It is often thought that the key to growing a church is to make a good first impression on new visitors. Sure, new visitors may come and are thoroughly impressed with a church’s impactful service, engaging children’s department, and warm and welcoming greeters, yet, it won’t necessarily make those visitors return and become fully engaged church members.
So what is it that will make visitors come back? What do new visitors need to not only see but also experience to move them, not necessarily impress them?
Community is, ultimately, how people connect and creates a sense of belonging within the church. Once a visitor comes to a church and not only sees the sense of community but also experiences it, they feel like they belong; like they are in the right place and at the right time, despite their flaws and shortcomings. When someone can enter a church and feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves, that’s a feeling that you never want to let go of, and the feeling can be so strong that in order to never let go of that feeling, you want to join the very place that gave you that feeling in the first place.
Take a look at some impactful ways to build community in your church.
Build and Grow Small Groups
In order to build a community, that sometimes means you have to start small, and that’s okay. Small groups can start out meeting at group members' homes but can also meet in the church during certain times or days. The key function of small, community-building groups is to devote time to prayer, devotion, and fellowship with each meeting. Engaging in prayer, Bible study, and serving are the very actions that nurture intimacy and spiritual growth with one another as a group.
Train Small Group Leaders to Embrace Supportive Pastoral Ministries
Small groups typically consist of 10 to 12 members, and the leaders of these groups should be trained to meet the basic spiritual needs of group members. Training to group leaders should provide guidance on how they can help members through prayer, spiritual support, and guidance. For example, if a group member lost a family member, the group leader could provide prayer and organize a form of support for that member, whether financially or with assistance with arrangements. In this example, the group leader is meeting a group member’s needs while also building community to the effect that leaders should always be disciplined and raise up new leaders. As an organization, we really lean into not doing church/ministry leadership alone and that you should be investing in others to lead alongside you
When building community in the church, you’re, essentially, building relationships in the process, and that’s something that doesn’t happen overnight. When growing spiritually, members likely won’t all progress at the same pace. As a group leader, you have to be mindful of that and practice patience with it as well. It’s a labor of love, and love is everything God is.
Teach the Importance of Caring on a Regular Basis
Caring is more than the mere act of being nice or friendly to someone. Caring is intentional. Reaching out to someone intentionally in a meaningful way shows you’re doing something you didn’t necessarily have to do but you do it anyway, not only because you want to but because you care. Going that extra mile for your brother or sister in Christ can make all the difference in the world on their spiritual journey.
How is Your Church Community?
Building a Church Community is indeed a labor of love that requires hard work and commitment to Leadership Training. Despite the level of effort required, it is all worth the effort when you get to witness individual group members feel that sense of community and belonging. It’s this very feeling members experience that makes them become truly invested in the church and other members, and it’s a beautiful life-changing experience to be part of.