Four Principles for Maximizing Your Church Engagement Efforts
The impact of your ministry is largely dependent upon your capacity to form strategic partnerships with churches. You believe the Church is the answer to the problem your organization is trying to solve, but you’re struggling to get the ear of a busy pastor, navigate through the complicated structures of various church ministry departments or are just having a hard time helping churches see how they can truly make an impact through the work you are doing.
We get it.
And, of course there’s more than four ways to approach churches and certainly more than four principles to consider. But based on our work with organizations all around the country, we believe if you at least start with these four you’ll see a shift – doors will open, conversations will happen, partnerships will form and impact will be multiplied over time. So let’s start with those four…
A good guide helps the main character solve a problem. They position themselves primarily as the giver of help, not the recipient of it. When it comes to your organization’s church engagement strategy, it’s important to assume the role of “guide” for the church – helping them to learn, grow and take their next best steps forward. In other words, make it clear – this is more about them as a church than it is about you as an organization.
Sometimes the problem we’re trying to solve feels really big, and as a result the churches we’re trying to motivate to solve those problems feel very overwhelmed, and small. Part of effectively engaging churches includes making the big problem feel small for them — in such a way that they can see it, understand it, grasp on to it and engage it more effectively.
It’s been said that sometimes what feels like resistance is often just a lack of clarity. Likely, your church partners sometimes need clarity more than they need convincing. As their guide you should provide direction and very practical next steps in such a way that they know where they’re going with you, why you’re going there with you and how you’re going to get there together.
Some churches will need to learn to walk before they can run; others are already sprinting. Your engagement strategy should provide a variety of “on-ramps” for churches to engage, from simple low-hanging-fruit opportunities to more time intensive levels of commitment. These on-ramps are ultimately less about strategy and more about stewardship – being a good guide for your churches by meeting them where they are and helping them take their next steps forward.