How To Double Your Service Attendance
Hey guys, now that I have your attention- I want to talk about something that is concerning me.
I have been away from ministry for a bit, just over a year. While I was in ministry, I was actually pretty good at building sets, programming lights, and getting loops set.
I was also pretty good at building relationships, but whenever I talked about what I did as a worship pastor, that part never seemed to come up.
A year past leaving full time ministry- and I recently stepped into a passion for consulting and helping churches find their sweet spot. I have now sat on both sides of the pew- and found that the American Church can be- and should be- thriving. . Yet in so many cities in so many states around this so called “Christian” country- we are celebrating the fact that we are half full instead of half empty.
I want to talk about demographics. About millennials. Gen Xers. Baby Boomers. And even The Greatest Generation. I see at least 10 new articles every week come through my Facebook feed about “how to reach the millennials” and “how to understand the millennials”- I don’t read them. I will give you the answer- you reach them the same way The Greatest Generation was reached when they were looking for churches- relationships and community. That’s it.
Our grandparents- and their grandparents- went the their local church that was nearby, or that their family went to. They built relationships with the people around them, and built methods for how they did it. And it worked! Sunday School, which was invented in the 1700s, was a huge success for its time. In a poll taken in the 1800s, 80% of new members were introduced by Sunday School. (source) Yes- now we call it Community Groups, or Small Groups, or some edgy name to distance ourselves from having to call it “Sunday School”- but the premise is the same.
The church will not be built on the backs of those running the service. It will be built on the backs of those running the small groups. On the backs of those nurturing their relationships. No one wants to go to a church where they know nobody!
The church is built on the backs of those running small groups & nurturing relationships. @jhwilliams Click To Tweet
I have heard churches, both modern, and- well- not so modern, that have said “we just need to upgrade some things and we will start to attract the young folks around us.” Sure, new technology is great. But new technology with misguided views is wrong.
Authenticity is a word that gets thrown around a lot. I have used it in articles I’ve written- possibly even for this site. I still love it- but I think it gets watered down some. For whatever reason- we tend to tie authenticity to a group of younger people having a not-so-technological service. Authenticity isn’t a style of worship- its simply the way Jesus said to live. How we act on our authenticity is up to the people God calls us to reach, which may be the ultra-modern, or it may be the “lets sing the 1st, 3rd, and 4th verse of Just As I Am” type. It may be the millennials, or- it may be the 45 and up crowd. And that’s okay.
I have seen life change happen in both. And both of those life changes mattered to God. The life that was changed at the Passion Conference is just as authentic as the life that was changed listening to a southern preacher in a tiny chapel on a hill.
I say all of this to get to what I guess is my main point. Be you. Love the people around you. Build relationships. Your church will grow. Maybe not in numbers- but in its authenticity. And authenticity is attractive.
Be you. Love the people around you. Build relationships. Your church will grow. @jhwilliams Click To Tweet
If you want to change the neighborhood around you- the get in the neighborhood around you. Invite them over for dinner. Not into the fellowship hall for a 5th Sunday pot luck (which are still delicious, mind you! And potentially sacred!), but invite them into your home for a meal. Learn their kids names. Find out what they wanted to be when they grew up. Tell that story that makes your wife roll her eyes, smile, and say “he loves to tell this story.”
Love. Your. Community.
If you want to double the attendance in your service- stop caring about the attendance in your service.
The strength of the team comes often time from the relationships built outside of serving together. @jhwilliams Click To Tweet
Josh is a native of Greenville, SC, where he lives with his wife, Dorothy, and daughter, Juliette. With just about 10 years of some sort of creative ministry experience, he serves at Fellowship Greenville as the Next Gen Tech Director. Starting in music, he began to become interested in the technical side of making worship services happen. While serving at Lowcountry Community Church in Bluffton, SC- he began to learn and experiment with stage design and lighting. Since then, he has created many stage designs and consulted to help churches think creatively despite their size or budget. Josh’s goal in his ministry is to point people to Jesus, and believes that all the pieces of a service, from booth to stage and everywhere in between, need to work together to point to a singular goal of Christ.