Batavia Emmanuel United Methodist Church
Breakthrough Goal Report: Passionate Worship
Pastor Joe Royer shares their process for reaching their Passionate Worship goal:
The Vision Team (i.e. Leadership Board) at Emmanuel made a goal for 2012. We wanted to average 165 worshipers a week. This was an increase of 10% of 2011’s average attendance mark. We created this goal based on the trends of our growth over the past 7 years, which showed an average of 8% to 12% growth per year.
To reach this goal, we relied on a very strong Disciple Pathway that was established in the Winter of 2009-10. This Pathway sets forth a process by which a visitor may move from being a member of the surrounding community who has never visited Emmanuel to being a fully developed disciple of Jesus. This process has 4 core values (authenticity, relevance, excellence and extravagant generosity) and 5 church principles (Risk-taking Missions and Outreach, Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Faith-Forming Relationships and Compassionate Care).
As part of this process, average worship attendance is especially affected by the first 3 steps of the process. So in order to reach our goal, Emmanuel focused on the effectiveness of each of those steps:
1. Risk-Taking Outreach is a ministry team that focuses on the inviting, advertising and promoting of large community events such as the Easter Egg hunt, Vacation Bible School, Craft Show, Boo Bash, Garage Sale, Free Grill-outs, Breakfast with Santa, etc. At these large events, focus was placed on informing the community about our church and, specifically, inviting them to come to worship. Outreach also does mass mailings to families who attend these events. This means we keep a data base of contact information for every family that has ever attended any event at Emmanuel.
2. Radical Hospitality is a ministry team that focuses on helping others feel welcome and comfortable when attending Emmanuel. We believe the first-time visitor decides in the first 20 minutes of their visit as to whether or not they will come back a second time. Therefore, we pay special attention to the first-impressions of the outside of the church and the lobby area, as well as to how they are greeted by other people in the church. It is a combination of environment and peoples’ friendliness. We have a welcome table that offers information about the church. There are also greeters at each door as well as ushers to the entrance of the sanctuary. We try to have good signage and have coffee available in the lobby at our coffee bar, staffed by a volunteer. We also try to follow up with each visitor to be sure their experience was one that allowed them to feel welcomed. We evaluate on a continuous basis regarding first-time visitors and their experience. On average, a first-time visitor should be greeted at least 5 times during their visit with us (greeter, usher, church host, worship leader, pastor).
3. Passionate Worship is a ministry team designed to create a worship experience where the presence of God is as fully experienced as possible. Our theory is that if the team can avoid distractions, God will make Himself known. Our worship team is divided into 4 areas: music, decorations, media and message. We strive for good quality music (no matter the style… we have a blended style); themed decorations based on time of year and sermon series; use of multi-media that compliments the sermon series (and isn’t too busy); and a message that is authentic and relevant to the worshiper.
By the end of the year we exceeded our goal by reaching an average of 170 worshipers per week. We believe God made this happen because we allowed God to work by removing barriers. We removed the barrier of poor communication by being intentional on how we invited. We removed the barrier of discomfort by being intentional on welcoming people. We also work at removing barriers that impede a spirit-filled worship service (poor music, bad sound system, boring preaching, etc), which is a continual process.
If you have any questions on our Discipleship Pathway, please feel free to call the church at 513.732.1400 or you can visit the website at www.emmanuel-umc.com.