For many churches, the fall season brings a massive spike in weekly attendance. Families are back in the rhythm of the school year, and attending church becomes part of the routine once again.
Churches all over the country understand this cycle, and many work hard during the summer months to prepare for the increase of visitors. Yet despite the countless hours in preparation, few churches see any significant improvement in engagement.
Simply creating more programs and events won’t solve the problem of engagement. Here’s the real problem: more events won’t make a difference if your thinking doesn’t change. You just wind up with more of the same problems.
Start with the little things. Many people hastily overlook the tiny, seemingly obvious details during their preparation. But these details are precisely the ones that people notice when visiting your church.
Take a few minutes to put yourself in the mind of someone attending your church, and start by asking these powerful questions:
1. Do people know where to go?
This question covers everything, from the parking lot to the location of the worship center. Make sure everything is clearly marked with simple, understandable signage. Ask questions like:
- How should they enter the parking lot?
- Where do they park?
- What entrance do they use?
- Where is the worship center?
No question is too small here. In fact, take a few minutes and walk from the parking lot to the worship center. The little things you do every day are things most people do twice per month or less.
And don’t forget to label the restrooms. One large church in Georgia had restrooms in the balcony for more than 20 years, yet many longtime members had no idea they existed. Why? No signs.
2. Do people know what to do?
When you look at an item on Amazon, what do you think Amazon wants you to do? Buy now. And if you’re logged in, they want you to buy with one click. They make your next action incredibly simple and clear. When it comes to church, people need to know things like:
- Where and how do I give?
- How do I register for an event?
- How can I volunteer?
- How do I get involved with a small group?
Businesses that succeed are those which make the next step stupidly clear. Do the same for people as you communicate in print, online, and from stage.
3. Do people know who we are?
This question covers your identity as a church. Every church has an identity within their local community, but does yours fall in line with reality? Discover this by asking questions like:
- What do people think we believe about God, Jesus, sin, and salvation?
- Does our community value us because of how we serve them?
- Do people feel welcomed here?
- Do people understand how we may be similar or different from their previous church experiences?
How you communicate your identity is crucial as you prepare for fall kickoff. Attendees need to quickly and clearly understand who you are and why that matters.
What to remember
Too often the obvious questions are ignored in pursuit of a vision or in preparation for launching something new. Spend time answering these simple questions if you want to capitalize on the growth opportunity during the fall season. When you do, you’ll gain a powerful perspective that deeply resonates with people who attend.