayer, asking for the Lord to give you a vision for not only reaching people but also making disciples.
Keep the Son in Your Eyes,