What grade would you give your weekend experience? What grade would a first time visitor give you? Would those grades match? Most likely, you gave yourself a higher grade than what others may give you. But how many of us actually know the grade we would receive? That information is priceless and could change your whole church. More information gives you more opportunities to change it. When you change it, more visitors will come and stay. Here are some tips on how to know what kind of experience guests are having.
1) Visit other local Churches
What are 3-4 churches in your area that have a great reputation for being friendly and welcoming? Visit those churches and write down everything that you see and feel. Have some other leaders with you so that you can debrief and share what you are learning. This will help you compare and contrast with your own weekend experience.
2) Have a Secret Shopper
Most of us act our best when we know someone is coming to visit us. It’s important to get a pulse of an average Sunday. Ask a friend or church leader of yours who doesn’t attend your church to come and visit one Sunday. Have them write down later what they felt and what they saw. Ask them to be brutally honest. You’ll get more information out of it if you share with them things that you want them to grade you in. For instance, the list can include the the parking experience, volunteer interaction, worship service, connections, and much more. This feedback will give you invaluable and accurate information.
3) Survey New Guests
Ask your current visitors to give you feedback on their experience. You can either ask them after the service or have them write it down in a comment card. You could also follow up with them during the week too. It’s important to listen to what they say and what they don’t say.
4) Get a Coach/ Consultant
There are churches and coaches out there that can provide you with feedback on how you are doing. Ask a pastor or a consulting agency to give you feedback about your church experience. You may have to pay a fee but the information will outweigh the costs.
Has your small group felt like it’s in a plateau? People come but it doesn’t feel like they are there. There are many reasons why this happens. Here are 7 easy ways to help your small group growing and get out of that plateau.
1) Share Personally or Deeply
Most groups don’t go deep enough or share about “real” struggles. The best way to help is by having people share personal struggles, issues or problems. The more vulnerable and authentic the group is, the more people will want to engage and be part of the group. Sharing your needs actually makes a group closer and more connected.
2) Change the format of your small group
Maybe your small group needs to change things up. It’s easy for a group to get comfortable with how they do small group. Familiarity can breed complacency. Have another person be the leader for the week. Empower them to lead in any way that that they see fit. This will give more ownership to the group. It also allows for creativity.
Another great tool to help your small group is to SERVE. When you focus on doing something for others, it brings a group together. It’s a great way to feel good about yourself as well as your group. Your group can come together to really make an impact and difference in someone’s life. You can share that experience and create life changing memories.
4) Challenge each other to grow deeper: accountability
People want to be accountable. Small group needs to not just talk about issues but also hold people accountable to their own goals and desires. Does your group encourage and challenge each other to grow? Encourage your small group members to hold each other accountable this week to do one thing. Follow up with them during the week.
5) Have fun together
When was the last time your group did something fun? Laughing it the best way to grow a group. You can go bowling together, play miniature golf or whatever interests your group. There are so many ways to create bonding experiences. Your group will see each other in a whole different way.
6) Add more spirituality (prayer, reading)
Maybe your group actually needs to focus more on spirituality. Having a shared spiritual goal can make your group more focused and connected. You can try something big like reading through the Bible in one year together. You can try something easier like reading one verse or chapter a day together. You can use your small group time to debrief and share what you are learning. This keeps you accountable and focused.
7) Love others together
Love is a powerful tool that brings people together. Your group could do a special project to love someone in your community. You can also challenge your group to do a random act of kindness during the week. Maybe you can decide to love people in your group or the people closest to you. When you share that love to your group, it’ll make everyone celebrate and feel more connected.
What is the one thing that your group can do this week?