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:
- 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.
- 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.