Monday, November 19, 2012

Adult Ministry Principle 5: Be Intentional with New Members

We must be as intentional with new members as we are with guests.

Most churches would say that their "hub"(See Adult Ministry Principle 2)- Sunday School or small group - is vital to helping people stay connected to the church. Yet, we seem to back off of being intentional about expecting every new or existing church member to be a part of the "hub".

A system for connecting new adult church members to the "hub" should include: 
  • Automatic enrollment in a designated small group or Sunday School class. Each new member should be notified of their enrollment but provided other options if that group doesn't meet their needs. If you have done a good job of follow-up with guests prior to their decision to join, then they are likely already connected to a group.
  • An intentional follow-up process by the group or class. As with guests (see Adult Ministry Principle 4), the follow-up should have multiple steps that include a personal visit, email, phone call, and other modes of contact.
  • New or pre-member orientation. This should be offered consistently in order to explain the vision, values, theology, and culture of the church along with expectations for new members. Include information about the designated group in which they are enrolled. 
  • Plans should be developed that provide opportunities for growth and service beyond the "hub". Here are some resources that might help you plan: Membership Matters; Fusion: Turning First Time Guests into Fully Engaged Members of Your Church; Finding Them, Keeping Them; Beginning Steps for New Believers; Survival Kit for New Christians
The most effective time to connect church members to your church is when they first make a commitment to church membership. If you miss the opportunity, they will most likely walk right out the back door and never be seen again after about six months. Be intentional!