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Did you know two things can fix your church’s attendance problem?

It’s no surprise that the American Church has been losing attendance for a while. The numbers can be depressing if you find your validation in people coming to the Sunday event… if you do, check this community out!
A Friend of mine told me the attendance statistics coming out of one of the largest Churches in America. If I told you the church’s name you would recognize it. Their lead pastor has written several books and is considered one of the highest-profile Christian leaders in America. Before the Pandemic, people were attending one of their multisite 1.4 times monthly. A few weeks ago it was down to .8 times monthly. If people are coming to hear one of the best communicators in the country, less often than ever before, then my guess is you are asking a very unnerving question: are any of us safe?
Our methodology of church was built for a society that doesn’t exist anymore: when people had to ride into town away from their work on a farm, listen to the words of scripture because they weren’t literate, and center their week on one day in which everyone came together to connect with each other. I call this the Centralized Paradigm. Our amazing buildings were the platforms we used to share our content with the masses and to house our people as they connected with each other.

But now we don’t go-to platforms, platforms come to us.

Now, think of all the apps that were once entire businesses that we walked into. Amazon. Walmart. Shoot, I can lock my car door a country away right on my phone. Good luck trying to steal it. And think of how we can connect! My mother who lives in Missouri regularly FaceTimes my children, where we live in Arizona. I have college friends that have moved three or four times, and still, we connect via Instagram, TikTok, and other messaging apps. I have friends in India I can regularly have a conversation with at any time through any number of communities.
So, with all the possibilities to connect and consume content, it’s no wonder that we are seeing a drop in attendance.
So how can our churches fix our low attendance?
Now, we don’t go-to platforms, platforms come to us.
Two things can fix our attendance problem:

Quit thinking that attendance is synonymous with connection.

We can create multiple avenues to connect before people even come to the building, now. If we get good at connecting with people in the midst of their everyday lives, then it will drive attendance numbers up. Attendance is a lag metric of connection. Michael Todd created an avenue for others to connect with Transformation Church and it exploded in a day when many are dying. The truth is you can do this too. Most people are hanging out online via social media or other messaging apps. What if your church harnessed the power of social media to create an ability to connect with others despite time and geography? Overnight you could 10X the reach capacity of your church. It is possible for you to create a place where people who can’t make it to Sunday worship be as connected and engaged (maybe even more so) as the people in the seats. When you begin to think this way as a church, growth becomes a byproduct of connecting.

Re-establish personal development as the church’s main product.

Now, Jesus modeled that it was developing others that was the win for the Church, not how many people came to hear us speak. Although, many did come to hear him speak, Jesus focused the majority of his time training and coaching twelve men. Churches are faith communities built to train developers to develop others. Through Learning Management Systems and apps like Zoom and social platforms like MightyNetworks now we can focus 80% of our time doing the main thing too: developing people so they can develop others. It’s not that gaining a crowd is a bad thing… but it’s not the main thing. It’s not about the crow; it’s what you do with the crowd once you have them.
Focusing on recovering Attendance actually hurts the long-term viability of our churches. The best thing we can do is focus on using digital technology in a way that furthers the Great Commission. When we focus on The Great Commission and amplify our focus through digital technology, we will create a vibrant community that can gain a bigger crowd than you have today, but it will also build a more sustainable community actually accomplishing the mission God called your church to.

If you would like to know more on how to create a cohesive digital strategy for your church, let me know by clicking here!

chestly

chestly

Chestly Lunday is on the cutting edge of innovation in the religious non-profit sector, co-founding the Digital Church Network, connecting and coaching innovative church leaders all over the world. Chestly is highly regarded as an international speaker, coach, and consultant helping people defeat futility in life and the workplace. Having given over 1000 unique presentations, he has worked with Leadership Network, NewThing Network, and denominations such as the Assemblies of God, the Christian Reformed Church, The Reformed Church in America, The Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the North American Mission Board as well as multiple businesses and startups. Chestly’s insights help church leaders build a cohesive strategy around digital community and discipleship.

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