For our purposes assimilation is the process of intentionally helping first time guests become fully engaged members of your local church. This is the first of eight blog posts on how church management software, specifically Churchteams, can help you manage this process. Not just once, not just occassionally, but every time over the long haul.
Evangelism. Overlapping assimilation on the front end is the process of evangelism. I say overlapping because evangelism is often a precursor to someone becoming a first time guest. Yet it often includes a process designed to help seeking guests understand a Biblical worldview that ends and begins with a choice to surrender their lives to follow Jesus.
Discipleship. Overlapping assimilation on the back end is discipleship. In most churches surrender to and identity with Christ is a prerequisite to membership. Once steps toward a membership commitment are made, there is still the process of getting them involved usually in some type of small group or ministry team. This process is both assimilation and discipleship. But, when a person finds community and/or ministry, the process of discipleship has often just begun.
Assimilation. For those who don't know Christ assimilation is the bridge between evangelism and discipleship. But for those who do know Christ when they first attend, assimilation introduces them to the church's discipleship strategy and their participation in it. Once a person gets involved, they are considered assimilated. This probably isn't the best word to describe being enfolded into the body of Christ, but it has become a common word to help churches communicate and learn from each other about a primary administrative process. When it comes to thinking about software it helps us clearly see that we are engaged in a process for spiritual development.
Mobilizing software to help with assimilation starts by understanding and even flow-charting the assimilation process. To do this, you must first identify the pools (steps, events, decisions, classes) your church offers to help people discover their place. After this, you will want to determine the benchmarks that will help you track people through this process. These are the topics of our next two blogs.