Why does it seem like some churches are full of active members, but others struggle to keep members coming back from week to week?
Even though your members are likely busy, it’s still possible to improve member attendance through a few innovative strategies. Think of it as giving them an engaging reason to return.
While members may not attend every single week, they will attend much more regularly if you work to increase engagement. Luckily, it’s not as difficult as you might think.
Focus On General Engagement
This might seem like a no-brainer, but before you do anything else, focus on general engagement. For instance, in our post 7 Tips To Increase Engagement To Improve Church Attendance, we talk about having conversations with members and making sermons more relevant.
Consider creating a more overall engaging experience. Even if that just means having better lighting or ensuring people in the back don’t have to strain to hear, every little bit counts.
Build Buzz For The Next Week
We’ve talked about building buzz before, but it deserves a little more explanation. Your church is a brand and just like any other brand, you have to get people excited about it. People tend to have short attention spans, so if your brand isn’t engaging them right now, they might move on to the next shiny thing they see.
The trick is to ensure the church stays the shiny object all week long. A few fun ways to build buzz to improve member attendance include:
- Sending out brain teasers
- Sending out hints that tease about the upcoming sermon
- Ask for notes about what members want to discuss
- Release cute one-liners every few days on social media to make people laugh
- Post pictures of church staff hard at work
- Create comics that revisit the last week’s sermon in humorous ways
While this is far from an exhaustive list, it does give you some starting points. Get creative. The idea is to have fun. After all, who wouldn’t want to come back to a church that focuses on keeping members happy and uplifted all week long?
Turn Services Into Experiences
Think about the stereotypical church service. You come in, say “hi” to a few friends, sit on a hard pew, listen to someone talk for an hour or so and then you say “bye” and go home. It’s not exactly a fun experience. It’s no different than sitting at home watching YouTube videos.
Of course, that’s why it’s sometimes so hard to improve member attendance. Members opt out of going to church and stay home to listen to podcasts or watch online sermons instead. It’s just more convenient and doesn’t differ from going to church.
While you don’t have to go overboard with a big stage production, services should feel like experiences. A few ideas include:
- Using subtle scents to lift moods
- Having Q&A sessions
- Incorporate music (both traditional and modern) throughout
- Give members responsibilities
- Create a church app for members to participate during the service
- Walk out among the members versus standing at the pulpit
Make Volunteering Exciting
Members are more likely to attend regularly if they have a real reason. Volunteering is a great reason. When your church is more involved in the community, members feel as if the church as more purpose in their lives. First of all, start by avoiding common mistakes that drive volunteers away. Create opportunities that are fun and meaningful to members and if you notice volunteers burning out, find ways to move them on to new opportunities.
Pass Out A Some Fun
In this instance, something fun might be a snack or beverage that makes members feel special. It’s simple and doesn’t have to cost much. In fact, members may be happy to help donate supplies. For instance, if your church offers coffee that puts Starbucks to shame, members might donate cups, stir sticks and more.
For members that like to bake, give them funds to buy ingredients to make cute cupcakes or brownies. Think of it as a way of saying “thank you” to everyone who attends.
Another idea is to have youth groups create something every week or month for members. It might be a series of haikus related to recent sermons. It could be beautiful artwork. Whatever you offer, make it unique to your church.
This might be easier for smaller churches. However, a great way to improve member attendance is to incorporate games. Consider adding trivia sessions or your own special version of Monopoly or Scrabble. This gets members to interact more and creates a more engaging experience.
Get Members Involved
Finally, just get members involved. Instead of just having them sitting there falling asleep, get them up and moving. Games are a great way to do this. You can also give members responsibilities, such as asking questions or picking out quotes to share on social media. The more involved they feel, the more likely they are to attend regularly.
Member attendance lacking at your church? Start by seeing how engaging your church’s website is and using that as a tool to draw members back in.