As the Connections Pastor, I get to meet new guests every Sunday. When chatting with guests and asking them what brought them to our church, I've been surprised by how often I've heard the following experience:
Talking further reveals that they came to our church just hoping to feel seen. No matter how often I hear this, I'm always a little shocked. Isn't being seen and noticed in the church at least the bare minimum someone should expect?
Please understand, I have nothing against big churches. I've worshiped and served at churches of all sizes and I appreciate how every one of these churches has been used by God. Any church of any size can be used to advance the Kingdom and make Christ known to all.
Also, it's worth noting that big churches aren't the only ones prone to this. Yes, even small churches can leave people feeling unnoticed and unloved. If you're in a small church and want to learn more, check out this post.
However, too many people I talk to have this experience when it comes to large churches. I don't have any statistics, but anecdotally I can say that the majority of guests I talk to that are leaving a big church for a small church are leaving for this reason.
Though the reasons are many, here are the TOP 4 problem areas I've personally experienced and have heard from leaders in larger ministries...
If your Welcome team, Connection team, and any other team involved with interacting with and plugging people into your church aren't big enough, they won't be able to manage the flow of guests and members. In this case, there are large gaps in your strategy, allowing people to come and go at your church without an encounter with someone trained to get them more integrated.
Having teams too small for the task is like going fishing with a net that has holes big enough to drive a truck through. You won't catch much fish with that!
Let's face it, lots of big churches have this problem. Some churches are just so big that it's easier for members to be a consumer rather than a contributor.
This issue stems from the fact that big churches generally have such a big pool of volunteers that they can afford for a given member to not be more active. This means that the average member isn't committed to the mission and doesn't take initiative to be more welcoming to a newcomer. Guests can be surrounded by hundreds of other people and still feel isolated and alone.
To be fair, smaller churches can fall into this trap too. Any church of any size can become so focused on growth that boosting the numbers becomes both the means and the end.
But if growth is the #1 priority, it becomes easy to lose sight that each number represents a person made in the image of God. If increasing the numbers is at the center of your attention, it may be time to reassess and turn your organization's gaze back to the original mission.
Bigger churches have bigger resources, meaning they can always innovate. That's a good thing! The danger is when we get so jazzed about every new thing we have/try that we don't slow down and focus on what God has already given us.
Constantly chasing the next big thing leaves some people in the dust.
Take the consumerist mindset to task. Our human nature causes us to always choose the path of least resistance, meaning your members will slip into apathy unless you take great care to push them toward action.
Tracking your numbers is an important way to be a good steward of the people God has sent your way. But growth is only ever a means toward advancing God's Kingdom, not an end itself.
The key is to always keep in mind that each number is more than a statistic, but an individual made in God's image.
The mission is to lead everyone to their Savior. As you grow, innovate, and make plans for the future, keep your feet firmly planted in that mission.
There may be challenges ahead. Changing the culture of a group is never easy. But the people are worth the effort.
God has given you the gifts and resources necessary to make sure no one slips through the cracks at your church. And ChurchTrac is here to help at every step of the way!