Assimilation & Our Churches: Do We Do It Well?

Collect, Connect, Convene

For those in church leadership, the issue of assimilation typically comes with questions of effectiveness and strategy. Truth be told, there is no one-size-fits-all plan for assimilation in every church.

That said, let me share a few of my thoughts. I’ll start with an analogy that, although not perfect, is nonetheless helpful to make a point.

Assimilation, I would argue, is a bit like staffing a nursery. You never know who is going to show up. And you barely know who will offer to help. And so you take a Sunday draft and everything goes OK. The babies may not be the happiest separated from their parents but, in the end, everybody got taken care of and there were no major problems. Yet internally you feel it is always an area of struggle.

Assimilation can be like this.

The No-Plan Approach

My first comparison between a nursery and the assimilation plan is the no-plan approach. This is quite dangerous for the baby. And it also might drop an adult who shows up for the first time. The only difference between the nursery and the assimilation is that the parents are ultimately responsible for the baby. And guess who is responsible for the newcomer? History calls the church the “Mother Kirche.” This is not because going to church makes you a child of God. Instead, the church is the place where people are trained up to know God. They are looked after and are parented in a responsible way.

The Mini-Plan Approach

The no-plan approach moves to a mini-plan approach when you have a way to gather names. Somebody visits. Someone is a guest. Someone came to something and you gather that. Perhaps you have registers to pass down the aisle, or you have people fill out cards. If we do these kinds of things on a regular basis, we ...

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