People come to your church for a wide variety of reasons. But there’s one thing that will cause them to stay – close, meaningful friendships.

 

Being friendly to visitors is a start, but to truly nurture personal relationships among your congregation, you need to create a church culture that deliberately connects people to each other. If you do, you’ll strengthen not just your church, but also the faith of everyone who’s a part of it.

 

Here’s how you can create a culture of connectivity at your church:

 

Help people feel like they belong.
Emphasize to all your church members and staff the importance of communicating love, acceptance, and respect to everyone who walks through your church’s doors. Enlist volunteers to serve as greeters to warmly welcome visitors. Get to know people’s names and engage them in conversation in non-threatening ways that demonstrate genuine interest in their lives.

 

Move visitors from “outsider” to “insider” status as soon as possible.
Bring people into the church fold by helping them join Bible studies and other groups and encouraging them to participate in ministries without having to join the church first.

 

Create affinity groups.
Form groups of people who share common interests, such as groups for animal lovers, cooking enthusiasts, or car buffs. As people who share an affinity for a certain topic participate in their passion together, they can develop deep relationships with each other over time and begin to grow spiritually as a result.

 

Encourage volunteering.
Give people plenty of opportunities to use their talents to support the church and its surrounding community. Help them discover what their talents are and motivate them to serve in their areas of giftedness. Expect that volunteers will form close friendships while serving together, and that those friendships will increase their satisfaction level at your church.

 

Eat meals together.
Provide regular opportunities for your congregation to share meals. Host potluck lunches or dinners and special parties (with pizza or ice cream) at the church. Encourage people to open their homes on a rotating basis for meals within small groups. Plan to church outings to various local restaurants. Know that the practice of eating together is a natural way to foster meaningful conversations that lead to close friendships.