Do you have an assimilation strategy in place in your church?
I know the word “assimilation” doesn’t sound very nice. Perhaps it brings memories of that great cube spaceship called the Borg, whose token phrase “you will be assimilated” often aggravated the Enterprise on Startrek. Yes, I am a recovering Startrek junkie.
But the basic concept behind an assimilation process is that of offering your guests biblical hospitality. It’s introducing them to a purposeful process that engages them and encourages them to come back.
Full Disclosure: What i’m going to present is an assimilation process based upon the book Fusion
, by Nelson Searcy. Well, I’m going to present how we’ve implemented it, anyway, and share lessons we’ve learned a long the way.
So does a process like this actually work? Yes. The first year that we implemented this in our church we grew by 171%! I know that sounds like a huge number. But it’s the growth rate from 7 to 19 baptisms. So yes, this really does work.
So I’d like to begin by sharing a graph by Dr. Charles Arn, that I first heard about through Pastor Tim Madding.
This is the percentage of guests that become active in a church within a year. So in a non-growing church, someone that comes for the first time is 9% likely to still be in the church one year later. If they come back a second time, though, the number almost doubles. If they come back a third time, the likelihood triples. In a growing church, the numbers follow the same principle, but it happens in a more consistent fashion. If someone comes once to a growing church, they are 21% likely to still be there a year later. If they come three times, it’s almost completely in the bag.
So what can we learn from that graph?
I think it’s clear that growing churches do something differently to encourage their guests to come back a second time. And if they come back a second time, they do everything they can to get them to come back a third time.
That’s it for now. More in the next days. But I want you to chew on those facts for a few moments. If you don’t have something in place, why not? What are you waiting for? Souls are hanging in the balance, and they’re slipping right through your fingers if you don’t have a dedicated and purposeful assimilation strategy in place.
How many first-time guests do you think you get within a given year? How many of those actually ever come back? Please share.