Beyond weekly services: Effective ways to engage and connect with families

Weekly worship services are the heart of any church. This is a key opportunity for member engagement, but what about during other times of the week? There are so many more ways to connect with members through fun events and exciting activities.

A recent Lifetouch Church Directories survey found there are many ways religious organizations are inspiring meaningful engagement with members beyond weekly services. The most popular results can help you refine and refresh the efforts at your organization.

Engagement opportunity 1: Fellowship events

An impressive 24 percent of respondents said that fellowship events are the most effective way to engage current members outside of services. Fellowship can mean any activity that brings people together with the main goal of mingling, bonding and connecting. A popular and simple-to-implement fellowship event is coffee hour before or after services. This casual time together allows families to meet and enjoy a cup of java. Other fellowship events could include concerts, potlucks and bingo.

Engagement opportunity 2: Volunteer opportunities

Tied for the top response, 24 percent noted volunteer opportunities were effective ways to engage members outside of services. This could mean having people join a club or simply help when needed for things like decorating buildings, gardening outdoors or helping out in the nursery. It could also mean planning a one-time volunteer event, such as hosting a food drive or holiday gift drive. Volunteering is completely customizable based on members' interests and is the perfect way to give back and make an impact.

Engagement opportunity 3: Small groups

Joining a group has many benefits for members. It's a way to learn, connect with others and socialize regularly. This is probably why 19 percent of respondents noted small groups are an effective way to engage with members. Small groups can help form powerful friendships and really make church feel more like family. This could be a Bible study group, book club, crafting club, age-specific group that does a particular activity, etc. If there are two or more people who want to get together to focus on a church-approved activity, you have the beginnings of a small group!

Of course there are many other ways to connect with members besides the top three results from the survey. Other ways might include religious education groups, family events, sponsored excursions and even mission trips. Try different outreach efforts to see which are most effective with your members and don't be afraid to ask what they'd like to see more of. You'll be surprised how many bright ideas they'll come up with!


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