One of the first struggles many of us have in ministry is trying to figure out how to get people to stick. How do we get people to get connected and stay connected to the church? This is a question of assimilation.
Assimilation is an important idea for any church. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of assimilation is “the process of becoming similar to something”, and “the absorption and integration of people, ideas, or culture into a wider society or culture.”
In the context of our churches, it refers to making people a part of the life of your church. Assimilation refers to a process that happens with the people who attend your church.
To achieve the goal of fully assimilating people into the church, you have to be able to identify when it happens. So, how do you know if someone is assimilating into your church? Here are some questions that we can ask about those we are trying to assimilate to see where they are in the process.
1. Worship Service- How often do they attend? Is there a pattern?
2. Sunday School/Groups- How often do they attend? Is there a pattern?
3. Relationships- Are they becoming friends with people in the church or group? Do they spend time with people before, after, or outside of the services and programs?
4. Participation- Do they participate during class or group time? Are they engaged when they come?
5. Service- Do they serve in a ministry of the church?
6. Invitation- Do they invite others to your group or church?
7. Spiritual Growth- Do they exhibit life change resulting from the ministry they receive? Have they made decisions regarding salvation, baptism, discipleship, serving and forsaking sin in their lives?
What are some of the ways you measure assimilation at your church that I may not have named? What are some ways that you help to encourage new people in each of these categories?
Ben Jennings is the Outreach and Assimilation Pastor at Canton Baptist Temple in Canton Ohio. Ben can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org