by Rev. James Wong
Most churches have a good front door. Members invite friends to church. Through the years, new people come and join the church but the size of the church remains quite the same. The problem is not so much with the front door but with the back door. The back door is as big as the front door. How do we close the back door? That is, how do we keep people from leaving our church? There is no easy answer to this. However, the followings are the four common keys to assimilation members and help them to remain active in the church.
1. Membership requirement. There is a high expectation on membership. The baptism class or confirmation class is an example of membership requirement. Believers are not just to congregate on Sunday for worship. They are to live out their life of weekly worship, daily devotion, bible reading and prayer, tithing, sharing the love of Christ, attend training seminars and etc.
2. Small group involvement. This may take many forms like the Sunday school class, weekly life group meeting, youth meeting, G412 and etc. It is in the cell group environment that people get connected to each other where meaningful friendships can flourish. The Sunday worship will not provide such environment to build deep relationships because of time and space constrain, unless members intentionally get together for breakfast to connect with each other after the service.
3. Ministry involvement. Those who get involve in serving in ministry usually stay active in church because they feel connected to the church. There is a deep sense of belonging. One way to get yourself active in serving God is to serve in a ministry. It could be just as simple as controlling the computer system on Sunday or helping out in ushering or singing in the music team. Such simple involvement set a fire in your heart for God.
4. Relational connection. Human beings are relational creatures. People don’t return to a church that show them cold shoulders. People are more likely to remain in a church where they have developed meaningful friendships and relationships with others in the church. Research has shown that people may come to the church because of the pastor, but they remain in the church because of the people they know there.
Would you help to close the back door? Simply make an effort to connect with unfamiliar people or guests who visit our church. Every relationship begins with a handshake and a smile. Most people find their way to heaven through friendship. It may begin with a simple cup of coffee together.
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