An Assimilation Check-Up

Posted by Nelson Searcy on 9/11/18 7:12 AM
Nelson Searcy


(Boyd's note:  My friend, Nelson Searcy, has taught thousands of pastors how to do assimilation and written the clearest book out there on it.  I asked him to do a guest blog this week to help us begin to think about evaluating our assimilation process.)

With the Big Days of Fall right around the corner — NOW is the time for a little Assimilation evaluation. You’ll want to make the most of the increase in new people you’ll be seeing in the next few weeks.

How many of those will be sticking around?

The fastest way to see immediate growth in your church is through refreshing your Assimilation system! Creating an environment that makes your first-time guests feel both welcomed and respected is key to winning a return visit and beginning the process of assimilating them well.

Definition time: Assimilation is the process used to encourage first-time guests to keep coming back to church until they accept Christ and commit themselves to a local church.

I challenge you to spend time now getting real with your Assimilation System. Be honest about how well it’s working and what kind of improvements you need to make. It’s time to key in to your church’s vital signs.

A healthy ratio of first-timers to regular attenders is 5/100, or five guests for every one hundred regulars.

Ratio of First-Time Guests to Regular Attenders

3/100 = a church in maintenance mode

5/100 = a steadily-growing church

7 to 10/100 = a rapidly-growing church

The real question from here is: “What’s happening to those who do visit?” To keep a gauge on how well you’re keeping on top of your Assimilation System, try asking yourself these questions to start:

  • How many first-time guests do we average each week?
  • How many first-time guests have come back for a second visit to our church?
  • How many new people are we retaining?
  • When is our next membership class?
  • Do we have enough events to keep them connected?
  • What will be our process to retain our first-time guests?
  • Are we regularly sending out handwritten notes within the first 96 hours of a person’s first visit to our church?
  • Am I praying for my first-time guests each week? Am I praying for God to entrust us with even more?

When God blesses you with guests, you need to make sure you’re doing your part to give them unhindered access to learning His truth!

For a step-by-step guide on how to measure your Assimilation rate and develop your Assimilation system, check out Nelson’s best-selling book, Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully Engaged Members of Your Church. Click here to pick up the revised and expanded 10th Anniversary Edition.


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