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Newsletter October 2023

Connecting The Disconnected

Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations, Passion for PlantingDoes it feel like your church’s backdoor is as wide open as its front door? Every week the excitement of seeing new faces is offset with the disappointment and confusion about where last month’s first-time guests went. If you can relate, take a moment to contemplate on the following phrase: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Our friend Greg Curtis, the creator of Climbing The Assimalayas, shares this phrase with our church planting residents when he teaches them about developing an church assimilation strategy. This strategy guides first-time guests toward fuller engagement in the church and helps them step into the church’s discipleship pathway.

Every church, no matter the size, will benefit from having a clear strategy that helps new people make friends and find a place to serve within the church. A common mistake church planters make is focusing all their attention on attracting new people while neglecting to develop and implement a simple process for connecting those people within the church or launch team.

As the holiday season approaches, now is an opportune time to devise an assimilation strategy that will foster a sense of belonging and engagement for new individuals within your church.

The reality is, if new visitors come to your church but are unable to establish connections or find meaningful ways to serve, their commitment to your church will be short-lived. By crafting an assimilation strategy that every member of your church can support, you will better steward the people God brings to your way.

To learn more about why having an assimilation strategy is so important and how you can develop one for your church, check out the resources we’ve highlighted in this month’s newsletter. Enjoy!

-Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations

Oct 2023 – Content

  • Church Assimilation Principles 
  • Assimilation Podcast
  • Assimilation Strategy Template
  • Church Planter Boot Camp  

Church Assimilation Strategy Principles

welcoming first time guests using assimilation strategy

If it seems like the majority of your church’s first-time guests aren’t sticking and staying in your church, don’t panic. You’re not alone. Research indicates that most growing churches have a first-time guest retention rate of about 20% – meaning that 1 out of 5 guests actively engage and contribute to the church’s ministry. If this figure seems low, consider the significant number of individuals it represents. Let’s assume 3 new people connect with your church on a weekly basis. If your church retains 20% of first-time visitors, you’d see an annual growth of 31 people.

Unfortunately, the reality is that most churches fail to retain even 15% of first-time guests, which consequently impedes their growth and reproduction. This begs the question: Why does that happen? You might be quick to attribute this to a long-winded preacher, an unsafe children’s ministry environment, or a out-of-tune worship band; but the root cause likely lies in the absence of a clear next steps process or an assimilation strategy.

Every church will benefit from developing a next steps pathway that helps newcomers connect with and contribute to the church’s vision and mission. As you develop a next steps pathway for your church, keep in mind some fundamental principles that apply to an effective next steps process. Find out what those principles are by reading Church Fuel’s insightful article Five Keys to Achieving Effective Follow-Up.

Assimilation Podcast    

assimilation strategy podcast

As your own experience probably attests, most churches could improve their efforts in helping first-time guest find a lasting place to belong within their community. Without a clear strategy, it can be challenging to follow up with every guest in an appropriate manner.

Fortunately, REACHRIGHT, a ministry that helps churches connect with more people in their community, recently recorded a podcast titled 6 Assimilation Strategies for 2023 that breaks down the main components you need to develop and implement in an effective church assimilation strategy. Gain valuable insights and practical tips on creating a welcoming environment and fostering lasting connections within your church community. Then check out their episode on developing an effective follow up strategy and start helping more people find a home at your church.

Assimilation Strategy Template  

assimilation strategy template

The goal of church assimilation is not getting people to visit again, or even to attend worship gatherings on a regular basis. The goal is to get people plugged into your church’s discipleship pathway because Jesus didn’t call us to make church attenders. He called us to make disciples. As church leaders we need to give every person who visits our churches clear next steps to help them cultivate meaningful relationships and contribute to the mission of the church.

If your church struggles to move people from being casual observers to passionate contributors, it’s time to revisit your church’s Assimilation Strategy.  That might sound complicated, but with the help of our free template, it won’t be.

Our template will help you clarify what process, programs, and systems you’ll need to develop to help new people engage with your church family and its mission. Don’t just dream about it, start developing your strategy today!

Church Planter Boot Camp

church planter boot camp

Ecclesiastes 10:11 tells us, “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength; however, the advantage of wisdom is that it brings success.” Don’t plant a church without first sharpening your ax and preparing yourself for the work ahead. Gain wisdom from seasoned church planters and be equipped with tools that will help you plant a healthy, multiplying church at our next Church Planter Boot Camp.

Our new-and-improved boot camp combines online self-paced study, in-person instruction, and monthly follow up training sessions on Zoom. Our next boot camp is just around the corner, happening November 2nd-4th outside of Washington, D.C.

Sign up now and save $100 with discount code: NEWSLETTER

Our group discounts also make bringing your team affordable!

Photos by Jamie Street, Kristina Peparo, and Juja Han from Unsplash.