Bring Church to People

Bring church to people

Evangelism. It’s curious to me that beyond how uncomfortable we are with the meaning of this word (maybe because of that?), we’ve essentially reduced it to trying to bring people to church.

Invite a friend. Share your sermon. Give people the livestream link. Have an inquirer’s class or a new member event.

All of these are great ideas, but they’re focused on one thing: the result is, hopefully, people will join our church, or at least worship with us.

It’s not working.

Even though there are some communities growing in size, the growth is not fast enough to make up for the loss. And the likelihood is that new members to your church are coming from someone else’s church, which makes overall membership stable at best.

It’s not our fault.

The rapidly changing world and the declining institutional church system has made it almost inevitable that people will not feel inclined to come to our churches. After all, they’re not going to the office! And even if they are, all our lives have been fully reimagined by the digital, ‘on-demand’ age that we live in. Even if we resist it, the ways we gather and connect have changed.

If there’s one thing we really need to think about when it comes to the future of church, it’s how we bring church to people.

It’s time to reimagine what it means to share the Good News of the love of God more fully in the world.

1. Content

Traditional congregational life is mostly about programs: gather people with an agenda to do something together - Bible study or children’s activities or serving the community. These kinds of programs are dwindling in energy and participation, though.

Bringing church to people is about content. Take the essence of the program (Bible study resources, children’s activity supplies, a list of community needs) and put it directly in people’s hands, whether they’re coming to church or not. Put them online and make them available for everyone.

2. Community

The critique of content is often that it disperses community. One of the great gifts of the church is the gathering of the faithful.

But why do they gather?

For so many centuries, the reason that people come to church was self-evident: generations were brought up in the faith, and church provided a place for them to gather, worship, pray, and be in relationship with each other and God.

Today, with generations not brought up in the faith, and fewer and fewer seeing the reason to come to church, sharing content becomes a very important tool for community formation.

Content reaches people where they are (probably not in church), and engagement with that content gives people a reason to gather with others doing the same thing. Maybe they won’t gather in church, but community will start forming in new ways.

3. Consistency

People know where to find your church building. It’s in the middle of town, or at the crossroads of two rural highways, or it’s tucked in the corner of your neighborhood. It can be seen. It probably also has a sign, a website, and a social media presence.

But what if most people only know your church by its online presence? Then in order to be seen and known, people need to know where to find it. And online, being found is about consistent presence. Posting content on a regular basis, commenting and answering questions. Making a true space in the digital world.

Bringing church to people is finding people where they are. And where they are is online.

4. Commitment

No one like change. There’s so much grief around the declining institutional church. We have so much history with our buildings, and traditional worship and faith formation.

We don’t have to give up what we love about church.

AND - the future of church depends upon us also being committed to sharing our faith, in new places and ways.

It’s not easy. We may not see the fruits of our labor for a long time. But there is no higher goal than sharing the love of God with those who need it most.

Are you ready to reimagine your ministry? There's never been a better time.

Join our Community: Bring Church to People, and sign up for a Visioning Session today.

Leave a Comment