- If a church wants to grow, retention of people is massive. It’s no good having a huge wide open front door if the back door is the same. Let’s take an example. Let’s say a church of 250, over the next 10 years, dreams of doubling to 500. If they retain 3/10 new visitors who show up and give them a go they would need a total of 834 new people in that period (or 84 a year) to eventually add the extra 250 (actually it’s probably more than that factoring in existing people who leave). If they could retain 7/10 they would need 357 new people in the same period (or 36 a year). Attraction isn’t enough. Retention is the game.
- So . . . how do you go about retaining people. Osborne argues that home-groups are key – get 70% of your folk into a homegroup and velcro them in. [nb. he also argues that the best children’s ministry is a quality adult ministry – amen to that.]
- Home-groups should discuss the Sunday sermon – result: people more attentive, increased note-taking, applied discussion, worshipful prayer, more stuff sticks – result: growing disciples – winner.
- Don’t keep adding lots of new people to existing booming groups; start new groups for new attenders
- What to look for in leaders – spiritual warmth, relational warmth – ask for recommendations, not volunteers.
- Who to avoid for leader roles – hyperspiritual God-talkers, single issue crusaders
Here are some of his home-group leader training topics
- Learning to listen
- Asking good questions
- How to run the meeting
- Group prayer times
- Study tools
- Dealing with loudmouth
- Caring for the flock
- Summer sabbath
- Motivation – push, pull, or plead?
- Active listening
- Balance – Covey’s four quadrants
- Study tools
- Book reviews
- Handling the crisis
- Emotional intelligence
- Dealing with the crusader
It’s one of the most helpful books I’ve read on this subject and certainly repays the time investment.