If you attend First Assembly of God here in Lafayette, you probably have noticed an increase in attendance over the past several months. For those of you who are interested, here is a quick overview–
our average Sunday morning attendance has seen an adult increase of 244 people on average per Sunday in 2011 over the same period in 2010!
That means that between 100-150 more households are plugging into our church who weren’t here last year! That’s amazing news and amazing growth.
In order not to lose the people who have begun to come or come again, we need to have an intentional plan to involve people in the life of our church and helping them go deeper. What is it we’re hoping happens with people as they attend First Assembly?
We’re hoping they make a progression from the outer edges of our church to the innermost ring. We could maybe think of it in these terms, used in a number of books and articles I’ve read over the years:
- Community–literally the people live in our county and beyond.
- Crowd–this refers to people who gather at our church, maybe infrequently and who are involved in some peripheral way in our church.
- Congregation–these people come to church regularly, but are not heavily involved in making the church work.
- Committed–church attendance, tithing, and occasional volunteering is characteristic of this group.
- CORE–this is the innermost circle of our church who make the church work and are deeply invested in the life of the church in every way. They make it happen. Beyond giving faithfully and generously of their time, treasure and talents, their closest friends and many of the most important moments of their lives are in the church.
The question for us to ask ourselves is how we can move people from the edge of our church (community and crowd) to a more committed and central place of belonging. I think there are just a few keys:
- Involve new people in leadership–invite some of the newest people in the church to launch new ministries or lead them. They are most likely more connected to others on the edge of the church than someone who is deeply involved in our church’s life.
- Create clear paths to volunteering. Making it easier for people to plant themselves more deeply and more quickly into the ministries of the church.
- Shape our culture to openness. The more we as a church are in touch with the idea that we need to help as many people as possible to move toward core-level involvement.