If you believe that unconnected people are always one tough thing away from never being at your church again...you have all the motivation you need to invest in building a pervasive sense of community in your church.
If you believe that unconnected people are always one tough thing away from never being at your church again...you have all the motivation you need to invest in building a pervasive sense of community in your church. Click To Tweet
So...do you have that motivation? Or is it more of an if it happens it happens kind of thing?
If you have a heart for unconnected people and you want to build a pervasive sense of community there are some essential ingredients that need to be developed.
5 Essential Ingredients that Build Pervasive Community
1. A thriving small group ministry
If you want to build community in your church, you must understand that not only does life-change happen best in circles (not rows), so does community. A thriving small group ministry is an essential ingredient that builds community in your church because unless your church is flatlined, you will always need a growing number of new groups to connect a growing number of unconnected people.
2. Build steps into community that are easy, obvious, and strategic
Building a thriving small group ministry is an essential ingredient but not the only ingredient. Putting energy and resources into small group infrastructure without making the hard choices that create first steps and next steps won't build pervasive community. Why? Very few unconnected people will jump straight from the anonymity of a row to the intimacy of a circle. They will need steps that lead from the crowd to the core.
First, to build pervasive community it is essential to design steps that are easy for unconnected people to take.
In addition, the steps you design will need to be obvious (not hidden in a buffet of options).
Finally, the steps you build will need to be strategic, eliminate sideways energy and lead only in direction of the preferred future.
3. Build glimpses of community and connecting opportunities into your weekend service
Although the desire to belong is innate in the human heart, the source of the longing for community is not always obvious to unconnected people.
In order to whet appetites and persuade tentative first steps, a steady diet of satisfied customer stories coupled with low risk connecting opportunities is essential (think auditorium section hosts and friendly ushers on a mission).
4. Introduce friendlier and stickier points of connection from street to seat
Community building begins on the website, in social media and in the parking lot. Introducing an all out effort to humanize every point of contact is an essential ingredient. Until you can truly empathize with the unconnected people in your crowd and community, you can't expect to build a pervasive sense of community. It will always be insider vs outsider.
See also, Learn to Empathize with Your End User.
5. Cast vision for community with every opportunity
Website, newsletter, video, bulletin, welcome, announcements, sermons, greeters, parking team, ushers, worship team, children's ministry, student ministry, counseling, recovery and care, outreach, etc. Everything must cast vision for community.
How would you diagnose your church's capabilities when it comes to building pervasive community? Is it happening? Is it only a fantasy? Is it just a couple ingredients away? Is it even on your agenda or in the conversation?
It is true, you know. Unconnected people are always one tough thing away from never being at your church again. In my mind, that ought to make this building a pervasive sense of community a number one priority for all of us.
Need more help?
If you're not sure how to build stickier and friendlier next steps from street to seat, you'll find my 4 session online video course helpful! How to Design NEXT Steps and FIRST Steps will give you everything you need! Find out more right here.
Image by richiedogg1981