How to Engage Your Church

Jana Gauthier
May 25, 2021

Engaging people in your church or ministry can sometimes be the most challenging part of leading. It's one thing to get people through your doors, it's another to get them to stay and be engaged. Whether you work with teenagers or senior citizens, the problem remains the same. How can we effectively get people to participate in Great Commission life?

Go Where the People Are

Too often in ministry do leaders view reaching a new audience as getting them to interact with their church/program/ministry first. There is a reason they have not already walked into your sphere on their own. This is very true in college ministry. Many churches will say to college ministers that they want to “partner” with them. What this typically means is that they want more college students attending their church. Ultimately, that would be the goal, but first, someone has to go to the university viewing it as a mission field. In America, we’re going to need to rely less and less on people just walking through a church’s or ministry’s door on their own accord.

Cast Compelling Vision

People need to be aligned and motivated by a vision. This is what ultimately compels people to action. While we probably agree that serving in your church should be inherently fascinating, oftentimes it is not presented in a way that helps people connect the dots from what they’re doing and the impact it is having. Your congregants or ministry participants need help seeing that their ministry engagement results in life change for others.  

Be Willing to Change

This can be one of the hardest things when it comes to church or ministry engagement. When a leader is captivated by a vision or an idea, it is challenging to change even if there are no results to show for it. If you are truly wanting to engage more people in your mission, you must be willing to pivot and change. This does not mean you must change your ultimate vision, it simply means you take a different approach. Be willing to hear feedback, regularly review results and keenly listen to the Holy Spirit.

Use Data and Set Metrics

A church or ministry without goals is a drifting ship. A common occurrence for leaders in these areas is to be focused on too many things and not have clearly defined goals. In order to determine these, you must gather data and utilize metrics. Things like, how many people are involved in small groups versus how many people attend a Sunday service will help you to lead, make the necessary adjustments and evaluate. Without accurate data it is difficult to really know where your church or ministry stands and it will be really difficult to evaluate effectiveness.

Set Goals and Regularly Evaluate

Similarly to using data and metrics, you must also set goals and regularly evaluate them. As I said above, you must have goals in order to get somewhere and you need them to stay focused on the important things you’re trying to accomplish. Set regular times into your calendar of when you will sit down and evaluate your progress and effectiveness. Once a year is not enough. It sounds simple to want more people involved in your volunteer or service projects, but without goals (and definitely without data), it will be hard to ever see growth there.

Be Transparent about Your Needs

People don’t know what the needs are if you don’t tell them. Regularly talk about ways for people to engage with your church or ministry. Make sure you cast vision as to why these things are important and what purpose they serve. People are interested in filling roles that satisfy a need.

Know Your People

You need to know who has stepped through your doors in order to engage them. Many churches and ministries assume what people want or need without actually knowing. If you’re genuinely interested in engaging people, you’re going to have to know their interests well enough to offer them organic ways to participate.

Stay Organized

It can be incredibly difficult to keep people and events organized but, in order to stay on track with your goals, keep the necessary data and be able to regularly evaluate, you’re going to need a system. Keeping communication, events, people, and more is going to be key to successfully engage people in your church or ministry.

It’s a challenging task to engage American, 21st-century church or ministry participants, but the future of the Church relies on it. While we exist in a post-Christian culture, God is still at work and wants to engage more people in His great Mission. We as the body of Christ will need to be innovative in adapting the ways we reach people for society today.

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