Excited. Elated. Overjoyed.
Ruth was all of the above. Ruth Rodriguez is the Associate Pastor of El Tabernaculo, a church of fifty members in New Jersey that I’ve been coaching since June 2015. The Monday after Easter Sunday, I received an email from her asking if I had a few minutes to speak over the phone.
For years, Ruth’s parents, Pastors Freddy and Dolores Rodriguez tried strategy after strategy to take their church to a new level but to no avail. Each attempt was met with disappointment and frustration.
But, this past Easter weekend was different. They doubled their attendance.
Watch the Video Below to find out how….
In the past, El Tabernaculo’s Good Friday presentations would normally attract approximately 35 attendees. But, this year, the church welcomed 50 people in attendance.
For their Easter Sunday services, El Tabernaculo had 119 people walk through their doors. In previous years, attendance on an Easter Sunday would average about 50 people in total. The attendance was double!
So, what did they do differently?
And, how can others replicate their success?
First, let’s take a look at what El Tabernaculo did differently.
In June of 2015, Ruth signed up with Thrive Church Coaching and allowed me the privilege of coaching her in her role as Associate Pastor in a church that was longing to thrive and grow.
Attempting strategy after strategy with no results left her and the pastoral staff with little to no hope. As Ruth’s coach, my role was to ensure that there was hope for El Tabernaculo and that growth was definitely possible.
As her coach, I also felt a great responsibility to challenge the church to Attract, Connect, and Grow their attendees and members.
And, so, Ruth and the pastoral staff rolled up their sleeves and went to work.
They were eager to put into practice these strategies:
STRATEGY #1 – ATTRACTING GUESTS
I highly dislike restaurants with good food and horrible bathrooms. Most people do.
The conditions of your building, your services, and how you greet people, all speak to the attractiveness of your church.
The physical building of El Tabernaculo was in need of a few repairs. I encouraged them to work on the needed repairs to improve the appearance of their building.
So in October 2015, the church made a few repairs to their foyer. [add picture]
After making the investment, they then made an appeal to their congregation to fix their bathrooms. Since the people were able to visually see the improvement the renovated foyer made to their building, they gave above and beyond what was asked. The church collected enough monies to fix the bathrooms and the floors in the main sanctuary.
You have to maintain the quality and cleanliness of your building. Repair, repaint, and reinvest in your building. The quality of your building communicates value to your guests.
STRATEGY #2 – CRAZY FOLLOW-UP
The second strategy we implemented was creating Evangelism teams and an overall culture of evangelism among attendees.
The surrounding community of your church needs to know you are there. Never stop reaching out to your neighborhood.
Ruth took steps to hire a graphic designer and created an attractive flyer representing the church and the services offered. (If you don’t have budget for this, use canva.com – it’s free!)
The design of the flyer is important because it communicates value to those you are trying to attract.
The evangelism teams that were created at El Tabernaculo called everyone who had visited their church in 2015. That is a lot of work, but people always appreciate a call from the church. Ruth and her team coupled the calls with emails and text messaging. The point is that you need a process for connecting with your guests.
El Tabernaculo also implemented my favorite strategy for reaching the lost. They got their congregation to invite their own friends and family. The goal is to mobilize people to become “bringers”. It’s not enough to just invite—you have to figure out ways to bring people to church. For example, invite them to dinner after the service, or offer to pick them up and drop them off. Being a “bringer” means making yourself available to help people overcome their barriers to coming to church.
STRATEGY #3 – HOST GREAT SERVICES
Host services that, yes, welcome God’s presence, but do so in such a way that captivates people’s attention. Use creative arts. Use special lighting. Use video. Use music and instruments.
Ruth and her team were able to establish a dance team that ministered during their Easter Services, and it helped to deliver the message of hope in a way others appreciate and understand.
STRATEGY #4 – FOCUS ON CUSTOMER SERVICE
El Tabernaculo assigned one of their core leaders to oversee the customer service experience. Her role was to work alongside of the ushers and greeters.
The most important reminder the core leader gave the ushers and greeters was to smile. Laugh, enjoy the moment.
“The shortest distance between two people is laughter.” – Anonymous
Strategy #5 – Connection Team
We are all ecstatic they came to church, but the key is will they come back a second time.
You need a connection team that will help you follow up and build a relationship with your first time guests and new commitments.
Question #2: Will this Work For you?
The strategies I laid out above are a result of 3 principles I teach.
Principle #1 – you have to attract Guests… how looks different for every church, but if you are going to reach your community for Christ you have to do something. The “Build It and they will come” approach does not work. You have to invite, compel because the Gospel is the most important message.
Principle #2 – Connect your Guests – once you have guests coming to your church, the next most important step is building trust. Trust is important because we want them to return. We want them to come back. And we want in influence them to take steps towards growing in Christ.
Principle #3 – Grow your guests – this is one strategy we did not discuss above. But El Tabernaculo has created Membership Courses and Leadership development courses to help grow those who they connect with. The goal of growing your Guests is helping them develop a personal desire for Jesus. Not waiting till Sunday to be feed spiritually but daily practicing spiritual disciplines.
But how about you?
Are you ready to take the next step – to take the next leap and begin Attracting, Connecting and Growing guests? Are you ready to start impacting your neighborhood and see new commitments to Christ, connect more first time guests, create a culture of Evangelism in your church?
If so I’d love to offer you and free 20 minute coaching calling.
If you’d like me to help you increase your attendance, connect your guests and grow your church (numerically & spiritually) lets setup a free 20 minute call – “3 Steps To becoming an attractive church.”