New Castle IN
The single greatest method that works for my wife and I is our day-to-day interaction with every person we have in “our world.”
Two years ago, we built a home in our community. We have had the great honor of having several families over to our home. We connect with them and build trust. Before I even try and get them to church, I focus on getting them to my living room. Since then, we now have several neighbors coming and several baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost. This example is the culture we try to teach at TPLC. It really is remarkable what can happen when we love our neighbor as ourselves. We have one church door, but we have LOTS of front doors. The impact of using our homes for small groups and ministry sites is AMAZING.
The personal connection as well as just simply being REAL is key. This world can smell a fake and phony a mile away. If there has ever been a time for the Christian world to reach out and be approachable it is now.
We have a program called Little Blessings. This program feeds hungry students in our local school system. There are about 1200 students as part of this program each week. This allows us to put the finger on our pulse in the community and to build bridges of ministry with families across our community. We use this ministry to reach out to families weekly, during special holidays, and we look for as many moments as we can to love on them and our community.
We are extremely big on door-knocking, but COVID has changed that dynamic. People are trusting people they know, so we are capitalizing on that and using small friendship groups. They connect by Zoom, Google Meets or social connections. It’s saints reaching visitors and new people who have never been canvassed. We want them to visit the groups.
We have a guest reception after every Sunday morning service. Either I or one of the ministers goes back and we personally meet with the visitors that come to church. We try to build relationships right from the beginning, offering them any kind of ministerial help they may need.
Pearl River LA
The most successful method is the one you do. Evidence shows that if you will do something consistently, you’ll grow.
The first six weeks after a visitor comes are critical. You’ve got to connect with visitors in multiple ways, at least six ways if you can. You win them or lose them in six weeks. If you can connect with them, your percentages of retention go up. We get their email address and cell phone number and we connect with them primarily with these two sources of information.
Bible studies work for us. It’s not the intrinsic knowledge of the Bible you’re giving them; it’s the connections.
People still have fundamental needs, and the fundamental need of fellowship is still there.
We try to be friendly, obviously, but we believe it is the presence of God that is drawing people to be saved and not our own effort. We are co-laborers with Christ.
90% of the people who attend service are believers. The reality is that church is not designed for the unbeliever. What we do week in and week out is for the Body of Christ, so we are inviting visitors to come into our family meeting to worship this Jesus they may or may not know. A lot of the things they see or feel experience are first time things for them. I have come to the realization that our hope for them to return is that God has already been working on them.
There are so many things we do and believe that they don’t understand like why all the ladies wear skirts and why we speak in tongues. We are to try to do things that edify the body and not hamper the supernatural, but not to mystify it and complicate people’s experiences by them walking out with a question mark when we step into the supernatural.
Our hope is that if we are prayed up, full of faith and the love and joy of Christ, they will say “I don’t have answers for all of these things, however I feel God. I feel something.” When we come to church and live hungry for God, to me, that is the best way to get people to want to come back.
The most effective outreach for us has been through the Internet. We’re in the middle of Microsoft and Amazon world, so most of the people in our community live their life on the internet. We use tools to meet them where they are, and then try to nurture them to visit us through email, and such.
When guests do come, we try to follow up through email, texting, social media, and even snail mail. We just try to build as many relationships as possible.
The most effective tool we have found is friends inviting each other to church.
If someone comes and gets baptized and receives the Holy Ghost and they are not connected to anyone, we try to get them connected to someone in the church with similar interest so they will be able to start a relationship.
One of our most successful ministries is our campus ministry. Because many students are cash-poor, we feed them on a Sunday after church. Even when they are not in town, our campus minister has Zoom meetings with them. We have had them baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost.