Bringing People from Guest to Connected to Maturity, Part 2 by Geoffrey and Michael Graff

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Text taken from webinar on May 5, 2024

Geoffrey: Think about people in your church in terms of three levels of “bought in.” There are those who are just attending, those who are serving, and those who are giving, right? We suggest implementing a “Next Steps” class as a helpful way, not just for the church but for people to determine the level of buy-in. Let me tell you when my perspective on this shifted.

I grew up in Faith Family Church. I knew everybody. I knew where to go. I knew what Room 113 was. I knew where they stored the nursery snacks. I knew all the ins and outs. I knew which doors you could slide a credit card in, pop open, and get whatever you needed. But when I moved to Tulsa and Los Angeles, going to church was a completely different experience. I didn’t know who to talk to about getting involved. I didn’t even know where I wanted to be involved! Back at my home church I knew everything, but in these new places I was so confused. That’s when I started to realize helping people take their next step by being unapologetically clear is one of the kindest things you can do for somebody new at church.

At our church, we’ve done it in different ways, but I think we’ve landed with a weekly 30-minute class right after both of our services.  People don’t have to sign up for it. We just ask if they’re interested in taking the next step and tell them where to go to meet us for class. Class lasts four weeks. The first week is just information about the church. It builds trust so that people feel comfortable moving forward with you. The second week is about getting to know them. We help them discover their gifts and where they’d feel purpose in serving. We have to genuinely believe that as Jesus said, it’s more blessed to give than to receive. They will feel more satisfied if they are giving of their time, energy, and talents. The third week is all about develop in their ability to lead. And then the fourth class is finding out what their individual next step will be. Will they be joining one of our teams? Will they be getting involved in a connect group? At that point, there is a huge responsibility on whatever staff oversees that department to make sure the assimilation goes smoothly because it’s one thing to cultivate the desire to get involved, and it’s another to make sure the details, training and administration are taken care of in a way that doesn’t hinder their interest.

For the person taking that next step and plugging into the church, it’s important that they carry the weight and not feel responsible for everything. They don’t need the weight of the church on them, and neither do their leaders. They need to become part of a system, a team, in which each person has a role and responsibilities commensurate with that role.

Michael: That’s really how community and care and maturity happens. The benefit of being connected really is that you get to do life with people. You get to have people who are there caring for you, who are connecting to you. How can we as leaders create that kind of set up or culture? Obviously, we can’t do that by ourselves! We can’t care for every team member one-on-one, but we can implement a captain and leader model of ministry. Now, there is obviously a process to making sure that’s happening, right?  We can’t just set it and forget it. At Faith Family Church, we have our captains – one captain over up to five leaders – and then each leader over up to ten families. Here’s how we empower them and make sure that real community and care is happening: We have three H’s that we use because we all speak, so we like to keep everything

#1. “Heart for the House.” Three to four times a year, we have dinner and honor our captains and leaders. When we’re all in one room, Pastor Jim gets up and shares vision. He pours into them. He encourages them. Then, we as staff huddle with our captains and leaders as well, talking through things and encouraging them.

#2.  “Hero Meetings.” At least monthly, we sit down with our captains. We check in on them. We ask about their leaders, ask about all the people under their leaders, and we make sure that we’re staying in the know

#3. “Huddles.” Every time we get together for church, fifteen minutes before we start serving, we huddle together. Every time we huddle, we share, we show care, and we join in prayer. Often, we study a book together, and our share time is when Pastor Jim gives a brief commentary on what the book meant to him. We always give our leaders the opportunity to share anything they might need help with, and then we pray together. It knits us together in a personal way that leads to a greater level of maturity among our people.

I love talking about this subject. I get passionate at just the thought that someone can walk onto our campus for the first time, be welcomed, be greeted, and that there can be a path for them to go from a guest to a mature Christian who is making a difference for the kingdom. We cannot do that on our own.  They can come and be a part of services and they can grow, but to have a system in place where you can learn about God, you can learn about your gifts, you can have people in your life who care for you, and guess what: one day you can become one of those leaders who’s doing that for other people! Wow! People need that! Many are not getting it at home. They need us to be the church and bring people from guests to maturity.

Geoffrey: I agree. I guess if I had any closing thought, it’d be that I think it’s cool that the church can redefine what family means in a day and age where when people hear the word “family,” they don’t necessarily think positive thoughts. Well, God gave us that name too, so we get to redefine what family means for so many people. That’s one of the most powerful missions we can have today as leaders.

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