2. Small groups.
Second, churches that close the back door seek to get as many of their members as possible into small groups.
In some churches, these groups meet in homes. In other churches, the small group is a Sunday school class that meets at the church.
The key issue, according to our research, is that the small group is an open group, meaning it has no predetermined termination date, and anyone can enter the group at any point.
3. Ministry involvement.
The third key component is ministry involvement.
The earlier a new member or attendee can get involved in a church’s ministries, the higher the likelihood of effective assimilation.
Churches that close the back door have a clear plan to get people involved and doing ministry as quickly as possible.
4. Relationship connections.
Finally, the more new members connect with longer-term members, the greater the opportunity for assimilation.
In an interesting twist in our research, we found that most of these relationships developed before the new member ever came to the church. In other words, members were intentionally developing relationships with people outside the walls of the church. They invited them to church after the relationship had been established.
If your church has a big “back door” problem, we suggest that you tackle these issues one at a time.
Don’t try to implement all four simultaneously; each one takes work and time. Though improving any one of these factors can significantly enhance assimilation, the most effective starting point typically is dynamic, open small groups, whether they’re home groups or the more traditional on-campus Sunday school classes.
You’ll then be that much closer to watching the back door close tight.
What if we removed every obstacle for people turning to God?
The Bible Miniseries for Churches »