I've been doing research on stewardship for a long time and one of the great resources that I've come across is the Gallup ME25, which supports one of my assumptions - that an engaged congregant is much more likely to invite a person to visit church. The keys to engagement are: involvement in decision making, connecting socially, and engagement as a volunteer. Watch my video below to hear more about that.
Albert Winseman wrote a book, Growing an Engaged Church: How to Stop "Doing Church" and Start Being the Church Again which is about the Gallup ME25 used as a church growth tool. The ME 25 reveals the big questions members are asking about their church:
- Am I valued as a member?
- What is the value of membership?
- Do I connect emotionally with my church community?
These are the keys to engagement. The ME25 results are noteworthy, showing the dramatic implications for connecting members more than just for Sunday worship. The data shows that engaged church members are:
- more than 10 times as likely to invite someone to participate in their congregation
- nearly three times as likely to say they are extremely satisfied with their lives
- likely to spend more than 2 hours per week serving and helping others in their communities
- likely to give 3 times more to their faith communities annually
Modern evangelism requires that we rely on research-based practices to meet people where they are looking for community. The word "marketing" is increasingly thrown around as a strategy to stay top-of-mind for members who are shopping for a new church or are on the way out the door if we don't engage them. Your website presents a glimpse of your community life. The "About Us" page is the second most visited page, and we know that most church shopping is now done via a website search.
Demonstrate that you are a lively and welcoming place through brief videos of your members talking about their faith experiences. According to Barna Research, the church shopper is looking for congregants who are similar to them in their life circumstances and driving values. Short videos of your members is the best way to show this. Technology has now made this almost free, and amateurs can shoot and post the videos. Here is a video guide that you can share with volunteers instructing them how to get this faith sharing started:
- How has God blessed you?
- How do God's blessings flow through you?
- How did your life change when you discovered your blessings were given to "flow through" you?
When you do your capital campaign, I recommend asking your members if they would allow 10% of their donation to go towards church growth. Other churches I have worked with usually support this, and this usually means hiring a contract person to manage a constant stream of social media, and to oversee welcoming visitors and connecting them to others. The investment will be returned many-fold in financial returns and as a thriving space of connection for disciples of Jesus on the difficult journey together.
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