Christine Birch has been part of three large churches in both Canada and the US.
How do you connect people in a large church, and how do you connect them at your church? Christine shares her experiences on both sides of the border as they apply to large and small churches alike.
Welcome to Episode 232 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
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The Canadian Church Leaders Conference mentioned in this episode occurred June 2018. Registration for future events is not available at this time.
3 Insights from Christine
1. Posture your church so that guests feels expected and accepted
People assume that community will just happen organically, but no matter the size of your church it takes intentionality and hustle. Size doesn’t have anything to do with how warm or cold a church can feel to a new attender and church staff must develop a welcoming posture to ensure a guest feels expected and accepted.
2. Make your follow up with new guests quick, personal and generous
Connexus Church has a great system for following up with guests. It isn’t time consuming and offers personal notes with generous gestures to make people feel welcomed into community. Here’s an overview your church can use and modify to fit your needs.
First Sunday: Connections Card & Small Gift (example: coffee mug)
Week One: Handwritten Post Card from a volunteer, BombBomb Email from Campus Pastor, Personal Phone Call from a staff member
Week Two (Attender): Hand written, stamped and addressed Note with Gift Card
Week Two (Absent): If a family doesn’t return, mail a hand stamped and addressed Letter with incentive to return (example: coupon for a free book)
If attenders opt in to receive emails, send regular invitations to attend a new members style class and any current events happening on campus.
3. Honouring the personal space and privacy of attendees shows them respect and protects your church, too
Never force attendees to identify themselves. Instead, respect personal space by allowing them to remain anonymous until they feel comfortable being known. In the mean time, make sure that those next steps are clear and easily available so people can engage your church when they are ready.
If people have volunteered email addresses to receive information about your church you have the responsibility to continue communicating to them until they opt out, but take the time to learn about anti-spam regulations to protect your church from legal battles.
Quotes from Episode 232No matter what your church size is, we have to make sure that we're posturing ourselves so that a new guest feels expected and then accepted once they have identified themselves. Christine Birch Click To Tweet Doing a better job on follow up can be the difference between you being a growing church and a flat church. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet The average church sees 1 in 10 of their first time guests return, I'm not content with that. If they are opting in to be communicated with, I'm going to keep pointing them away from anonymity towards community. Christine Birch Click To Tweet The average first time guest or newer guest doesn't realize how good the experience of community can be and they're going to push against it. Christine Birch Click To Tweet If you can find someone to count the offering, you can find somebody to have coffee with new people. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
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Over the years, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a public speaker is having opportunities to hang out with Carey…It’s not a matter of if you’ll run into these challenges; it’s a matter of when. Be prepared by spending a little time with a leader who has already been there.” Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author
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Next Episode: Daniel Pink
There’s a science to maximum performance and productivity. Daniel Pink talks about the research that shows how morning people (larks), night owls and everyone in between (third birds) can find the perfect timing to do their best work. Dan also gives a number of helpful hacks on how to take the perfect breaks, the ideal nap and even how to take a caffeine fueled nap (a nappucino) to boost your productivity.
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