What Assimilation Is (1 of 4)
When people think of assimilating new people into their church families, many definitions of that process come into play. Some think it means...
- Getting people to come to church
- Getting people to "stick" to their church
- Getting people to keep coming to their church
- Getting people to "like" their church
- Getting people to give to their church
- Getting people to feel welcome at their church
- Getting people to develop friendships at their church
- Getting people to serve at their church
Though there are elements of truth to all the facets of assimilation listed above, none of these definitions are comprehensive or strategic enough to become a ""working definition". A working definition of assimilation is an understanding that can direct and inform an entire church staff and leadership core as well as be used to evaluate progress and set objectives for increasing effectiveness and your church's potential for connecting the people God is brining and adding to it.
That said, the best working definition of assimilation for me has become this:
Assimilation is the process by which a first-time guest become a connected, serving, member.
That's it: directive, comprehensive, and measurable. So much so, that this definition directs all that we do in assimilation at Eastside. It defines that end game for us and tells us when the job is done: a person is assimilated into our church family when a guest is connected relationally, is serving regularly, and identifies themselves as a member.
Thus begins our first "series" for this blog. In this first series we'll gain traction in helping guest become connected serving members by breaking down each part of the journey and what it means specifically in three separate posts:
- "Connected". What environment in your church is best for defining a person as connected. What does connection mean?
- "Serving". What areas in our church do we intentionally invite guests to serve in? What can we do to help new people connect with others through service? What is our strategy for developing them as servants of Christ for greater influence and impact?
- "Members". What is a member? How do we discern membership at our churches? Who discerns membership at our churches? What processes lead a person to discern this reality and calling for themselves?
This becomes measurable, informs metrics and reports, and most of all...helps people successfully connect with your church family in a life impacting way.
Looking forward to learning about the journey of assimilation together over the next 3 posts. Let's keep climbing...