Facts & Trends – Facts & Trends has been providing Christian leaders with relevant information, practical ministry ideas and biblical resources for almost 60 years. Covering faith, culture and local church ministry, the quarterly magazine provides insight to cultural and religious trends that are sure to impact the church.
Ministry Today – Ministry Today contains church program, leadership and outreach article sections, along with feature stories on contemporaneous issues.
Taking the Next Step – Ralph Hodge’s Taking the Next Step, published by LifeWay, is a basic, easy-to-use, interactive resource designed to help new members find a place of meaningful involvement in their new church. It provides an overview and orientation for assimilation of new members and guides them toward meaningful involvement in a church’s life and ministry. Primarily for adults, Taking the Next Step can also be adapted for use with teenagers and the material can be taught in four or five sessions.
Taking the Next Step Leader Guide – The Leader Guide provides instruction and a teaching plan for leading new church members in a study of Taking the Next Step. It offers direction for making the course flexible enough to be adapted to a church’s vision, traditions or polity.
Membership 101 – Whether you call it Membership 101, The Discovery Class or Dinner with the Pastor, new member orientation has become the new normal for most churches. Often, it is an introductory class both for new and prospective members—a safe place to ask questions and take the church for a test drive.
Assurance of salvation topics are the best place to start. That might include how to become a Christian, a “writing your story” segment, a baptism explanation and a short summary of what the church believes. Some churches cover denominational and missions affiliations before outlining church ministries and providing a ministry team directory.
Some classes also cover spiritual gifts and serving opportunities or offer that as a follow-up option to an initial meetings. This category might include a spiritual gifts inventory, personal ministry survey and a Christian skills inventory. Many classes end with a membership covenant or commitment.
Finding Your PLACE in Life and Ministry – PLACE is an intentional process to connect church members into purpose-driven ministry including self discovery, individualized ministry coaching and tracking from workshop training to ministry placement. Through the PLACE process, people discover that God has created and gifted them with a unique capacity to serve others. The PLACE acronym outlines a 5-step process:
- P = Personality Discovery
- L = Learning Spiritual Gifts
- A = Abilities Awareness
- C = Connecting Passion with Ministry
- E = Experiences in Life
Class 301: Discovering My SHAPE for Ministry – Saddleback’s Class 301 helps believers learn how God can use their Spiritual Gifts, their Heart (passions), their Abilities, Personality and Experiences to minister to others in need—a person’s SHAPE for ministry.
Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts – Download this free worksheet and use it to identify strengths related to ministry and service in the local church.
Member Assimilation (Books)
Hendricks, William D., Exit Interviews: Revealing Stories of Why People Are Leaving the Church (Chicago: Moody Press, 1993).
Rainer, Thom S., I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes a Difference (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013).
Searcy, Nelson, and Kerrick Thomas, Activate: An Entirely New Approach to Small Groups (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2008).
Searcy, Nelson, and Jennifer Dykes Henson, Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2007).
Chapman, Gary, and Paul White, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People (Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2011).
Hybels, Bill, The Volunteer Revolution: Unleashing the Power of Everybody (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004).
McSwain, Jay, Finding Your PLACE in Life and Ministry (Alpharetta, GA: PLACE Ministries, 2006).
Rath, Tom, Strengths Finder 2.0 (New York: Gallup Press, 2007).
Towns, Elmer L., and Dave Earley, Praying for Your Job: Prosperity, Fulfillment, Happiness (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, 2011).