By Olivia Parkinson
Church attendance has been falling for years. Coupled with that has been a lack of engagement among those that do attend. To counteract this, you’ll need to find ways to attract more attendees while also encouraging them to engage with the church in various ways.
How do you increase your church’s attendance and engagement? As simple as that question might be, the answer will be more complicated. While there are multiple potential methods you could choose, some should be more effective than the rest.
How to Increase a Church’s Attendance & Engagement
Challenge People to Serve
The people who serve in your church are the people who are engaged with it. Often, you’ll need to challenge them to become engaged and subsequently to serve. Many of your attendees might want a challenge to live up to; why not let that be your church’s mission?
Encouraging your attendees to serve can be the most effective way of increasing engagement. While some attendees will volunteer without needing this, quite a few might not. It’s worth regularly speaking about what ways your flock can volunteer and help the church.
If there’s a fundraising event coming up, for example, you could outline what assistance is needed when it occurs. Coupled with that, knowing what the fundraiser is for could lead to more people donating and raising awareness for it.
Get that challenge out there, and people will rise to meet it.
Make the Church Inviting
There’s an art and a science to building a church that people want to go to. While connecting with God will be a priority, few people want to go somewhere that’s uninviting. If you’re building your church from scratch, then you’ll need to keep this in mind.
It could be worth going through the guide to church construction planning to help with this. That doesn’t mean that ones that have already been built can’t improve. Performing some maintenance around the church could make it more appealing to potential attendees.
Roof maintenance and repairs will be some of the more notable options here. You could involve the community in this by holding fundraising for these improvement efforts. Not only will that help with your church’s engagement, but it might help persuade former attendees to return.
Make Engagement More Comfortable
Church attendees often don’t engage too much because it’s more comfortable not to. They could be more uncomfortable approaching the church to see how they can help. You’ll need to flip this on its head. You should make it easier to engage with and help your parish.
Part of this involves expecting people to get involved. If you don’t expect it, then you shouldn’t be surprised if nobody does. Making the first step toward getting church-goers engaged will make it easier for them to do so.
Being clear and communicative about how they can do so will be helpful with this. It also helps if you and other church workers are friendly and approachable, which shouldn’t be an issue. Appearing as pleasant as possible will maximize the number of people coming to you to help.
Use Active Language
Once you have attendees in your church, you’ll want them to be as engaged as possible. While you could use multiple methods for this, using active language is one of the easiest and most effective. Passive language isn’t persuasive and leads to listeners not paying attention if used for too long.
Active language, on the other hand, will do the opposite. It will catch a listener’s attention while helping to persuade them to do something. Asking attendees “to give generously” rather than “donating” is a simple yet effective example of this.
Changing your language like this will help you paint a clearer picture while also conveying a clear path for attendees to engage.
Why People May Not Attend Your Church
The number of people going to church has dropped quite dramatically over the past few decades. You might wonder why this is the case. While every former church-goer might have their specific reasons, there are a few that seem to be relatively common.
Perhaps the most notable, especially among young people, is that they believe that the church is irrelevant. Coupled with this, they feel as though there has been a moral failure on behalf of church leaders.
That’s primarily driven by scandals that have rocked the religious world in past decades. In some cases, it’s hard to blame them for this perception. You could overcome this by ensuring that your church has as much grace and integrity as possible.
Some former church-goers may also believe that they can’t feel God when in church anymore. Instead, they may feel more in touch with Him in a more one-to-one setting, such as from home. That more personal approach could be more attractive to them.
The culture of your church may also be at play. In many conservative parishes, criticisms and questions are prohibited, despite how legitimate they may be. That will make church-goers feel as though they’re not being heard, which could lead to them feeling unwanted.
Should that be the case, they’ll be less likely to come back. Creating a transparent and welcoming church that welcomes discussion can be a welcome remedy to this situation.
There can be multiple other reasons why people stop going to church. That’s without mentioning the numerous people who have lost their faith. Each of the above could be some of the more common, however.
Overcoming these situations can be difficult, although it could be essential to growing your church.
Figuring out how to increase your church’s attendance and engagement can be challenging. Often, each parish will have its unique hurdles and circumstances. That means adapting each of the above methods to better suit your needs.
As effective as these all could be, they will take some time to implement and show results. Patience is a vital trait for any task, so it’s worth having it in abundance as you try to grow your church.
Having this patience will give you the attitude needed to oversee each of these methods as your church starts to grow.