Assimilation means they're connected (2 of 4)

In part one of this post, I shared this definition of Assimilation: "Assimilation is the process by which a first-time guest become a connected, serving, member". In this second post, I want to talk about the first word that describes an assimilated person at your church..."connected".

Many writers like Nelson Searcy (see his book Fusion) state that a new regular attender to your church will no longer be attending in 4 to 6 months unless something important happens: they develop 4 to 6 friendships from church. That's one of the reasons why connection is the most vital aspect of assimilation a guest to your church can experience.

Connection is the most vital aspect of assimilation a guest to your church can experience.

To begin addresses this reality, there are 2 questions I want to ask you:

1. Where do people connect at your church?

When I was in high school, we lived at the beach as soon as the weather was warm enough. The students at my school were a great bunch and we wanted to go to the beach together. The challenge was, how to we find each other when we all get down there at different times and have so many beaches to choose from?

The answer was Lifeguard Tower #9. 

Huntington Beach is dotted with numbered Life Guard Towers and we knew that whatever day we chose, no matter when we arrived, someone from our student body would be sitting in a beach chair by Life guard Tower #9. It's been many years since my graduation. I wonder if I took a stroll down there if I'd run into old friends...

When it comes to connection, your church needs a Life Guard Tower #9: Just one place to remember, one thing to say, when pointing people toward connection.

So what is your Life Guard Tower? Where is the one place you send people to connect?

Since Connection Groups (Small Groups) are the environment where people experience connection at our church, we have a Life Guard Tower, plus 2 options:

  • First Step with Gene leads them to a 7 week table launching opportunity. This is our preferred connection environment because it will address every aspect of assimilation, not just connection. Because of this, it becomes our Life Guard Tower to send people to find others to connect with, and everything else.
  • Group Connect is an option that takes place 2 to 3 time a year for mass connection group launches at the beginning of high impact message series' (our group material is sermon based).
  • Online Group Finder is used to help people who may come to our info counter or use our website to explore connection groups. This is our least effective means of connection, but it does work for some people.

Acts 2:46 says that the first church met in 2 locations: the temple courts and in homes. It appears that large scale gatherings on a campus and intimate gatherings in homes are the precedence we have received from the records in the Bible to help people experience real connection. So where is the place you want people to connect with others at your church? How do you get them there? 

2. How many people are connected at your church?

Once you have sent them to the Life Guard Tower to connect with others, it is important to know when people have become connected, how many have become connected, and to whom.

At the time of this post, we currently have 1967 unique individuals connected at Eastside in 314 groups. How do we know this? We use a product called Church Community Builder (CCB) which we renamed "Eastside Connect". It is a community based platform that functions as our database. All our people have access to it, can update their own information, chose what ministries they here about and upload photos of themselves like a Facebook page. The process queues on CCB are vital to tracking the entire journey of assimilation for each guest at our church.

When  a guest finds connection and joins a group or becomes part of a newly launched group, they identify a host who populates their group on Eastside Connect (CCB) and begins receiving weekly attendance emails. These emails allow them to simply click on the names of all who attended their group and then hit "send". If their group did not meet, that's even simpler via a "did not meet" tab. We call a person "connected" when they attend their Connection Group a minimum of 3 times a quarter. By that definition, we currently have 1967 unique individuals and can set goals from there.

Each persons profile also shows what group (s) they are a part of. If someone stops coming to a group, their host can remove them from their group roster on Eastside Connect thus keeping stats current.

"Where do people connect?" & "How many are connected?" are the 2 most important questions you can ask yourself when it comes to this aspect of assimilation because connection is the most vital aspect of assimilation a guest to your church can experience.

In part three of this series I will describe where the next aspect of assimilation, serving, fits into the journey of every new person to your church.

Until then, keep climbing!

  • What is your Life Guard Tower #9? In other words, where do you send people to find connection at your church? How do you communicate that to your guests? 
  • How do you know when someone has found connection? What tools do you/can you use to determine this?
  • How many unique individuals are connected at your church? How many groups do you have?
  • What is your definition of "connected"? When is a person considered connected at your church?