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Less Teflon, More Velcro

Church consultant Lyle Schaller estimates that in many medium and large congregations, a third of new and active church attenders drop out within two years of becoming involved. These aren't people who move away; they just stop coming.

To make sure newcomers stick:

  1. Assign responsibility to leaders
    Trinity Presbyterian Church in Anchorage, Alaska, assigns a deacon to a person or family who attends worship for several Sundays.
    At Berean Baptist in Burnsville, Minnesota, the persons responsible are called "enfoldment coordinators." They link visitors with a "first friend," who visits the new persons at their home. The "first friend" learns the visitors' interests and refers their names to the appropriate ministry area.
  2. Close the loop
    Moorpark Presbyterian Church in California, the church I serve, uses an "Integration Czar." When a person expresses interest in a program or ministry, the czar assigns a specific leader to extend an invitation to the newcomer. The czar then follows up with the leader, asking about the newcomer's response. This ensures all invitations get made.
January/February
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