4 Areas That Drive Effective Church Assimilation

Every area of ministry in your church is enhanced when you focus on developing an effective assimilation process. Discipleship thrives because there’s a process in place to move people into a deeper relationship with Christ. Community flourishes because people feel connected. Overall church health improves because there’s a plan in place to help people continually grow.

While each church’s assimilation process is unique, there are certainly elements included in every process. Here are the four primary parts or processes that need inspection if you want to build an effective assimilation process in your church:

1. Hospitality

There are two elements to successful hospitality—passive hospitality and active hospitality. Passive hospitality includes directional signs and maps that make navigating the campus easier. Active hospitality involves real people who watch for ways to assist anyone entering the facility.

Are your volunteers trained and equipped to provide the kind of active hospitality needed to make first-time guests feel welcome?

2. Information Gathering

It is overwhelming when churches provide too many ways for the first-time visitor to connect. Don’t provide a catalog of options. Make it very simple and clear. Provide one or two primary options for taking the next step. As people move deeper, you can record more valuable information to increase the level of commitment.

Do you have a simple process for intentionally gathering information that helps you connect with every single person who walks through your doors on Sunday?

3. Follow Up

This doesn’t require a lot of creativity — simply follow up with your visitors and say hello. While this may seem too easy, it is important to evaluate your process regularly! Effective follow-up should help your members and visitors experience one-on-one ministry.

Is your follow-up process leading to more relational connections with the people in your church or are you letting people slip through the cracks?

4. Connection

This step is the end of assimilation and the beginning of discipleship. There should be a smooth handoff to someone who can guide people to go deeper in their relationship with God and their connection to the church. If you aren’t assimilating people, you will be increasing the number of spectators rather than growing strength in the Body of Christ through active disciples.

How are you moving people from visiting your church to becoming active members?

The difference between a church that has successful assimilation and one that doesn’t is how well these parts are working individually and collectively. If any of these four areas in your church’s assimilation process need a “tune up,” check out “The Assimilation Engine.” Effective assimilation can multiply your ministry efforts and maximize your Kingdom impact.

Is your church’s assimilation engine running well? What area needs the most improvement?

Read more from Steve here.

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Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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