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Beyond the First Year

The first 12 months are critical in closing your church's back door. But, what's the long-term goal? It's more than just getting families through the first year. Actually, Jesus gave this goal to us:"Go…and make disciples."

I believe a "disciple" and an "involved church member" are synonymous, or they should be. If we can define an involved church member, then we can get our arms around the command to go and make disciples. And, when we think about closing the back door, one thing seems reasonable-involved families don't usually drop out.

What defines an involved church member? Here's a starting list. Think about the parents and families in your ministry. How many are "involved church members"?

Characteristics of Involved Church Members

What do involved church members look like?

1. They have friends in the church. People who are active in their church have friends. People who don't have friends usually aren't around for long. How many friends do your parents have with other parents? How many friends do your kids have?

2. They attend worship regularly. Sharing in meaningful worship provides the central activity in which involved members participate. What percentage of the new families in your children's ministry attend worship at least twice a month?

3. They're involved in a fellowship group. Very few people who are involved in small groups drop out of church. Groups are great places to build relationships between new and old members, kids and adults. And, since it's hard to "break into" existing groups (where friendship are already established), it is important to start new small groups each year.

4. They identify with their church's goals. How many parents with kids in your children's ministry could list at least two of the goals you have set for the coming year? How many identify with and join in reaching those goals?

5. They're growing spiritually. All Christians should feel they're moving in a Christ-like direction on their own pilgrim's progress. Have you ever asked your parents and kids how they are doing in their walk with Jesus?

6. They have a meaningful church ministry. One of the best ways to make friends is to share in a common project. Involvement in a meaningful aspect of children's ministry will help "outsider" parents become insiders.

7. They give financially to the church. "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be, also" (Matthew. 6:31). Financial support increases a person's involvement in any endeavor. Are your parents supporting your children's ministry? Do they have a specific project they're giving to? Providing giving opportunities will benefit the families as much as the church.

8. They bring others to Christ. As any businessperson knows, satisfied customers tell their friends. Satisfied church members do, too. Are new kids beginning to bring their friends? Are parents inviting other parents to their new church?


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