4.3% of those completing surveys were first-time guests! Over the past fiscal year (July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2007) we averaged just shy of 1,200 in the auditorium each Sunday (1,191 to be exact). This does not count our kids…just auditorium attendance. That means that on any given Sunday here at Grace, we have over 50 people sitting in the auditorium who are first time guests to our church! Now if that does not get us to see the vital important of “first impressions,” I’m not sure what will. Every Sunday is over 50 people’s first Sunday at Grace Church!
How long have people been attending Grace Church? 46.5% of those in the auditorium on Sunday mornings have attended Grace Church for three years or less. 36.9% have attended Grace Church ten years or longer. The smallest percentage (16.6%) have attended our church for somewhere between four and ten years. This tells us that one of our greatest challenges as a church is to connect those who have been part of our church for ten years or more with those who are new to our church in the past three years.
I have often used the demographic that our mission is to reach every unchurched person that lives within 10 miles of our church. According to demographic studies I looked at prior to my coming to Lititz three years ago, there are approximately 250,000 people that live within a 10 mile radius of our church. But did you realize that 15.2% of our Sunday morning auditorium attendance drives more than 10 miles one way to attend Grace? Folks, listen, our target is way more than 250,000 people! In fact, the survey showed that 2.7% of the 1,200 people in the auditorium on a given Sunday have traveled more than 25 miles one way to attend Grace Church that morning.
Now here is a huge statistic. We asked in the survey what it was that first brought people to visit Grace Church. The results are fascinating but in no way surprising. 1.2% came for the first time as a result of our church website. 4.6% came to our church for the first time due to a special service that we had. 7.8% came to our church for the first time because of the ministries of MorningStar Daycare and Lititz Christian School. But a whopping 46.9% first entered the doors of Grace Church because they received a personal invitation from someone. Folks, listen, we can put on the greatest programs and have the most phenomenal ministries the world has ever seen, but the greatest way we are going to see Grace Church reach our community is for each one of us to regularly be inviting people to come check us out! Never underestimate the power of “the ask”!
In the movie, Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner was told, “If you build it, they will come!” I know that I am no Kevin Costner, but I would like to adjust that famous movie phrase as such, “If you ask them, they will come!”
If you are participating in the “Grace Church Bible Reading Challenge,” Friday's reading is John 1-3. Saturday's reading is John 4-6. Sunday's reading is John 7-9. Be sure to go to our special website (http://blog.lgbc.org) and share how God uses this passage in your life, read what others have written, or ask a question about the passage!