Most churches desire to increase their membership bases. However, church staff members are typically very busy and can sometimes drop the ball when it comes to helping newcomers feel welcomed. If this is the case at your church, you may want to consider starting a new member’s class. Hosting a class for newcomers is a great way to help them feel connected and get them involved.
Decide the elements you want to focus on in your class. It is a good idea to have a plan so that you will be organized, and the class will be productive. Make an outline of the topics you wish to touch upon, highlighting any key items you plan to discuss. You will want to present this to your pastor for permission. He may want to revise or add to some of your ideas.
Meet with the church secretary and ask about scheduling a room for your meeting. You may also want to speak with her about the possibility of offering child-care for class participants. You will need to determine where the children will be cared for and who will be watching them. You will also need to decide if you want to charge for childcare or offer it for free.
Decide on a time frame for the class. Four weeks is a good length of time. It is long enough to be informative, but it's not an overwhelming length for people who are timid or very busy. You will also want to decide how long each class will be. It is a good idea to limit the class to an hour. This will provide enough time to be informative without overwhelming people. An hour of time is also less of a commitment, a fact that may encourage more people to attend.
Plan out the first meeting. You will want to do some sort of ice breaker to help people feel comfortable. You will also want to focus on a topic for the first week. A good topic for the first week is to offer an explanation of what the church believes. Different denominations can differ in their beliefs on things like baptism and music. You will want to explain the stance your church has on these topics. Additionally, Christian churches emphasize the need to accept Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior. It's imperative to explain that to the new members.
Plan to discuss the history of your church in your second meeting, as well as the future if you are planning to move or grow. This will help give new members an understanding of what you hope for the future of the church.
Use the third meeting to inform the new members of ways to get involved in the church through serving, attending social events or signing up for a Bible study. You will also want to inform people of things the church has to offer such as child-care, preschool and counseling services. Offering ways to get involved will help newcomers get connected.
Use the final class to hold a Question and Answer session for the newcomers to ask what they want. You may also want to end the sessions by offering membership to the church.
Advertise your new member’s class in the Sunday bulletin and on the big screen if your church has one. Make sure you include your contact information and a deadline for people to sign up by. You will also want to inform the church greeters and information desk workers about your class; they can help spread the word.
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Based in Orlando, Fla., Michaela Davila has been writing poetry, short stories, resumes and advertising materials for years. She has recently been published in the Dollar Stretcher and Devozine. Davila has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Elon University and is a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst.