One topic of discussion at almost every leadership meeting for more than a year has been the infrequency in which people come to Sunday morning worship. Just 20 years ago the average was for people to go to worship three out of four Sundays a month. Now the numbers are more like one in four each month. The numbers are dropping, and Church community is becoming increasingly difficult to cultivate as a leader.
But today instead of challenging you to attend more, laying on a guilt trip or searching for ways to improve the numbers, I am going to accept them. I recognize that for some people Church attendance will merely be less frequent for legitimate reasons. If that is the case, let me offer a few ways to stay connected.
1. Schedule to attend as much as possible. I suggest at the beginning of each month you look at your calendar and decide to attend every Sunday you are able.
2. Use social media. Our Church has Facebook, and we post updates, announcements, and information almost daily. We are looking for people to help us add other formats to keep every generation connected. If your Church does not have social media, then start it yourself.
3. Listen to the sermon. Every week I post the sermon from Sunday online, usually by evening on the day it was preached. That means that if you miss worship, you can still hear what the preacher is teaching. Once again, if your Church does not have this, then maybe you can provide it. I have a minister friend who has a person record the sermon on an iPad and then uploads it to YouTube every week.
4. Sign up for information. Our Church has a monthly email newsletter. You contact the office, and your name goes on a list. It is really just that easy. Most Churches I know have some kind of monthly communication whether it be print or digital.
5. Find out about a prayer team. Our Church has an email prayer team. Requests are submitted and emailed out immediately. Several of our older adults who do not use email has added a phone call list as those requests hit email. One way or the other everyone can stay updated on the needs of others.
6. Group life. Many Churches offer small groups to help people connect. Currently, we have two Sunday school classes and a Bible study for women. This does not need to be something formal created by the Church. Find a group of other believers and get connected in any way you can from game nights to special interest groups, to exercise buddies, or just hanging out over coffee.
I hate the direction that participation in worship is headed, but most Churches are working hard to help you connect. With a little effort, you can still be a part of a community even when you are separated for a season. How else have you found to stay connected to the body of Christ?