Some people feel like they can make positive changes at any time. They can start exercising whenever they want. They can commit to reading their Bible right now. Or they can make a snap decision to break unhealthy habits.
But for many others, the new year is a natural reset button. It’s the beginning of a new cycle and a chance to decide what the rest of the year is going to look like.
The momentum surrounding the new year gives your church an incredible opportunity to engage your congregation. You can support the goals they already have, promote healthy spiritual habits, and create stronger connections with the people who step through your doors.
Here are four ways to increase engagement in the new year.
1. Suggest spiritually healthy New Year’s resolutions
Not everyone creates New Year’s resolutions, but a lot of people find them useful. Since your church facilitates numerous opportunities for spiritual growth and transformation, why not suggest some of them as New Year’s resolutions?
Maybe people have been putting off joining a small group. Or they’ve known for a while that the next step for them was to start volunteering. Or to tithe regularly. Through your church app, announcements, and other communication channels, you could nudge people to make commitments they’ve been on the fence about or help them see how these opportunities align with their desire for self-improvement.
Find the overlap between your congregation’s personal aspirations (spiritual growth, faithfulness, etc.) and their journeys as members of your church.
2. Start a Bible reading plan as a church
It’s safe to assume that wherever they are on their spiritual journey, most Christians wish they read the Bible more. It’s a common New Year’s resolution, but it’s also notoriously difficult to decide where to start and to be consistent over the course of the year. While there are plenty of Bible reading plans out there that people can find on their own (including countless ways to read the Bible in a year), it’s a lot easier to create healthy habits when others are doing it with you.
By committing to a Bible reading plan as a church, you can support those who are striving to read their Bibles—whether they’re opening a Bible for the first time or they’ve been doing it for years. And when you know everyone is reading (or planning to read) the same passages, it creates simple opportunities for conversation.
It dramatically increases the likelihood that when someone asks, “What have you been reading lately?” it can lead to a valuable discussion about Scripture. Your small group curriculum could also explore the passages. You could have someone write devotionals based on these passages to keep them top of mind throughout the year.
Keep in mind: most people probably can’t commit to reading the entire Bible in a year. But you could develop a plan (or choose one) that would take your congregation through the New Testament at a reasonable pace or focus on the books of the Bible that are most relevant to what your church has planned for the year.
3. Promote giving pledges
As they enter the new year, your congregation is thinking a lot about what they want their lives to be like in a year. They may have a specific number of pounds they want to lose or a dollar amount they want to save. Throughout the year they’ll focus on those goals when they work out or say no to unnecessary spending. The end goal helps them create and reinforce new healthy habits.
In the Pushpay app, pledges work the same way for church members who want to prioritize generosity. People can decide how much they would like to give by the end of the year, and then every giving statement will show progress toward that goal. They aren’t bound to their pledge, but every time they see it, it will remind them of their desire to make faithful giving a regular practice.
4. Commit to creating regular church content
Every time you publish a blog post, video, podcast episode, or social media post, it’s another opportunity to communicate with your congregation and keep your church at the forefront of their attention. You can use content to draw people into your church app or website, lead them toward their next best step, or simply help them grow in their relationship with Christ.
This isn’t about “marketing” your church. It’s about creating more opportunities for people to grow and learn and get value out of their relationship with your church. You likely already have a lot going on throughout the week. But if you don’t communicate with your congregation often and through multiple channels, a lot of them are going to miss out on what you have to offer, and they won’t feel as connected to your church.
Engage your congregation
Right now is the perfect time to experiment with new ways to engage your congregation. As they’re thinking about ways they want to grow and change their lives, you can think of ways you can support them on their journey.