An oft repeated mantra in my world is that new church development serves as the “Research and Development” component for the Church. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. New Church Planters and their people hit upon an innovation (because it is their nature to do so) and it is something that would also work for existing churches.
One of Greater New Jersey’s planters, Rev. Erik Hall, who also contributes regularly to this blog, has coined a term that is helpful for new church contexts or any church contexts. Instead of counting people they way we usually do, i.e. average worship attendance or membership, he talks in terms of “active and consistent participation.” Erik defines this as “a person’s participation in at least one ministry or offering of the church at least twice monthly (or once monthly over at least a quarter year and counting).” Such participation can be seen in worship, but also in other ministries such as hands-on mission opportunities, children’s ministries, or small groups to name just a few. The point is that newcomers to the church come through many doors (as the RETHINK campaign underscores) and we need to count those people regardless of the door they go through to engage in the ministry and mission of the church.
Using this criterion, how many “active and consistent participants” does your church have?