1. Will I be accepted?
This is biggest and most immediate question of every new person. Answering that question involves all that you do. Having different races, ages and styles of people greeting, in our videos, on the platform etc. sends a message that we welcome diversity.
The best way to answer this question is by establishing small groups where people of similar interests, struggles or backgrounds can find and relate to each other. Everyone needs a niche and small groups play a crucial role in meeting this need. You must show people that you have a place for them.
2. Will I find friends at this church?
People are looking for opportunities to connect in new relationships. People aren’t just looking for a friendly church, they are looking for friends. Encourage your people to greet someone they don’t know each week but also to invite new people over to their house. Again, small groups are a great way to be intentional about this. We divide our small groups into semester, forcing people to break for a few weeks to keep groups from devolving into cliques. If people don’t make 3 meaningful relationship connections in a church within the first year, they usually stop attending.
3. Will I make a difference at this church?
People want to their lives to count. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. When you can show people that they can make a difference with their gifts and talents, they will want to be involved. Not everyone wants to be a singer, usher or small group leader so we try to offer a diversity of positions so there is a place for everyone to serve. We want our church to be a creative place where people may express their talents and abilities in various ways. Of course, feedback and appreciation are key. Simply telling volunteers they are appreciated or showing how their serving builds the church goes a long way in making people feel valued.
4. Will I Feel Safe?
In our society today people often feel unsafe. Anxiety is at an all time high. We must create a culture where people are never belittled, gossiped about or abused. If a new person hears someone being spoken to harshly or gossiping about someone, they tend to believe they will be treated the same way. Make a person feel unsafe and they will run for the door. In addition, if they don’t feel their children are in a safe environment with loving teachers, they will leave quickly.
5. Will there be a lot expected of me?
This is a tricky one. It’s true that in American society today people are afraid of being overwhelmed. Sometimes people don’t join a church because they don’t want to commit to being there every week. However, the other side is also true. People want to be a part of something important and they understand it requires commitment. The answer is simple, cast vision and have reasonable requirements. The key is letting people know that their commitment matters and avoid having outrageous requirements. Gone are the days of requiring members to attend service mid-week, Sunday and Sunday night. Now the multiple services gives people options as to which one they attend.
Expect people to keep their commitments as volunteers and hold them to it but keep the time commitment low. Don’t expect perfection but encourage spiritual growth.
6. Will I benefit from joining this church?
People are inherently self-centered. Ultimately we want to know what’s in it for them. Why should they choose your church over others or sleeping in on Sunday? First, clearly explain the biblical, practical and personal reasons for local church membership in literature, from the pulpit, in small groups, in video announcements, every opportunity you can. Next share testimonies of changed lives, stories of how the church was used by God in an individual’s life. The truth is, we know people can improve their relationships, health, career, finances and more from being mentored in a church. Don’t forget to illustrate that. Of course, don’t forget the greatest benefit, a closer relationship with God.
7. Will I connect to God more at your church?
The greatest benefit of being part of a local church should be strengthening our connection to God. Not everyone feels more connected by listening to a teaching on Sunday. We must have a variety of ways to connect through avenues like music, art, prayer, support groups, baptism, Holy Spirit activity, how to study scripture and yes, practical pulpit teaching. Most importantly, teaching on how to connect to God. Many churches talk about discipleship which means growing in following Christ but never explain how to do that.
Are you helping people answer these 7 questions about your church?