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Held In the Embrace | Steven Mead

Monday, February 01, 2016
To be held in the embrace of this church.
You will hear me use this phrase often―be held in the embrace of this church. There's an intimacy in this act. And that act requires risk. Yes, we have the greeters, the committee; yes, staff follows up with newcomers; all that. But that won't create an embrace. That's your job. Not a committee's. Not a greeter. Not a staffer. Are you doing it? How are you doing it? Do you wear your name tag? Wave? Say, "Hello?" Said "Thank you!" to the people who made coffee or set out hospitality food? What is jeopardized if we don't "do friendly" well? Stay in right relationship? Stay in covenant? Our choice. Choose friendly.
We Need to Grow!?
I get very leery when church leadership say they want to "grow our church." I immediately ask, "Why? Why would you want to do that?" Where in your mission statement does the word grow exist? Where does it say that the difference we want to make in this world is for us to have a bigger church? Do you think more people will help us balance our budget? Sorry, it doesn't work that way. You want to have more people here? You want multicultural diversity? Then start with friendly and really pay attention to why you gather together in this Special Place. And when you know that why, then with all your might and all your resources do that why with everything you got. Then people will come and they will stay. Do not grow; rather, engage.
What does it take?
  • Are we getting enough visitors here to grow our church? No, we are not.We get around 200 first-time visitors/year; 9% return for a second visit. We need around 350 first-time time visitors/year to grow. So, it doesn't really matter how great we are if not enough newcomers actually come through our door and experience our community. (continued)
  • How good are we at converting a visitor to a member? Said another way, how effective is our path to membership? Our visitor-to-member conversion rate is around 15% - soft, but not bad. A figure below 20% suggests that we need work. What are first impressions like? What is our membership process like? What might we change?
  • Grow to 400 members? With our visitor-to-member conversion rate of 15%, if we wanted to grow to 400 members in two years, then we need about 8 first-time visitors every week; or 400 a year. We get around 200 first-time visitors/year. (This visitor requirement is eased somewhat with an improved visitor-to-membership conversion rate.)
  • Take away: It takes doubling our visitors/week and improving first impressions to grow membership.
See you in church. Wave and say “Hello!”

Steven Mead, Interim Director of Ministries with Children and Youth

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Come to be moved and held in mutual embrace. Come and be made whole.
First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh
605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 621-8008     Map and directions
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10:30 AM
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Tuesday - Friday
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