By: Doug Parks on August 29, 2016
Why the Connection Card Isn’t Working at Your Church
Many churches use a response card of some type as a tool for communication and connection, both with newcomers and existing members who want to learn more about a program or ministry. In our work at Intentional Churches, we're in churches of all sizes and types and have seen many variations. There is the bulletin insert, the attendance card in the back of the pew (one side for members, one side for non-members), and the simple program tear-out.
Few churches have a great system for responding to connection cards, but then again, some do. We were recently installing a GrowthPlan in a church with a great, volunteer-driven response system. This church had clear steps mapped out, including who, how, and when someone would respond, and a process for tracking every response.
But something wasn’t right. Many new people came through the door each week, but few truly engaged. The church simply wasn’t growing and hasn’t grown in while. But what was wrong?
The process for helping people get connected with the church seemed rock-solid:
- Properly highlight and promote the Connection Card (check)
- Follow up with a phone call or text message within 24 hours of receiving a connection card (check)
- Send a postcard within seven days (check)
- A personal touch and follow up again within the next month (check)
But still, the church couldn’t "seal the deal." What was going on?
As we worked through our GrowthPlan with the leadership team, they discovered a simple but significant reality. They had ignored the power of relational touch. Their response system worked like a well-oiled machine. But it lacked the human connection that most people are truly seeking — to know and be known.
The solution was simple for this team. They needed to lower the importance of the connection card and instead focus more on creating opportunities for human connection each and every weekend. As I write, the team is working through solutions. Here are some of the ideas they are kicking around:
- A warm and friendly spot in the lobby for people to hang out and have initial conversations
- An onsite prayer and care ministry available each week during and after services
- A more regular connection event of some type that occurs right after or during services
- Pastoral training for the call team to teach them to listen and connect better
I can't wait to see what they figure out!
Should you consider throwing out the Connection Card? Maybe. But the importance of real connection with the people God draws to your ministry each and every week can’t be underestimated or over-strategized.
What methods does your church use to connect people to the various ministries in your church? What's working, and what's not with your approach?
Join us on Friday, September 16, 2016, in Carmel, Indiana, for Aspen's Pastors Lunch, featuring Doug Parks on "4 Tools to Unleash Your Church's Great Commission Potential."