Four Elements of Assimilation

For several years, Thom Rainer and I studied evangelistic churches in North America.* In almost every study of assimilation in these churches, we found these common characteristics of congregations that assimilated well: Membership expectations, Relationships, Convictional teaching and preaching, and Ministry involvement.

  • Membership expectations tell members upfront what is expected of them. If they join the church, they already know the commitment they are making.
  • Relationships create “people connections” that strengthen a member’s commitment to the local body of believers. They become the “Velcro” that makes people stick. 
  • Ministry involvement gives members purpose and responsibility in the church. When they know they are needed (even if the responsibility is small), they are more likely to be faithful.
  • Convictional teaching and preaching offer a message worth hearing—and a reason for staying involved. Many people return when they hear a word from the Lord.

Take a minute to evaluate your church in each of these areas. Then, invite other church members to do the same. Find out where you need to improve if you desire to be a strong assimilating church. 

      1                      2                      3                      4                      5                      6                      7

    poor                                                             neutral                                                             very well

                          Membership expectations:                                  __________

                          Relationships:                                                    __________

                          Ministry involvement:                                          __________

                          Convictional teaching and preaching:                    __________

                          TOTAL:                                                              __________

                             KEY:                                       20-28 = Above average

          14-19 = Average

           <14   = Below average


*See Dr. Lawless’ book, Membership Matters, for more details. 

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