When it comes to Keeping (Engels scale), we run a New Christians group for those who have come to faith, as well as membership groups, mid-week groups and serving groups - all these are ways into a deeper commitment in church life.
Our integration process is an important element in this. Once you have reached people and they have come in to the church the process does not end there. For us outreach is not just for reaching the unbeliever and seeing them through to faith, but it’s also reaching the new person, the visitor. So we would be very, very intentional about reaching new people who come along to our church even if they’ve been Christians for 20 years. The fact is, people don’t join the church by osmosis - they don’t just ‘join’ and they often need help to know how the process actually works.
To help we have put together a booklet called ‘Helping New People Join the Church’ - again we took all this material and adapted it from somewhere else, on this occasion - Willow Creek, Bill Hybel’s church.
A new person comes on a Sunday and we trust that they meet welcoming people right from the start! They will be encouraged to fill out a ‘Like to Know More Form’ which is always talked about in the welcome in the middle of the meeting. In the meeting the very first notice is to welcome new people and to ask them to complete the form. At the end of the meeting they are encouraged to take it to the Welcome Desk - they may think they’re just handing in a form, they are told ‘it helps us to help you get connected’. That’s true. ‘If you just want to find out more information, hand in this form’. If they do so then we see it as being handed a relay baton - the hard work begins at that point!