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Is Your Church Ready For More Space?
Every Sunday, you take in the view from your pulpit or platform, and gaze at your congregation. You hear the babies cry and spot the regular and new faces in the crowd. You are thankful in what, and who, you see during the year.
Fast forward to Christmas, or Easter. Has the view changed? Most churches see a huge influx of people during the high holy holidays, and that’s to be expected. Holidays have a way of bringing families and people together, and that translates to greater numbers. At least, that’s one explanation.
What is keeping these people, lovingly referred to as, ‘Christmas Christians,’ away from the pews of your old church building the rest of the year? We know they are spiritual enough to come at least on one or two occasions during the year. How do you and your church family embrace these people so you can see them on a regular basis?
Is the solution as simple as solving your space needs? During the year, your flock might fit into your chapel and bunch into fellowship hall for coffee and doughnuts before service. Think to your Christmas, Easter or special service planning. Are those people accommodated properly? I asked some friends and neighbors who don’t consider themselves church-going regulars – what keeps them going during the holiday season?
“I enjoy going to church. It was always a big part of my life growing up,” one woman told me. “But now, we don’t go as much. When we do attend on the holidays, if we don’t show up early, we get put in another room with a video screen for the overflow crowd. That’s not the experience I’m looking for.”
Even though these people, at their own admission, only attend twice a year, they felt cast aside when they did show up, and that prevented them from going every Sunday.
Expanding, or building a new custom metal church building could be a solution to fix these types of issues. Having more space for everyone to enjoy the service could go a long way to bringing a familiar crowd back to worship at any time.
Take a moment to reflect on why people like coming to church on holidays. You share stories of the season that people can resonate with and hold close to the heart. Create a holiday environment all year long by paying attention to some of the other church holidays like Pentecost, Maundy Thursday or Advent. Some churches put on plays and productions to draw an audience on the holidays. These contemporary services feature dramatic performances, and help the congregation visualize a story from the Bible instead of just reading text on paper. If these are the qualities of a service worshipers want to be a part of, then make it happen during the year too!
Maybe it’s not that straightforward. Everyone’s life story and circumstances are different, and require certain finesse. From a newly married couple to a family of five, you’ll need to offer services that benefit each family and make them comfortable, ensuring their return. Make childcare available so parents can appreciate your message without distractions, and offer volunteer opportunities for people to get involved in. How big is your youth group? Kids can be the key to bringing more people into your custom metal church building. More occasions for youth to congregate with their friends and learn about the church missions and objectives can only provide openings to their parents. Children find a reason to come, and the adults follow suit. The closer all parties feel to their spiritual center is a chance to enhance the fellowship in your church.
Don’t think of these as fixes to problems. Church growth is important, and growing the congregation is a hard work. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you might have also read some articles with titles like, “How to grow your church,” or looked through lists with possible solutions. Stay true to the strengths of your church and find out what works best with your gathering. As a church leader, what ways have you been able to reach ‘Christmas Christians?’Photo courtesy: 143d ESC
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