In the last post, I discussed some common challenges with assimilating new members and guest in your church. Today I want be share about the importance of having a new members class to better assimilate folks to your church. The purpose of a new members class is two fold, It communicates information and expectations. We will look at both of those aspects today in this post.
Good Information: One thing that is key is providing good information when you host a new members class. I have found over the years that greater familiarity and knowledge of the church has an impact of keeping people connected. On the same note, New members classes should also inform and raise the expectations. We need to communicate clearly that if you are wanting to be a part of this church there are some expectations that will move that member to greater involvement and contribution.
As you share information, be careful not to overwhelm the member with too much information. Sometimes helping them to find the additional details is helpful, because it causes the member to ask questions and discover the answer. When you consider what to include in a new members class, consider these topics.
What is our vision? (Tell them your vision story)
What do we believe? (Be upfront on your view points and what the church believes, these should be nonnegotiable about your church's beliefs. It is better to let them know your views upfront and for you to know their viewpoints to avoid issues down the road)
Who is our staff? If you have a staff introduce them either in person or by picture and explain the roles that they have.
What do I do as a member? Help the member see the pathways in your church that you desire to see them get involved with.
What do we emphasize? (Are their special focuses that you value?)
How do we get more information? Have a centralized place that additional details can be found, usually this is your church's website.
The more members feel like they KNOW the more they will stick to your church.
The Second aspect to a New Members class is to Raise the Expectations. Expectations tend to be the ways members move toward greater involvement and contribution. Here are a few that I try to include when leading a new members class.
Faithful worship attendance (As much as you can, consider what you understand what faithful is.
Get in a group! Whether you call it Sunday School, life group, small group, get in the habit of being accountable with others who can help you grow as a believer.
Ministry involvement (They are not to be observers only, the pastor's role is to equip the members for the work of the ministry) Showcase ministry options for the member to begin working with.
Faithful giving. (Giving reflects your heart, that is one area that you can contribute in as a member.) Note share specificity of how to give (online, text, in the plate...)
I have found over the years that when members understand their responsibility and have a clear understanding of the process and practicality of being a member, they are usually more connected than someone who has not gone through a new member process.