In this section, we would like to shed light on Leakage 5 (Lost Members). This leakage happens when a church loses members who have been members for a substantial period of time. This usually happens when members are not properly engaged. Leaders of growing churches understand the importance of building an engaged church. We would like to explore this important subject and present tool we have to ensure that your church does not lose members needlessly because of poor engagement.
We would like to start by considering the chart below which has results of a survey conducted on people who have left a church by ended their regular participation.
After you have go through the material below, we would like you to give an assignment of identify which of the 10 reasons are a result of poor engagement within churches. We have an article in the Learn section to discuss our opinion of the assignment.
Engagement has a lot to do with participation and involvement. In our churches we have members that are active and members that are inactive, we have members that participate in what is happening and contribute towards the activities and we have those that are not. The difference between the two different members is ENGAGEMENT. Membership Engagement is a process of ensuring that the environment in our churches automatically incorporates the Integrated Members not to just sit in the pews or sidelines but to be actively involved in the activities, programs and works in church.
A churchgoer becomes engaged when they move from spectator mode and begin playing a part in the mission. So in essence this talks of how we assess the members involvement in worship attendance, small group participation and even their giving. Already this indicates that attendance alone does not equal engagement, but engagement almost always involves the members’ attendance. Showing up at church does not mean you are engaged in the mission hence, attendance doesn’t particularly have high value. Instead of measuring who shows up at church (attendance patterns), it is better to measure engagement patterns because it focuses on how they show up and what they do when they attend.
Real church engagement happens when people are involved in the core work of the church. It is about the church creating an environment of engagement, calling the new members, equipping them and charging all the members old and new to do the work of the ministry.
Components of Engagement:
– Worship attendance (particularly how often people attend)
-Small group (or Sunday School) attendance
-Mission and Ministry involvement
-Technology usage (your website, mobile app, etc.)
Why is Member Engagement important?
“The more engaged members there are in your church, the healthier it is. A spiritually healthy church is the good soil that produces fruit in abundance and engagement is the key.”
When Jesus called the Apostles to spread the gospel, every person had a role to play. However, most of the work in churches nowadays comes from just a few people. This is 80% of the church’s work comes from 20% of the congregation. It is therefore important to fully engage every member of the congregation as the future of your church depends on your ability to engage people in it and absorb members into the mission they chose to believe in.
Focusing on member engagement not only helps the church growth but also benefits the congregation spiritually. Members are nurtured into spiritual maturity through engagement. Here are the reasons why member engagement is important:
1) It increases the church attendance of church members and ensures that attendance becomes constant. Instead of attending church they become the church as they are engaged. Attendance is an established path to engagement, it grows out of engagement.
2) The church grows out of engagement. A church that drives engagement instead of attendance has a continuous growth. The number of people that will be attending church will not drop as they know that the church needs them. If you want your church to grow, don’t just attract people, engage them also.
3) It keeps members connected to the church. It plugs the lost members leakage in Funnel approach to church growth thus enabling the church to grow.
To understand the new member engagement, we came up with a concept called the member engagement triangle explained below.
Spiritual growth is at the apex of the triangle as it is the most important aspect for the growth of your church. Engagement means that the church is supporting growth needs of the congregation. Church should have programs that help people grow in Christ. There should be serving opportunities, challenge people to serve; people who serve in the mission are people who are engaged in the mission. Programs like membership classes, cell groups, prayer meetings etc. should be encouraged. It is also worth indicating that a church that grows spiritually requires a teaching function to be established so that people can have systematic learning programs prepared for them to learn and grow.
Daily Living Support
Support is in different form and come from different angles. The church is expected to support, in non-spiritual everyday life matters, as an organisation or through its members. Support church members when they go through a personal tragedy or traumatic event to keep them engaged in the work of the ministry.
Fellowship and relationship building are important for the growth of the church. As a church we have to structure an environment, have programs and activities that help people develop relationships. Relationships hold the church together and foster growth among the members. Healthy members have certain characteristics that reveal the importance of relationships:
1) They have someone who is like a direct coach in spiritual growth apart from the Pastor.
2) They have someone who encourages them in their ministry growth apart from the Pastor.
3) They have someone that they can call a friend apart from their family.
All of the above show the importance of relationships in spiritual growth and active motivation in serving in ministry.
Relationships allow the church grow and still maintain strong relationships through small groups, cell groups, choir, etc. These strong relationships are the ones that determine support among the brethren. If the church does not have strong relationships then those in need will not have much support because your relationship with the others determines whether they support you during struggles or the level of support they offer you during that time.
There should be a group that is right for everyone.