BIG Days, Baby Steps

There’s a BIG attendance day coming at your church.  Have you thought about how you plan to move newcomers from the big service into the life of your church and ultimately into a spiritual journey?   IC Founder Bart Rendel challenges your team to analyze the steps your church currently has in place to engage others. And then, make them even smaller.

On BIG days, think baby steps.

BIG Days, Baby Steps from Bart Rendel on Vimeo.

BIG Days, Baby Steps to Engagement  

There are three or four BIG days in the church each year. Days when the crowd shows up, days when your regular attenders are more likely to invite their unchurched friends & family, and the invited are more likely to show up.  Easter and Christmas bring the largest crowds. Another big day typically falls just after the beginning of the year in January and a fourth around the start of the school year. No matter what time of year it is, one of those BIG days is always approaching.  

Do you have a plan to engage the newcomer?

Droves of first-timers will attend church this Easter Sunday making it the first or second highest-attended weekend of the year in your church.  You and your team have the power to increase the likelihood that the newcomer walking through your door will engage with your ministry and return.  

At Intentional Churches, we refer to this plan as the Engagement Pathway.  In our work with hundreds of churches, we have found that the Engagement Pathway is one of the most overlooked strategies to grow a church, and more importantly, to grow disciples of Christ.

Certainly every weekend should provide onramps for newcomers, opportunities to return, an invitation to what’s next. Is there a new series launching? Series are a great opportunity to invite newcomers. Is there a big event on the calendar? Events engage the community. Is there a familiar system in place to invite others? Many churches regularly provide invite cards, send texts, or promote events including sermon series on social media.

With Easter coming, now is the time to sit down with your team and take a critical look at your steps through a newcomer’s eyes.  How easy are our next steps? Do we offer a clear pathway that invites people into a spiritual journey with Christ?  How do we create baby steps that engage newcomers in our church?

Through our time spent with church teams, we have discovered, with the best intentions, many churches make their steps too big for a newcomer.  A regular example of this is offering small groups signup as a simple first step. Imagine you’re an unchurched person or newcomer attending an Easter service. The church seems to be very excited about their new message series and the pastor challenges everyone to join a small group. You’re given a list of small group options, the host location, the phone number of the leader and invited to make the call.  Is that a simple step most newcomers will take? No.

To call a stranger and show up at their home is a GIANT leap for most people.

In past years, churches offered programs galore to engage others. But when we meet with a church team to install an Intentional GrowthPlan, instead of programs, we encourage the team to think in steps. And very specifically, BABY STEPS.

Through IC’s process of self-discovery, the team mines out the truth about the effectiveness of their current programs and steps. We often discover that the steps currently in place are really too big for most newcomers, or worse, completely ineffective. Sometimes there is a funeral held right then and there for programs that are no longer fulfilling the church’s mission.

As we help a church team focus on baby steps to engagement, the team becomes increasingly aligned as they’re encouraged to think more like a newcomer.  Through this process, the conviction to reach others for Christ is kindled, the vision is clear and focused, and the commitment to create a simple Engagement Pathway is stronger than ever.

For your church, a baby step may be a connection card. Or maybe it’s a clearly marked area where a newcomer can have their questions answered and connect with the pastor or someone on the team.  IC Coach Dave Eshaug encourages church teams to draw a straight line from the auditorium or sanctuary to the exit, and then place an inviting easy-to-see space to engage newcomers somewhere along that line.

Take the time this week to talk with your team about the steps you have in place to engage the newcomer.  Then take your current steps and make them even smaller.

Your church is unique.  And your baby steps should be unique too.

At Intentional Churches, we work with your team in your context to install an Intentional GrowthPlanning system with baby steps designed to engage others and unleash your church’s Gospel potential. It’s working in hundreds of churches! And the best part, you can learn and use the system over and over to help you identify what’s important now, make timely decisions and prioritize your resources.

Fulfilling the Great Commission requires an intentional commitment to reach others. With an IGP system, you will create an Engagement Pathway with clear baby steps that engage others with your church and result in more and better disciples.

Be intentional about engaging others and double your Kingdom impact.

Bart Rendel

About Bart Rendel

Bart was an executive leader at Crossroads Christian Church in Lexington, KY and Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV for over eighteen years. Bart’s passion for serving churches comes from his upbringing as a pastor’s kids where he learned about the intentionality of reaching and growing people in Christ from his mother and father. His conviction runs deep. Bart and his family remain connected to Central Christian. He is married to Catherine with two children and finds the occasional time to play a round of golf or take in a Kentucky Wildcats game. He has been helping churches and leaders around the country increase their Kingdom Impact since 2004.

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