Grace Institute News

July 27, 2011

invited or welcomed     

When we built our first building, we had a plan to have a monthly "fellowship event" each month for a year as a church growth strategy. These would be entertaining, high quality, and very attractive (we thought) to new people and possibly the community at large. We advertised, did personal invitations, and put a lot of energy into trying to encourage new people to take part in these events, hoping that they would then feel a part of the congregation. For four months we tried this approach and found that the same people came who had always participated in all-church functions before and hardly any new people took part. What had we done wrong? Were the events not compelling enough? Had we not done enough inviting? Had we picked the wrong themes? Were we misreading the demographics?
We had to do something! So we had a strategy meeting to alter our course and decided to try a different approach. Instead of trying the "attractional" model, we decided to use an "involvement" model. We started asking newer people to bring a table setting, help in the kitchen, act as a greeter, bring a dish, help set up or take down, have a small part in the program, etc. All things that weren't huge investments and were simple to do. And lo and behold, the participation in these activities changed! More people attended. People who hadn't been very connected to our church became involved and connected.

We had missed a significant truth. Involvement comes with buy-in. People who have been a part of the planning or execution of something also feel a part of it. It wasn't about counting noses to see how many people we could attract. It was about how many people got involved. Relationships began to form, investment in ministry went up, and we learned something important: Connection comes with investment, not just being invited.

lunch and learn

Questions and Answers about WORSHIP


View the half hour session this Thursday,  anytime between 11 am-1 pm Central time 


go to

pushing stone uphill 

Got questions about getting unstuck?


Send your questions to  

by July 31 and we will spend the next lunch and learn (on August 4) answering YOUR questions.

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Michelle Jenks

Grace Institute

2770 Montgomery Road

Aurora, IL 60504