Rebuilding Connection At Your Church Post-COVID with Abby Ecker

Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. This week we’re talking with Abby Ecker, Next Steps Pastor from The Journey in Delaware. She’s with us today to talk about getting people connected and helping them take steps from just attending weekend gatherings to moving into the core of the church.

  • Help people take steps, not leaps. // People have always needed to take small steps rather than leaps, and that’s even more true as we come out of the pandemic. Think about the very small steps that you can encourage your people to take to help draw them back to the community and connection we all need.
  • High tech, high touch, high heart. // Consider how to create high tech, high touch, and high heart experiences. One of the high touch experiences that The Journey did at the beginning of covid was to repurpose their shuttles (previously used for parking) to go around and visit people at their homes. This was a no-contact visit where two team members stood outside the home, passed out some Journey swag, and let people know that they love them and are thinking of them.
  • Basic reaching out. // Many churches may feel that they don’t have the labor or resources to do big mobilization efforts where they are calling every member of the church to check in, or planning huge outreach efforts. The Journey has been there and one simple thing to do is to develop a connections team to do basic outreach and follow-up to those committing their life to Jesus or visiting the church. Make calls to people who decide to get baptized, give, or volunteer. These calls aren’t necessarily about getting people to take more next steps, but rather a way to say thank you, express that you’re thinking about them, and ask how you can pray for them.
  • From seat to serve. // The Journey will be trialing a program called Plugged In, a hybrid customizable experience using both online and in-person elements. Short videos share the vision for the church and how to move out into serving the community. Then for another high-touch experience, people are paired with a coach where they can talk about where they want to serve. Attendees will leave this experience connected to a team and receive follow-up videos that walk through the church’s culture.
  • Ask the right questions. // Coaches for Plugged In are given resources to help them know which questions to ask the people they meet with. Their biggest goal is creating connections with these people through asking the right questions and getting to know them. Coaches function as a neutral connection point and will be the ones to check in after someone’s first serve experience to see how things went.
  • Lead with a clear why and what. // It’s of the utmost importance to lead with a clear “why” and a clear ‘what’. What is the problem you’re trying to solve? Why are you trying to do this event? Are you doing it just to make yourself feel good? When so many things are out of control, our tendency is to control the things we can control, which are often the “hows”. Go forward with a clear “why” and a clear “what” to help lead someone else to the next step.
  • Vision is the currency of leadership. // The “why” only matters if we can identify why it really matters to others. What does it mean to help this other group in the things they need? If you can figure out why they should care and can connect with them, you can move forward in progress.

You can learn more about The Journey at

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Risepointe

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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.