Over the years as I have studied church statistics, one is glaring. If our churches would slow down the losses (people leaving often due to neglect), they would have more people attending, discipling, serving, and reaching. In most cases, our churches lose more members than they reach each year. Too many new members are lost in the first year. And others leave due to death, moves, poor health, and many other reasons.
A couple of years ago, two friends of mine (Ken Hemphill and Mike James) wrote a great little book entitled, V.E.L.C.R.O. Church. It is full of practical and biblical ideas for addressing a real problem in most churches: opening the front door and closing the back door. How do we reach out and connect with guests and new members while maintaining strong relationships with faithful members? It is difficult to impossible to disciple people who are not connected!
Who could help you develop and carry out a V.E.L.C.R.O. Church strategy? Let me share the chapter titles in the anagram VELCRO from the book title:
- Valuing every person as a gift from God
- Engaging every guest with intentionality
- Leading our friends to Christ
- Connecting to community
- Recognizing relationships as key to assimilation
- Organizing small groups for ongoing care.
The final chapter points to a key place for Sunday School and/or small groups in a VELCRO Church strategy.
But what if the strategy for a VELCRO church were given to the Sunday School to carry out? (1) What if class members valued every person in their assigned age group? What if they engaged every worship and class guest taking some specific key actions? What if every class prayed for, shared Christ with, and led friends to Christ? What if each class connected to each other and to the community around the church? What if class members recognized the importance of contacts and care in keeping people connected? What if classes organized and enlisted leaders to ensure ongoing member and guest contact and care?
Could your class be a VELCRO class? Could your Sunday School be a VELCRO Sunday School? How can you get there? This is the kind of a book after reading that would help a team develop a plan for greater effectiveness and fruitfulness. Gather a key Sunday School team. Work on implementing the strategy a step at a time. If your team needs help, don’t be afraid to ask another church, pastor, association, state convention, or even Mike James.
Begin in prayer. Velcro your guests, new members, and faithful members. Make disciples. For more assimilation ideas, check out these blog posts:
- Support for Six Expectations of Disciples
- Tracking Your Disciple-Making
- Key New Member Class Questions, Part 1
- Key New Member Class Questions, Part 2
- Addressing Transition Weakness: Assimilation and Disciple-making
- Discipleship Encourager Actions
- The Best Assimilation Strategy
- How to Keep New Members