Growth By Reaching Lost Families, Not Other-Church Families

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Over the past year and a half, I’ve been noticing a not so great trend in my church.

The vast majority of guests who come to our church are coming from other churches, whether a local or across the country (because of a move).

In other words, very few of our guests have been lost families.

And at our church we want the opposite to be true.

Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, made this comment, speaking specifically about Southern Baptist churches:

“The vast majority of people who’ve ever been baptized by our people are our own offspring. We’ve never been very evangelistic in terms of people who weren’t those to whom we gave birth.”

I’m not even Baptist, but that quotation hits way too close to home.

If your church is reaching more lost families than other-church families, please proceed straight to the comment section and share what you’re doing!

If you’re in the same boat as me, read on to learn 3 things we’re changing to reach lost families (We certainly don’t have the solution, but we are seeing good initial signs).

Decentralize Evangelism

Christian families come to church events; lost families not so much.

There may be some exceptions (point 3 below), but this is certainly true where our church is.

So instead we started pushing evangelism out into the neighborhoods of the families in our church.

And we do it in a very simple way that works within each families’ busy schedules.

Every month we give church families an idea to show love and generosity to lost families, and then we give them something to help.

For example, over the summer we gave each family a $5 gift card to DQ one month, a Redbox code and popcorn another month, a box of cake mix with icing and cupcake liners another month, etc.

And we simply ask families to share the idea with a family that doesn’t know Jesus, and when God opens a door for an invitation to church, go for it.

Get contact information for kids who come without parents

The biggest exception to the trend of growth through other-church families instead of lost families is when our church kids bring friends.

We’ve noticed that a lot of the time these friends know little or nothing about God or the Bible (they’re truly lost), and their parents don’t come with them (because church makes them uncomfortable or they don’t think it’s relevant or worth their time).

We’ve also noticed that these friends are almost always once-and-done guests, never to be seen again.

So our number 1 goal when a church kids brings a friend is to get a phone number for that friend’s parents.

We start by asking the guest kid if he or she knows their parent’s number.

If they don’t know, we ask the parents of the church family who brought the friend.

Between the 2, we can almost always get at least one parent’s name and number.

Then on Monday, we simply text the parent using a template similar to this:

Hey [parent’s first name], this is Pastor Brandon from Centerpointe Church. I wanted to let you know we loved having [child’s name] at church yesterday. I also wanted to check if you had any questions about [his/her] experience or if there’s anything we can do to serve your family? I hope you have a great week, and we’d love to see [kid’s name] again!

When you do events, make them 100% lost focused

I know it sounds like I’m contradicting myself here, but I’m not talking about doing a church event.

I’m talking about doing a community event.

And yes I get that whenever a church does an event, the community is invited, but churches don’t always think about what the community actually wants.

Let me give an example:

Halloween: Many churches throw a Halloween event with games, candy, giveaways, etc, but the lost community is predominantly participating in trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods. The community is invited to the church event, but the event really isn’t for the community.

Something we’re looking to do within the next year is an event in partnership with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes where local pro-athletes come, sign autographs, give their testimonies, and at the end give a Salvation invitation.

Families are absolutely crazy into youth sports in our area; therefore it’s an event not predominantly for Christian kids but for the lost community.

These are 3 things we’re doing (or working toward in the future) to truly reach lost families.

It’s still a work in progress, but we’re excited about what we’re seeing.

What are you doing that’s working really well to reach lost families? Please leave a comment!

And if this article was helpful, please give it a share on Facebook!

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Brandon Horst

I am passionate about family, especially my amazing wife, Hannah, my daughter, Emery, and my son Tristan. I am also passionate about helping Family Ministry Leaders lead better. I love new ideas, innovation, and collaborating with other leaders to make those ideas and innovations better. I currently serve as the Next Gen Pastor at Centerpointe Church in Fairfax, VA.

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Brandon Horst

I am passionate about family, especially my amazing wife, Hannah, my daughter, Emery, and my son Tristan. I am also passionate about helping Family Ministry Leaders lead better. I love new ideas, innovation, and collaborating with other leaders to make those ideas and innovations better. I currently serve as the Next Gen Pastor at Centerpointe Church in Fairfax, VA.

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