New Church Member Orientation Ideas for Churches

New Church member classes are a great way to assimilate new congregants into your church’s culture, beliefs, and meaning. New church members might not understand your church’s core beliefs or mission, so hosting a new member’s orientation class can help them understand your church and its beliefs. 

You should cover a few areas in your Church’s new member orientation class. Your church’s core beliefs, the activities of your various ministry departments, who the ministry leaders are, locations of the church, church history, and what to do after the class are all topics that you should consider covering during your new members orientation class. 

Where to start: Church History

When hosting a new member’s orientation class, you want your congregants to know about your church’s history. Things like, when the church was founded, who founded the church, and who are the pastors now are all important things that you should cover. Doing this allows the potential new member to feel connected to your church. 

New member orientation classes are a lot like dating, and in dating, you usually want to know the history of the person you are going out with. If you were dating someone for an extended amount of time and they refused to tell you where they grew up or about their past relationships, you might be concerned. Although your church might not have much to hide, many people have been hurt by churches in the past, so you need to earn their trust by sharing your church’s history with them. 

What Your Church Believes: Core Beliefs, Mission, and Vision 

The next topic that you should consider covering is your church’s beliefs, mission, and vision. From first time guests to long-time churchgoers, the people in your new member’s class might not be familiar with the things that your church believes. There are many different denominations of churches that believe different things, so clarify what your church believes. The new members need to know if you are a Baptist church, an Assembly of God church, or a non-denominational church. The way that you communicate that is by sharing the beliefs your church has about Jesus Christ, the Trinity, Salvation, marriage, and other important topics. 

Back to the illustration about dating, imagine you have been going out with someone. They refuse to tell you what they believe about money, religion, and politics. You would probably be concerned and trust that person less, and it’s the same with your church and its new members. 

Offerings of Your Church: Your Various Ministries

Another topic that is worth discussing in your new member’s class is your various ministries. Now that the potential members have heard about your history and beliefs, they should feel more connected to your church, but now is the time to go deeper into what your church does. If your church hosts Sunday school, student ministry, or kids ministry, tell them about those things.  

In this section, you should cover details about each ministry. Things like, when students and kids meet for services are important to the parents and potential volunteers. Furthermore, you should cover where those ministries meet on campus, so the people know where to go. 

In the dating analogy, your various ministries are like the activities that you do. Although they aren’t as personal as your beliefs and values, they are important. It would be like going on a date with someone who wouldn’t tell you the things that they were interested in. They avoided the questions about what they are passionate about and when they do the things that they are passionate about. That is a red flag, and it might be for your potential congregants if you don’t communicate the things that your church does. 

Shifting the Attention to Them: Their Spiritual Gifts 

Once you have covered all of these topics (and any others you deem appropriate), you should shift the attention to the people in the meeting. No one wants to go on a date with someone who only talks about themselves, so get to know them better.  The way that you get to know them better (and help them understand their God-given purpose) is to provide them with a spiritual gifts assessment. In this section, you should talk about the importance of the body of Christ working together, and that they can be a part of making a difference. Give them time to take the test and once they are done help them to interpret the results.

The Next Step 

Once you have explained who your church is, and allowed them to discover what their purpose is, it’s time to take the next step. Although the next steps do change depending on the church, we recommended a few different things. 

First, have them sign a ministry agreement form. You have explained to them the beliefs of your church and given them the mission of your church, so if they want to be a part of the church family, encourage them to sign the ministry agreement form that says that they agree with the church and would like to be a member. 

Next, give them places where they can serve. The people took a test to discover their purpose, now have them fill out a sheet about if they would be interested in serving in any area. This is an excellent way to integrate new members into your volunteer base and will allow these people to operate for the purpose that God gave them. 

Final Thoughts

New Church member orientations can be a great tool to connect with new congregants and help them to discover more about themselves and your church. A few more things that you could put into your new members’ class are a church map, an introduction to the staff, or an encouragement to join a small group. 

Thank you for reading and if you would like to find any more resources on church management, check out the other articles on our archive.