Did you know that 48% of people join a church because they have family or friends in the congregation? (Pew Research Study, Oct, 2016) Or that Millennials who have a relationship with an adult inside the church are twice more likely to stay connected to the church than those who don’t? (Barna Group, Sept, 2013)
While making connections may not directly cause church membership, it does play a vital role in building a sense of community. Our Discovering PUMC ministry helps pave the way for visitors and newcomers to build those connections so they feel welcomed, engaged, and involved.
Organized quarterly by Misty Standifer, visitors and newcomers are invited to lunch after worship to learn about everything Prosper UMC can offer their family in a church home. Guests meet the pastors, adult Sunday school representatives, ministry coordinators, and leaders of youth and children’s programs. Misty also prepares informational packets; collaborates with Trudy Lindgren, who purchases and sets up the food; and with Carol Canterbury, who helps serve and host the meeting.
The time is well spent. Exactly 50% of last year’s new members took Pastor Jason up on his invitation to join right then and there at the Discovering PUMC luncheon. After they met church leaders in a more casual setting, asked their most pressing questions, and talked about what they were looking for in a church home, they said, “Why not join now?”
Discovering PUMC holds a key to developing community. Relationships have formed there. As Carol commented, “Several say ‘hi’ to me when they see me again. And since I’ve gotten to know them, I feel more comfortable inviting them to Sunday school or an upcoming event.” But, that’s not the end of the story. Those attending complete a personal profile indicating interests in programs or areas of service. Misty emails church coordinators about the guest’s interests to ensure those connections are made as well.
Trudy, Carol, and Misty,
Thank you for all you do to help visitors and newcomers feel part of the Prosper UMC family. It takes many hands to ensure guests feel welcomed. Your ministry through Discovering PUMC makes a difference in them getting connected and involved. We appreciate your hospitality and commitment.
With love, Your Church