Presentation on theme: "Surprising Insights from the Unchurched: and Proven Ways to Reach Them"— Presentation transcript:
1 Surprising Insights from the Unchurched: and Proven Ways to Reach Them A book by Thom S. RanierGrand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001
2 Those Who Have Changed“Why not ask questions of those who did make the transition from the unchurched to the churched?” (p. 20)“Remember, as you listen to each formerly unchurched person, that each of them has been a Christian less than two years, most a year or less.” (p. 32)
3 A Misunderstood Opportunity 41% of Americans attend church services on a typical Sunday (p. 33).Over 80% said religious faith was important in their lives (p. 34).“Many churches, however, have been addressing only the symptoms. A certain worship style, the latest small group, a new church vernacular, or the ‘right’ church name is seen as a panacea to the problem of not reaching the unchurched….Yet the real ‘treatment’ must be at a deeper and more profound level” (p. 36).
4 Myth #1“Most unchurched think and act like Anglo, middle-class suburbanites with no church background” (p. 37).While most would agree the unchurched come from varied backgrounds, cookie cutter approaches have been used to reach them, ignoring the particular unique community to which they belong.“Our study has reminded us with no equivocation that the unchurched are not a monolithic group” (p. 38).
5 Myth #2“The unchurched are turned off by denominational names in the church name” (p. 38).“Over 80 percent of the formerly unchurched told us that the church that the church name had little or no influence upon their joining a particular church” (p. 39).“Only 4 out of 100 formerly unchurched indicated that a denominational name had a negative influence on them as they sought a church home” (p. 40).
6 Myth #3 “The Unchurched Never Attend Church” (p. 41). “…most adults attend some type of church service in the course of a year.”“Indeed, many of our formerly unchurched respondents found some efforts to make the church seeker-friendly a bit amusing” (p. 42).
7 Myth #4“The Unchurched Cannot Be Reached by Direct Personal Evangelism” (p. 43).“Over one-half indicated that someone from the church they joined shared Christ with them.”“While the building of relationships with the unchurched is critical, we heard repeatedly that an evangelistic visit, even by a stranger from the church, had an eternal impact” (p. 44).
8 Myth #5“The Pastor Must Be a Dynamic and Charismatic Leader for the Church to Reach the Unchurched” (p. 44).
9 Myth #6“We Must Be Careful in Our Teaching and Preaching So That We Do Not Communicate Deep and Complex Biblical Truths That Will Confuse the Unchurched” (p. 45).“Ninety-one percent of the formerly unchurched indicated that doctrine was an important factor that attracted them to the church.”“How would our strategies change if we considered the teaching of doctrine to be a major issue in reaching the unchurched?” (p. 46).
10 Myth #7The Sunday School and Other Small Groups Are Ineffective in Attracting the Unchurched” (p. 46).“…the formerly unchurched are positive about and attracted to Sunday school” (p. 47).“…nearly seven out of ten formerly unchurched were active in Sunday school at the point of our interview.”
11 Myth #8“The Most Important Evangelistic Relationships Take Place in the Marketplace” (p. 47).“The marketplace most often refers to the place where we meet people who are not part of our family: workplaces, schools, neighborhoods, and places where we shop and do business.”“…our study…found that family member relationships were even more important. And of the different family members, wives were the ones most often mentioned as important to influencing the formerly unchurched to Christ…” (p. 49).
12 Myth #9“The Unchurched Are Concerned Only about Their Own Needs” (p. 50).“…the unchurched often desire to be challenged.”“…the unchurched do not always seek a place of worship for their own needs.”“Almost one out of three of the formerly unchurched informed us that they came or returned to the church for their children.”
13 The Role of Preaching97% said the preacher and preaching played a role in their change (p. 55).Eight things were important (pp ).Preaching that teaches the BiblePreaching that applies to my lifeThe preacher is a real personThe preacher is a person of convictionPersonal contact by the preacherThe preacher is a good communicatorThe preacher is a good leaderThe preacher’s class
14 Failures of PreachersAfter noting 90% of preachers spend only 2 hours per week in sermon preparation, Rainer speculated preachers might become better communicators if they spent more time in study.Failure to contact visitors is a mistake since the unchurched said all they sought was a simple phone call or brief visit from the preacher (p. 67).
15 Factors in Choosing a Church Multiple factors are involved in most cases.In 1990, George Barna asked people what they want from a church and found doctrine and theology were #1 (p. 71).Almost 40% said family members were important in their choice (p. 74).Over 50% said relationships played a part in their choice (p. 76).However, relationships alone are not the best way to reach the unchurched (p. 78).
16 The Most Important Relationship The wife is the most important relationship in reaching the unchurched (p. 83).Men seem more likely to be reached by relationships than women.Over 1/3 said their wives influenced them to attendAlmost 20% indicated their children were the important relationship which influenced themThe most important unchurched contact many have is living in their home.
17 Important First Impressions Adequate parkingClean facilitiesModern facilitiesHigh-quality preschool/nurseryVariety of quality programsRelevant and quality musicClean bathroomsFriendly peopleOutgoing greetersClearly marked and functional welcome centerGood signageComfortable seatingAttention-holding preaching
18 More Impact from the Second Visit “The formerly unchurched were more impacted by their second visit than their first visit” (p. 93).They were overwhelmed on their first visit.90% “indicated that some factor about the people or the facilities impacted their decision to return for another visit.”Most said that decision was made in the first few minutes of the 1st visit.
19 Friendliness (pp. 95-97) A factor for 88% “Most churches believe they are friendly when in reality they are friendly only to others whom they already know.”“Manufactured friendliness is obvious.”Friendly churches likely have friendly preachersEvangelistic effectiveness directly correlates
20 Facilities and Children Nice facilities/adequate space (pp )A woman can find dirt, cracked windows, etc. better than a man and should inspect everything every 6 monthsThe nursery/preschool/children’s issue (pp ).Safety is the number 1 concernEasy accessibilityAbility to be notified if neededApparent concern of adult staffCleanliness of children’s areas
21 Organization and Welcome Organization of worship services (pp ).Well organized services indicate a seriousness about our missionGreeters and welcome centers ( ).Current information about the churchFriendly greeters, possibly enthusiastic new convertsA balance of ages among greetersGood locations, including parking lots
22 Why They Return and Stay Doctrine clarified (pp )“Churches that are unambiguous in their beliefs and clear on their teachings…see more of their visitors return and more attenders join.”
23 Why They Return and Stay High expectations (p. 111)“High assimilation churches communicated that their Christian community expects much of everyone. Members are expected to live and minister in a way that is consistent with New Testament teachings. They are expected to attend worship and Sunday school or small groups regularly, adhere to doctrine, be involved in ministry, attend new member classes, and if they are new Christians, participate in some type of mentoring or discipleship relationship.”
24 Why They Return and Stay An Entry Point Class (pp. 112-114) Doctrine of the churchPolity of the churchExplanation of Lord’s Supper/baptismExplanation of the church covenantPolicies for church disciplineExpectation of members after joiningHistory of the churchTour of the buildingHow to become a ChristianTithing/financial supportMethod/meaning of baptismRequirements for membershipMinistry opportunities in the church
25 Why They Return and Stay An Entry Point Class (pp. 112-114) Introduction to spiritual disciplinesIntroduction to the church staff/leadershipExplanation of the church’s mission and or visionInventory of spiritual giftsStructure/support of missionsBrief evangelism training“…churches that require persons to enter membership through a new members’ class have a much higher retention rate than those that do not.”
26 Why They Return and Stay Small Groups and Sunday School (pp. 115-119) Relationships must develop naturally thru planned opportunities for new members“…some type of small-group involvement was deemed very important to the formerly unchurched.”There is a clear relationship between effective assimilation and small groups.Those becoming immediately involved in Sunday School are 5 times more likely to stay
27 Why They Return and Stay Clarity of purpose (pp )Evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, ministry and worship, which would include prayerMinistry involvement (pp )“More than any other factor, the formerly unchurched told us that their service and ministry in the church keeps them coming back each week.”
28 Doctrine Really Matters 91% thought doctrine was important“...they were insistent that the churches should be uncompromising in their stand.”Dean Kelley, Why Conservative Churches Are Growing, 1972Believe the Bible and make no apology for their beliefsDistinctive code of conductPractice strict disciplineCommit significant resources to their causesHave missionary zeal
29 Doctrine Really Matters When asked why doctrine was so important, “The most frequent response was their desire to know truth or absolutes” (p. 130).Nearly half chose a church for its certitude (the conviction of belief, p ).Preacher frequently mentioned doctrinal issuesNoticed the level of conviction“Speaking the truth in love”—strong in convictions but gentle in spirit
30 Doctrine Really Matters Doctrine helped close the back door (p. 135)“…no one desires to be a part of an organization or cause based on uncertainty or ambiguity.”“…unambiguous declaration of absolutes. In a world of relativity, many seekers desire to know that a black and white reality does exist.”“…churches with doctrinal certitude tend to be activists in their beliefs.”