Build Your Church For The Unchurched

When you want to reach the unchurched, you have to do more than just have a program to bring in the unchurched.

Instead, you must build your church for the unchurched. This involves everything from the actual church itself to the mindset of your members.

The entire purpose is to seamlessly integrate the unchurched into your church family. From the moment they walk in, your church will feel like home to them.

Build Passion With Your Members

custom church website buttonDid you realize that almost 70% of first-time guests come to your church because they were invited by a member? If your members aren’t passionate about the church, why would they invite someone else? The idea is to find ways to better engage your current members so they’re more likely to want to bring along friends and relatives.

Many members never invite anyone because they don’t feel like services and events are engaging enough. Build passion within your church and you’ll reach more of the unchurched.

Speak About What Brings People Together

It’s tempting to try and bring everyone together via theology, but it might not be the most effective way to build your church for the unchurched. Part of the reason people join a church is for the sense of community and understanding. Reach both your members and the unchurched by focusing on things that people have in common.

Pastor Andy Stanley from North Point Community Church says that people “are on a happiness quest.” Make services more engaging and relatable by focusing on common fears, challenges, joys and more. This creates a happier experience that will make the unchurched feel more like part of the church family.

Create A Culture Than Embraces Differences

Everyone has their own opinions, but to build a church for the unchurched, you must create a culture within your church that embraces differences. For instance, you might use a wide variety of music to appeal to all ages. You might have different worship groups that talk about the challenges that different ages or types of people (singles vs. families for instance) face.

The more diverse your church is, the more welcoming it is to the unchurched.

Get Involved Outside The Church

The unchurched are more likely to get involved with your church when opportunities exist outside the church walls. In fact, in one survey, 47% of the unchurched said they were likely to attend a church event that involved neighborhood safety, while 43% said they’d be likely to attend a church sponsored community service event.

Building your church for the unchurched means you’ll have to step outside of the church sometimes. This is a way to introduce yourself and your members to those who may be looking for a new church. It also shows the unchurched that you care about the community.

Set A Time To Answer Questions From The Unchurched

Sometimes it’s assumed that the unchurched already understand everything, from basic beliefs to how your church works. Never assume anything. In fact, let the unchurched know that you’re available to talk to them. Church leaders or even member volunteers can set aside time each week and online (if you have an online presence) to get their questions answered. This shows that the church is invested in their needs and that the church is welcoming home for them.

Create A New Visitor Welcome Plan

When the unchurched walk in, is it obvious where they should go? Are church hours clearly posted? What about any worship groups or special events? It’s overwhelming sometimes for the unchurched to walk in. Have a few members ready to greet new visitors and help guide them. It’s also a good idea to place information on your website to help the unchurched learn more about your church before they visit.grow your church button

Ensure Your Church Is Modern And Welcoming

Finally, it might be time for a church renovation. For instance, if the carpet is still a bland yellow or green from the 60s, it might be too outdated for the unchurched. Consider adding a little padding to pews, updating the carpet, repainting the walls, adding navigational elements (such as signs) and anything else that helps to modernize your church.

Remember, you don’t have to go big. The idea is to just create a more modern, welcoming atmosphere. Think about if your new in-laws were visiting your home, you’d want everything to look perfect. The same goes with building your church for the unchurched.

Want to help the unchurched learn more about you before their first visit? Find out how a church website provides a welcome mat online.

Why People Blame The Church

It’s far too common for people to blame the church for any and everything. Most of the time, the church isn’t to blame at all.

However, there are some issues that church leaders may be able to learn from. You can take the complaints and use them to improve the church.

While you’ll never make everyone that comes through your doors happy, it does help to understand why they’re blaming the church in the first place.

They Can’t Find The Right Community

custom church website buttonCommunity is one of the top reasons people attend church, outside of worship, of course. In fact, 78% of millennials stated that community was the top quality of their ideal church. If the atmosphere isn’t as welcoming and friendly as visitors would like, they blame the church.

It could easily be that they didn’t stay long enough for anyone to get to know them or to get involved in anything. It could also be a chance to create a welcome plan for new visitors and work with members to get everyone more involved.

They Feel Like Leaders Are Disconnected

Church visitors want to feel like church leaders are connecting with them. If there’s a disconnect, they blame the church. This can actually go both ways and you shouldn’t feel as if you have to take the blame.

Think of it as an opportunity to look for ways to better connect. For instance, does your church have a website or social presence for members to engage with the church outside of worship hours? Simply being more modern can bridge the disconnect gap and reduce blame.

They Dislike The High School Mentality

Drama is never fun, but it’s a common thing that people blame the church for. A simple disagreement between two members can easily spiral out of control and make your church community seem more like a drama filled high school. While you can’t be responsible for monitoring your members’ behavior, try to take notice of any issues and offer private messaging online during certain hours to make it easy for members to come to you when something’s going wrong.

They Don’t Want To Be Like Everyone Else

Individuality is important, especially to younger members. The moment they feel like they have to be like every other member, they blame the church for trying to take away that all important individuality. Visitors and members want a church community that is filled with individuals.

Take a look at your community. Does everyone seem to always have the same opinions, dress similar and even do all the same hobbies? While it’s not the church’s fault, some people place blame instead of just continuing to be themselves.

They Aren’t Interested In Politics

grow your church buttonPolitics are one thing that should always exist outside the church. It should be a safe sanctuary from the chaos that is politics and government. Yet, some churches do get involved and even go so far as to try to sway their members to vote one way or the other. This means it’s not uncommon for people to blame the church for a political candidate winning or losing.

Discussing politics just alienates part of your church community and may push out potential new members.

They Aren’t Growing Spiritually

Spiritual growth is part of attending church, but some people blame the church if they don’t grow as much as they want. The only problem is each individual is also responsible for that growth. The only thing church leaders can do is make sure they’re connecting with members and discussing issues that may be relevant. Making time to talk to members outside of church or online is a way to guide members towards the growth they want, but ultimately it’s up to each person to grow when they’re ready.

People will always blame the church, but you shouldn’t take the blame personally. Learn and grow from complaints when possible. Otherwise, just try to connect with and reach as many people as possible.

Start engaging your church community more by contacting ReachRight today to see how to create a virtual foyer for members and visitors.

Why Leading The Unchurched Is Never Easy

Leading the unchurched may not always seem easy, simply because the benefits of your church might not be as obvious to them as it is to you.

Most unchurched people aren’t opposed to attending church, but they have to find the right fit for their needs. This means listening to those needs and finding ways your church can help meet their needs.

The most important thing to remember is to take the time to understand unchurched people. In many cases, they’re just looking for a church that is open to their questions about faith.

It’s Difficult To Build Trust

custom church website buttonWith 45% of Americans identifying as unchurched, it’s important to help them find their way to the right church for them. The problem is building trust. Many unchurched are actually de-churched, meaning they once regularly attended a church. These people are hesitant to return due to bad experiences in the past. Building trust again isn’t easy, but with patience and persistence, it’s possible.

Leading the unchurched effectively means talking to them regularly. Ask if they’ve attended before and what made them stop. Find out why they’re hesitant to be a member. Once you know why they’re holding back, you’re better able to address those issues.

It Feels Like Two Different Worlds

How much do your church members and leaders know about current culture? If it’s been a while since you’ve had new members, your church may seem like an outdated foreign concept to the younger unchurched. Think of it like an out of touch school teacher. You can force students to sit and listen, but how much they comprehend depends on the teaching style. If the style is more current, the students pay better attention.

The same goes with leading the unchurched. You have to find a way to blend your current church community and current culture, so it feels more comfortable for everyone. For instance, your current members might not see the use for a website or social media accounts, but this may be the preferred way for the unchurched to find and interact with your church.

Sometimes You’re Just Not Ready Yet

It might be difficult for any church to admit, but you may be failing at leading the unchurched simply because your church isn’t quite ready yet. The big question you might have right now is “how do I know if the church is ready?”. The easiest way to answer that is by taking a look at Carey Nieuwhof’s post 9 Signs Your Church Is Ready To Reach Unchurched People. If you’re struggling with any of these areas, focus on improving first and then you’ll be ready to lead unchurched people better.

Your Members Have To Be On Board

grow your church buttonIt doesn’t matter how effective your leadership is with the unchurched if your members aren’t being supportive. If unchurched people feel judged or shunned because they’re not members or regular attendees, they won’t be receptive to anything from the church. Make sure that your members are accepting and encouraging. This makes the unchurched attendees feel more comfortable and they’ll give the church a better chance.

The Unchurched Have Big Questions

The unchurched aren’t unreachable. It’s just that nearly two-thirds have never had anyone actually explain faith in a meaningful way. Leading the unchurched means you may have to start from scratch. For people who haven’t pursued their faith, they’ll have quite a few questions and it’s up to you and your members to answer them as completely as possible.

Seeming shocked or annoyed by their questions will just prove to them that you’re not the right church for them. While every question can’t be answered, the right leadership will help them understand why there isn’t an answer. As with any member, everyone has questions. Be prepared to answer unchurched individuals’ questions and they’ll be more likely to follow your leadership.

Leading The Unchurched On Their Terms

If you want to lead the unchurched better and turn more of them into members, you have to learn to reach them on their terms. It might mean taking a more modern approach, but isn’t that worth it to fill your church and reach more people?

Start your leadership off right by reaching the unchurched online. Contact us today to find out how our web design services can help your church.

How To Get The Unchurched To Walk Through Your Doors

Get The Unchurched Through Your Doors

We know that most churches are looking for ways to improve attendance and increase their members. Sadly, it’s not always as easy as just posting a “welcome” sign outside the church.

If you want to increase both members and attendance, you need to find ways to get the unchurched to walk through your doors. Don’t discount the unchurched. Many still have faith, but they’re just not sure where to go for guidance or which church might be the right fit for them.

Understanding The Unchurched

The most important to thing to understand about the unchurched is that many still believe, but they don’t associate with any one denomination. They consider themselves unaffiliated. This means you can still reach them, but you have to do it in a way that makes them feel welcomed.

According to Barna’s studies, approximately 40% of Americans identify as unchurched. They might attend an occasional special service, such as a Christmas play, but nothing else. Different cities may have higher or lower percentages, such as the San Francisco Bay Area which is considered 61% unchurched.

Even if they’re not regularly attending a church, they’re not opposed to attending one day if they find the right fit. Of course, some may not be able to attend due to work, which is something your church could appeal to by offering services on a different day or time.

Create A Welcoming Atmosphere

custom church website buttonIf you want to get the unchurched to walk in, you have to create a welcoming atmosphere. Think about what visitors see when they first come in. Is there someone to welcome them? If it’s a larger church, are there signs posted about where to go? Is there plenty of room to sit? Are there hours posted on a sign outside? Is there ample parking?

Believe it or not, simple things like this can make the unchurched believe your church is already full or doesn’t accept new members. If an unchurched visitor comes to a special service, ensure they feel welcomed instead of pushed to the background. When they feel like part of the community, they’re more likely to come back.

Encourage Members To Talk

Get the unchurched interested in visiting by encouraging your members to talk about their faith and invite new members. In fact, 70% of church guests come because a friend or relative invited them. In one survey, 79% of unchurched Americans didn’t mind their churched friends talking about their faith. Nearly half (47%) engage in the conversation.

It’s important to remind your members to talk about their faith but avoid giving a sales pitch. No one enjoys that. Instead, the passion your members have should serve as an example of what it’s like to be a part of your church. Think of it as a gentle way to reach the unchurched without being pushy.

Provide Community Events

grow your church buttonMany of the unchurched are looking for churches that make a positive impact on the community. They’re not interested in churches that rarely interact with the local community or always seem to be exclusive. An easy way to show the unchurched what you’re involved in is to invite them to special activities, such as community service projects.

It’s also a great idea to offer community programs that aren’t just for members. For instance, hosting fitness programs for varying age groups or having a community dinner encourages the unchurched to participate and creates that important welcoming aspect. In fact, 46% of the unchurched are likely to attend a sports program, while 51% would help with a community service project.

Show That You’re Modern

If you want to get the unchurched to visit, you have to step into the modern era. The younger unchurched often feel that churches are out of touch. Singing nothing but traditional sermons and being talked at for a few hours doesn’t appeal to them.

Instead, they want a church that reaches them on their level. Integrating technology, having a website to interact with the church before visiting and focusing on some of their specific needs are just a few ways to become a more modern church that appeals to the currently unchurched.

The unchurched aren’t out of reach. You just have to open your doors, welcome them in and show them that your church meets their needs.

Need some help with modernizing your church? Start with our web design services to attract the unchurched to you.