From 1,000 to 2,000 in 1,000 Days: Understanding New Guest Metrics

Today, we’re continuing our series on how your church can expand from 1,000 to 2,000 members in just 1,000 days. We’re focusing on the practical steps and metrics essential for managing such significant growth without overburdening your team or losing touch with the community’s needs. This discussion builds on our ongoing series, where we explore strategic engagement of new guests to achieve a sustainable and impactful growth rate—a growth rate that outpaces the community’s growth, ensuring that our church not only maintains its presence but also amplifies its influence. Join us as we unpack the crucial metrics that can help us double our congregation size while fostering a welcoming and vibrant church environment.

  • Sustainable Growth Rate: We unpack the “Goldilocks” growth rate that is neither too fast to exhaust the church team nor too slow to impact the community. The ideal growth rate should outpace the community’s growth, ensuring the church gains influence and doesn’t lose ground.
  • Attrition and Growth Metrics: Churches typically face a 15% annual attrition rate, including departures for various reasons—ranging from natural attrition to discontent with church dynamics. A growth of at least 15% annually is necessary to maintain current congregation sizes. However, to achieve a doubling in size, Rich advises targeting specific metrics:
    • 3% Average Documented New Guests Weekly: Aim to attract new guests equivalent to 3% of the church’s size each week.
    • 26% Retention of New Guests: Of the new guests that visit, retaining 26% is crucial to achieving the desired growth.

Focus on New Guest Metrics

  • Average Documented First-time Guests: It’s vital to have documented evidence of first-time guests, which includes obtaining contact information (email, phone number, and ideally a mailing address). This allows for effective follow-up and integration into the church community.
  • Weekly Consistency: The focus should be on consistent weekly engagement rather than sporadic bursts, ensuring that every weekend offers opportunities for newcomers to visit and feel welcomed.

Best Practices for Guest Information Collection

  • Ethical Bribe: Using incentives like mugs, water bottles, or t-shirts as a welcoming gift can encourage guests to provide their contact information.
  • Dedicated “New Here” Area: Churches should have clearly designated areas for new guests, staffed by personable and engaging team members, to make newcomers feel acknowledged and valued.
  • Ongoing Engagement: It’s important to maintain an ongoing strategy for guest engagement, with regular prompts during services and events to remind and encourage participation.

Future Steps: The discussion on retaining 26% of newcomers will continue in future episodes, outlining specific strategies and follow-up actions to help solidify the initial contact and integrate new individuals into the church community.

This episode of the Unseminary Podcast lays down a practical blueprint for church growth, focusing on the crucial first steps of attracting and documenting new guests. With a systematic approach to guest engagement and information collection, churches can set the stage for substantial and sustainable growth, moving towards doubling their congregation in a realistic timeframe. The insights discussed provide actionable strategies that can be implemented to help churches make a significant impact in their communities.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.