I recently read an article that made sense to me as a church leader. The author of the article is a Church consultant who helps Churches make moves toward growth and outreach. He stated that one problem many Churches can have on Easter is to celebrate the crowd and ignore the connections.
This Sunday will be one of the 2 or 3 largest attendance Sundays of the year. Currently a Christmas program, especially with children, will surpass Easter. For our Church we have our closing program for Vacation Bible School which surpasses every other Sunday in total attendance. With that said, Easter Sunday is still one of the biggest days of the year for the Church in its celebration but also in the number of people attending.
It is an exciting time for the Church as we see old friends and so many new faces. As a result the first question I am asked by our regular Church attendees is, “How many people did we have?” We want to celebrate the fact the we had so many at Church this one day.
The sad thing for most Church leaders is that we know what is coming the next Sunday. Attendance will drop back to the average and sometimes it will actually drop even lower. The large group will disappear and few people will return.
This author suggested that maybe Churches are focused on the wrong thing. We get excited about all these new people being there that one Sunday instead of focusing on getting connected to these new people.
Which is better? 100 new people who boost the Church to its highest Sunday attendance ever but only 5 return in the next month. 50 new people in attendance and we set no records but 25 people return the next month.
Clearly I would think the second is better in the long run. How about you?
If this is true, how about we spend more time this Sunday talking to strangers instead of about them? How about we invite people into our lives and maybe for a meal instead of running out with family and forgetting our guests at the door? How about we invite people to come back instead of just thanking them for attending? How about we make a connection with someone instead of celebrating the crowd?
This Sunday let’s celebrate every connection we make far above how many people are in attendance. I think the Church will have a greater impact when we focus on individuals instead of the group.