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Increasing First-Time Guests


Increasing First-Time Guests – Episode 97 | The Unstuck Church Podcast

How Connexus Church Created a Culture for Inviting New Guests


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I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with Jeff Brodie. You may not know Jeff, but you may know the founding and teaching pastor at Jeff’s church—it’s Carey Nieuwhof.

Jeff and I were catching up recently because four or five years ago, I flew to Canada to facilitate a strategic planning retreat with Carey, Jeff and the team at Connexus Church.

During that time together, we discovered that what they at the time thought was a “back door” challenge at the church was actually more of a front door problem.

It was a big moment in the conversation and in the life of this church. Connexus is an outwardly-focused church. They’d been designing weekend services for people to meet Jesus. They talked about inviting all the time. And people were inviting—but not the way they hoped they would.

I was so encouraged in the conversation with Jeff a few weeks ago because the way they responded to that challenge and the results they’ve seen are incredible.

I’ll give you a preview: It all started with a heart change. The whole culture of the church has become focused on tangibly, practically loving people outside the walls. And through that heart change, they’ve seen the fastest growth to-date in their church.

In this episode, Jeff and I discussed:

  • Why Jeff believes jumping straight to strategies for creating more invite opportunities would’ve short-circuited what God wanted to do in the life of the church
  • The flaw in how many of our churches teach the language of “invest and invite”
  • Why invite culture starts with staff culture, and what Connexus considers indicators that the staff is leading the right way
  • The significant change that challenges the assumption guests want to be “anonymous”
  • How streaming services and online engagement factor into physical attendance

Tony is founder and chief strategic officer of The Unstuck Group, a company that helps churches get unstuck through consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church in Dallas, Georgia, NewSpring Church in South Carolina, and Granger Community Church in Indiana. He’s written several books, as well as articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com. He writes about leadership regularly at tonymorganlive.com. His next book, The Unstuck Church: Equipping Churches to Experience Sustained Health, will be available from Thomas Nelson in May 2017.

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