By Lyle E. Schaller

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Extra info for Assimilating New Members (Creative leadership series)

Sample text

These are the individuals who become part of a group, where membership in that face-to-face small group is meaningful, before formally uniting with that congregation. They are assimilated before they join. One example of this is the man who comes down out of the choir loft in his robe to join the other new members standing in front of the chancel as they are being received into membership one Sunday morning. He had been assimilated into the choir before he formally joined that congregation. A second example is the woman who came into membership via a circle in the woman's organization.

If they don't respond to that call, we write them off. If theyr'e interested in the church, theyl'l respond. If they're not interested, there's nothing we can do by continuing to call on them. This congregation reached its peak in size in 1953 and has been on the decline ever since, although the rate of decline has been slowed since they began this visitation-evangelism program in 1971, Slightly more than a mile away is the meeting place of another congregation of the same denomination, The lay volunteer in charge of their visitation program described it in these words: Our goal is to have one or two of our members call on every newcomer to this community within ten days after they move here.

These shared roots, or this heritage, are the basis for that person's strong loyalty or commitment to this congregation. This heritage tie may be most obvious in those parishes that own cemeteries. It also can be seen in congregations which still carry a strong nationality heritage such as Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, German, or Latvian. This heritage tie is also an important part of the commitment among the remaining charter members of the parish that was a new mission in 1949 or 1953 or 1963.

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Assimilating New Members (Creative leadership series) by Lyle E. Schaller
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