I just finished reading FUSION by Nelson Searcy and I must say it was a true blessing. FUSION is a book about assimilating new people into your church – with a focus on how to move first time guests into working members.
For those who do not know Searcy is a protege of Rick Warren, and many of the concepts from Purpose Driven Church are expressed here. Searcy, however, has had his own experience with church growth in New York City, and he has a plainspoken and simple way of sharing methods and ideas with others. He has a podcast and a website . He also leads a coaching network and has published several books.
This book helped me because it addresses an area of my life and ministry that is weak – organization. I can’t say that there were any surprises in this book. There were no great secrets. There were no ideas that just WOWED me. But taking common sense things that need to be done and putting the flesh and bones of organization to them was very helpful.
Although much of the emphasis is placed on what happens at the church building, there is also considerable input into outreach following the first visit and subsequent visits. Here are a few concepts that I highlighted in the book:
*The concept that our guests are God’s gift to us. How did you receive them? Did you show the Giver your appreciation? Did you treat those gifts as they deserved to be treated by having a plan in place to integrate them into the life of your church? First time guests are extraordinary gifts full of unparalleled potential.
*Assimilation is intentional hospitality. While guests are in your company, they need to feel comfortable and valued, no matter where they are in their spiritual development.
*The most powerful word for change in your church is “Because”. When they understand the why, the what becomes a non-issue.
*We have been called to plant and water so that God can grow the harvest – and not to plant and water haphazardly, but to the best of our abilities as we are laboring for His Kingdom.
*Growing churches put their energy into reaching new people that God is bringing their way, while stagnating churches focus on reclaiming people who have passed through and fallen away.
*When guests return for a second look, you’ve won 80% of the battle of gaining new regular attenders and have drastically increased the chances that they will begin a journey with Christ.
This book offers valuable organizational information that has been a blessing to me, and we are already seeing some positive results as we begin implementing some of the principles Searcy explains. I highly recommend it to church leaders. In fact, I ordered one for each of our elders.
Thanks for reading,