Are you the leader of a Christian congregation? If so, you’ve probably been concerned about the steady decline in church attendance and Christian faith that has occurred over the past few years. However, don’t be too concerned. Here are a few different ways to attract people to your church this summer, so be creative and faithful in the approaches that you take.
Continue Virtual Worship Options
For some churches, it seems like COVID-19 lockdowns shut them down for good, as attendance dwindled and budgets suffered. However, churches that were able to offer virtual worship services through software like YouTube or Zoom thrived during the lockdown periods. If you find that your in-person attendance is still lower than ever, try to continue your virtual worship options, as they may be more attractive and flexible for your congregation. You can even create things like group chats and Facebook groups if you’re wanting your congregation to have more interaction with each other. That way you can continue to preach the good word of God and your congregation can feel the holy spirit while viewing your meetings in their homes, which makes their individual homes a sacred place of worship.
Identify Community Needs
One of the best ways to keep your congregation coming to church is to identify and address their needs as a community. This may require some time and effort on the part of the minister and teachers. You may need to go out of your way to be involved in community activities so you know what the families of your congregation are interested in and concerned about. If you are able to do so, you will be able to share messages of faith and encouragement with them that apply directly to their concerns and needs. Your congregation, in turn, will feel that you truly know them and want to help them and will be encouraged to continue in their worship traditions.
Become More Social Media Savvy
If COVID-19 lockdowns taught churches anything, it taught them the need to connect with congregation members over social media. This is a way to speak the language of the younger generations, in a sense. Most of the younger parents and youth in your congregation likely spend a good amount of time on social media each day. By actively posting and connecting with congregation members on social media, your church can help them to feel encouraged throughout the week, which will likely help them to make it to church on Sundays.
Take Advantage of Outdoor Space
Especially if your congregation doesn’t have a meeting place or has concerns about meeting indoors, you may want to take advantage of the outdoors and meet outside. However, there are a few things to remember. Weather conditions can affect the comfort of your congregation, and therefore affect the quality of the meeting and sermon. You may want to keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan for days that will be sunny and warm. That being said, sunlight can damage wood furniture, so you should keep it in a shady area.
Encourage Congregation Relationships
One way to keep your congregation attendance consistent is to nurture a culture of friendship and love within your congregation. This can be best accomplished if you divide your congregation into organizations that will meet their needs. For example, divide your congregation into a women’s organization, a men’s organization, a youth organization, and a children’s organization. Each of these organizations should have their own classes like Sunday school and are encouraged to hold some sort of weekly or monthly activity. That way, members of your congregation will be able to relate to people their own age with similar needs and situations. If your congregation members have strong relationships and firm connections with each other, they’ll be more encouraged to keep coming to church as they’ll find a support system in their fellow believers.
While it is important to address the community’s needs as a whole to keep them coming to church, you may also find that personalizing invitations to individuals and families will also grow your church in a stronger way. Find time to visit different families and groups in your congregation and extend personalized invitations to them. You may also want to give them certain assignments of services that they can perform at church or among the congregation to make them feel needed in the faith. These are a few ways to invite your congregation members in a personalized way.
Minister to the Individual
One of the greatest things that we can learn from the Lord Jesus Christ is the importance of ministering to individuals personally. Throughout his documented ministry in the Bible, he performed miracles and addressed the doubts of individuals, strengthening their faith through personalized messages and visits. If you truly believe in Christ and seek to follow him, you should do the same and minister to individuals in your congregation. For example, if you know that a certain member of your congregation is struggling, pay them a visit and talk to them about what is going on in their life. Don’t simply say, “you need to come to church,” although that is true. Try to figure out what problems or concerns in their life have led them to stop coming to church. Once you’ve listened to their concerns, promise them that their problems will be resolved as they put their faith in Christ and keep attending church. If they act in faith and come to church again, they will see your promise fulfilled and their faith in Christ will grow.
Teach by the Holy Spirit
Teaching by the Spirit is another meaningful way that you can connect with your congregation. When giving a sermon or planning a meeting, don’t seek to shame your members, judge unjustly, or forward your personal agenda. Instead, keep your members’ needs and concerns in mind. Think about the individuals that you’ve ministered to throughout the week. What message would touch the hearts of these people and help them with their problems? Seek to receive revelation by the Holy Spirit about what you should teach, just as the Lord did.
Remember, if you’re worried about your dwindling congregation or a decrease in Christian faith, try to connect with your congregation in natural, meaningful ways through different ways such as social media, outdoor sermons, and personalized visits. These different approaches will help you to increase your congregation attendance and to be a more Christ-like leader.
Read this next: Why You Need to Use Technology to Reach Your Congregates