My Most Important Discovery

Someone asked me recently what I felt was the most important discovery in church growth research in recent years. That started me thinking. There have been many changes and innovations in church growth in recent years. Some apply well to Apostolic churches, some don’t. But if I were to select the single greatest revelation to me after almost thirty years of research into growing churches, it would be this: 100% of your new converts come from your church visitors.This is a statement I make repeatedly during my church growth seminars. I want to drive this point home; to think this through. If this be true (and it is, with very little exception) then it necessitates that we take certain actions.First, if we can increase the number of guests coming to our services, we will see more converts. How can we do this? Pastoral encouragement for sure. But also by planning special services like healing, deliverance, financial planning, marriage and family, and others.

Having holiday services on Easter, Pentecost Sunday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, July 4th, and Christmas. Scheduling church socials such as 5th Sunday Service, Church and Pastoral Anniversaries, Sunday school picnics, and Christmas dinner. Promoting revivals, crusades, tent revivals, prayer revivals. Sunday school contests and promotions like Friend Day, Pack-a-pew, team contests, and give-a-way’s. Give your saints plenty of excuses to invite family, friends and associates.Second, few guests go to the altar the first time they visit. Those saved have usually come three to five times before making a decision for God. So you must get these guests back. How? A fully developed guest follow up program. Recent research shows that churches doing guest follow-up have triple the number of conversions when compared to churches that don’t.

The most important part of a guest follow-up program? The home visit. On the door step we invite them back, ask for a home Bible study, and offer to pray for special needs. It is critical that you visit your guests 3-4 times a year, putting at least three months between each visit.Third, every church must be diligent in getting a guest card on each visitor so that we can do guest follow-up. So we need well trained hosts, hostesses and ushers. Itis often stated that guest follow-up is a contract between you and God. If God knows you are going to visit that guest every 3-4 months, He will begin to work on their heart and prepare them for your visit. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer and the convicting power of the Spirit.