Things are slowly returning back to normal after a year of living in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccination numbers are rising while government restrictions are dropping. Toilet paper and disinfectant wipes are back on the shelves. And, most businesses have opened back up.
But churches across the nation are not seeing this same response on Sunday morning.
Church leaders everywhere are asking the questions, “Why are we not seeing people flood back into our churches? Why does church attendance remain low while restaurants are filling back up?”
The answer is simpler than you might imagine – habits. Our congregations have spent the past year building a habit of staying home on Sunday morning.
Sure, many of them are watching church online each week. But, we know when people don’t regularly attend in person, they’re less likely to stay connected to the church and they’re less likely to continue to give.
we know when people don’t regularly attend in person, they’re less likely to stay connected to the church and they’re less likely to continue to give.
Many churches are seeing this reality begin to unfold, but it’s not too late to change the course. If we can get people back into our churches, we can experience a revitalization in our ministries and see our giving stabilize and grow.
So, how do we help our congregations break the habit of staying home on Sunday and rejoin the church body? Here are two tactics that will help you increase Sunday attendance and welcome congregants back into your church doors:
First, invite churchgoers back.
I know, this probably seems obvious. Maybe even overly simplistic. But people want to be wanted, and a simple invite goes a long way.
The more personal the invitation is, the more effective it will be. You may already be extending an invite over social media and email to join you in-person on Sunday, but take it a step further by making the invitation more personal.
So, how do you make the invite both personal and effective? Here are some ideas:
Call your members.
Take a list of all your regular attendees and members, divide them up amongst your church staff, and call each person. Let them know how much you miss seeing them at church and how great it would be to see them back in person.
Write a handwritten note.
Handwritten notes are rares these days. Write a short note to your attendees that have yet to return and invite them back.
Make a direct call to come back to church from the stage during your services.
Many are watching online every week but haven’t returned in-person to church because they’ve simply gotten comfortable staying home. Take a moment on Sunday to look directly into the camera and call on those at home to rejoin the body in church.
Second, emphasize small groups.
Not everyone is ready to be in a big group, and that’s ok. Small groups are an excellent way to stay connected or reconnect with the church body. Older people and those at high risk may not be comfortable in a full sanctuary, but they may be excited to join 10 other people in a home each week.
Older people and those at high risk may not be comfortable in a full sanctuary, but they may be excited to join 10 other people in a home each week.
Heavily promote small groups in this season. Talk about groups in your services, on social media, in email, and any other way you communicate with your congregation. Offer an opportunity for people to sign up digitally, so they don’t have to be there on Sunday to join a group. And when your staff (or volunteers) are making personal invites for your attendees to return to church, it’s a perfect opportunity to mention small groups too.
As a church leader you understand that small groups are crucial for deeper, lasting spiritual growth. When people are in a small group they will grow in their faith while also becoming more connected and invested in your church. It’s a long-term win for the individual and your church.
These are 2 great ways to get started bringing your congregation back to church. For more ways to increase your church attendance post Covid, check out our latest eBook, “How to Get People Back in Your Church.” In this resource, we will cover 5 tactics to use, why they’re effective, and how to put them into practice.
At SecureGive, we want to see your church thrive and grow. It’s why we work so hard to create meaningful, useful resources. Download your free ebook, and if you want to learn more about the incredible resource exclusively available to SecureGive clients, schedule a quick demo with one of our Giving Consultants.