Thank you for joining this episode of the unSeminary podcast. We’re speaking with Greg Curtis, the Director of Assimilation at Eastside Church in Orange County, California.
We’re talking with Greg today about the importance of developing a ministry-wide strategy for assimilation that is used throughout your church.
- Second-nature strategies. // As Eastside Church has launched new campuses and grown, so has the work of connecting all the new guests they’ve come in contact with. As the central Director of Assimilation, Greg oversees all of the processes and strategies that Eastside is using, which are identical at all of their campuses. Using the same system regardless of the location and congregation means the system has to be scaleable so it will multiply properly wherever it is executed.
- Assimilation strategy. // “Assimilation” is not a department or even ministry at your church, but rather it is a strategy that every department uses. An assimilation strategy that is well-crafted and has a support person (full-time or part-time staff or even a volunteer) is a more organic way of approaching ministry. However, the work of connecting can’t just depend on a staff person, or even on a team. It has to depend on a process that’s become automatic and a strategy that every department in the church uses which becomes almost second nature so that connection just happens. Without a uniform system, department silos occur, guests fall through the cracks, and it creates competition between departments.
- Tables instead of rows. // The strategic power of environment is going to get you where you want to go. A lot of people may think the best way to connect is to have a class on connection and tell attendees to connect. But what if you create an environment where they actually do connect? Instead of sitting in rows, have them sit at tables so that they can sit and talk with each other.
- Faith, fun, and friends. // Greg shares that the environment at Eastside which is created so new people can connect with each other focuses on faith, fun, and friends. The faith aspect includes trainings that will help them in their walk with Jesus and connecting with the church. During the time together, use elements of fun with competitions and weird activities that reinforce the trainings, but also allow people sitting together at tables to win prizes. And have you created an environment where they can make new friends? As new guests share tables together, build in discussion time with questions that aren’t too personal, but create connection and commonalty between people.
- Think about your environment. // What’s causing your guests to return to your church in the first place? It’s the environment that was created when they stepped out of their car, when they walked in, when they experienced God with your community. There was something about your environment that worked for them. Be intentional and attentive about creating an environment of connection for your guests. When you highlight your special event for new guests, promote what the people will experience not the content that will be covered. It’s so easy to promote what people will learn when you’re telling guests about a class, but purpose isn’t the selling point. Instead tell them what the experience is.
- Online course. // Greg has launched an online course to help churches better understand assimilation and connection. It is a 6 session course, with each session about 30-40 minutes long. The first episode in the course covers the role of assimilation and spiritual formation in church environments. The second is about processes and metrics. The last four episodes are about the four components of assimilation 1 place, 1 program, 2 processes, 2 placements. Greg also offers a free checklist that goes along with the course on his website.
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Purpose Driven Church Conference
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