Increasing First-time Guests

How Connexus Church Created a Culture for Inviting New Guests

I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with Jeff Brodie. You may not know Jeff, but you may know the founding and teaching pastor at Jeff’s church—it’s Carey Nieuwhof.

Jeff and I were catching up recently because four or five years ago, I flew to Canada to facilitate a strategic planning retreat with Carey, Jeff and the team at Connexus Church.

During that time together, we discovered that what they at the time thought was a “back door” challenge at the church was actually more of a front door problem.

It was a big moment in the conversation and in the life of this church. Connexus is an outwardly-focused church. They’d been designing weekend services for people to meet Jesus. They talked about inviting all the time. And people were inviting—but not the way they hoped they would.

I was so encouraged in the conversation with Jeff a few weeks ago because the way they responded to that challenge and the results they’ve seen are incredible.

I’ll give you a preview: It all started with a heart change. The whole culture of the church has become focused on tangibly, practically loving people outside the walls. And through that heart change, they’ve seen the fastest growth to-date in their church. In this episode, Jeff and I discussed:

Why Jeff believes jumping straight to strategies for creating more invite opportunities would’ve short-circuited what God wanted to do in the life of the church

The flaw in how many of our churches teach the language of “invest and invite”

Why invite culture starts with staff culture, and what Connexus considers indicators that the staff is leading the right way

The significant change that challenges the assumption guests want to be “anonymous”

How streaming services and online engagement factor into physical attendance