It’s a well-known fact that the Christmas season brings with it church growth and an upswing in church attendance, particularly among those who aren’t regular church-goers. But a study from Pew Research Center revealed that Google searches for “church” also spike around Christmas. These patterns mean that churches are attracting visitors—very likely those who attend church irregularly or only on holidays—that they have the opportunity to keep ministering to in the new year.
Is your church prepared with a strategy for church growth this year? Read on for ways to keep those Christmas visitors coming back, encourage regular attendance, and impact your community throughout the year.
Church Growth Strategy #1 Follow up with visitors
Collecting contact information from visitors will give you the means to welcome them to the church and invite them back—and an invitation is a powerful thing. A recent study from LifeWay Research about holiday-season church attendance determined that 57 percent of those who don’t attend church regularly would go if someone invited them. You might build on that tendency by encouraging congregation members who asked a friend or neighbor to church over Christmas to offer another invitation once the holiday rush is over.
Fortunately there are also great tools that make it easier for church leaders keep track of and follow up with new visitors. Pushpay offers a Church Management System with features that can help you know, grow, and keep your people. Some of those features include:
- Group Management that helps you connect people to groups and other congregants.
- Process Queues that automate the steps in your connection process, so no one falls through the cracks.
- Metric Dashboards that allow you to view the engagement of every individual.
Strategy #2 Create a welcoming atmosphere
Yet, once invited, visitors aren’t likely to feel inclined to return unless they feel welcomed, noticed, and included. More than receiving a friendly greeting at the door and being handed a bulletin, a welcoming experience for visitors is ideally something that’s been built into the culture of your church.
Do visitors know where to go when they walk in? Is there a welcome center or information desk where they can ask questions? Is it easy to find the nursery or children’s areas? Do staff and church members make an effort to notice and reach out to guests? These kinds of considerations help make your congregation a more inviting place.
Strategy #3 Develop opportunities for fellowship
But it can be hard to feel welcome and comfortable in a large room of strangers. One way to prevent visitors (and even regular attendees) from getting lost in the crowd of a Sunday service is through smaller groups or gatherings, which provide an opportunity for one-on-one interaction and discipleship as congregants grow in their relationships with each other and with Christ.
Church Growth Strategy: Think Small
“Churches tend to focus on their large Sunday morning gatherings, but the seeds of church growth are often nurtured in smaller groups that help relationships go deep.”
Yet Thom Rainer, President of LifeWay Christian Resources and formerly the dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism, suggests in his reflections on declining church attendance that groups may be “one of the most neglected areas of church life.” Groups of all kinds, for all ages and interests—from kids’ groups, to Bible studies for adults, to volunteer or activity groups—enable people to connect more closely on a personal level and more broadly as a community of faith. Those interested in visiting or joining your congregation will be encouraged to know that they’ll have a place where they or their children can belong and get involved.
Apart from creating fellowship opportunities, it’s also critical to make it convenient for your congregants to get connected to these opportunities. Church Community Builder’s ChMS has some great scheduling features that will help your congregants find and join a group, message group members, register for events, check-in to events, and manage their profile.
Kline, quoted earlier, offers a good reminder that sums up some of the people-first, relational approaches to church growth that we’ve collected here:
“It’s healthy to want to touch more people’s lives. An increase in attendance numbers is the most obvious measurement of wide church growth. But don’t discount what is just as significant: growing deep. It’s important to measure church growth in terms of spiritual discipleship—going deeper in relationship with each other and with Christ.”
As your new year begins, be sure to explore the free resource, Start Strong: Must-Have Goals For Your Best Year Yet. Download it today for free for even deeper insights on how your church can cultivate healthy, long-term growth.
Church Growth Strategy #4 Implement New Technology
With larger congregations and less frequent attendance, it’s nearly impossible to know, grow, and keep people with just a handshake from the pastor. Technology has also majorly changed the way our society functions. The church has had to adapt to these changes to reach people where they’re at – whether that be through a mobile app or a virtual church service.
The right technology should help you:
- Grow your ministry without sacrificing personal connection.
- Provide an effortless giving experience that increases generosity.
- Facilitate community and connect your members.
- Schedule and keep track of your volunteers.
- Share service plans, worship songs, and files with teams.
- Connect with your church community any day of the week.
By implementing technology to help you grow, you’ll be able to grow your church in a sustainable way. You won’t need to sacrifice personal connection.
If you’re looking for technology that can help you with all of these things, it can be too overwhelming. You need to focus on your mission, not on keeping up with the latest digital tools. At Pushpay, our goal is to partner with you and empower you as you further the kingdom. We have a total engagement solution that includes all the tools you need to do all the things we listed above successfully.
Our platform, ChurchStaq, includes:
- A complete suite of Digital Giving tools
- Custom-branded Church Apps
- The Donor Development Dashboard
- Church Management Software
- And more!
Ready to discover what a total engagement solution could do for your church? Talk to an expert to learn more!