“Seven minutes is all you get to make a positive first impression. In the first seven minutes of contact with your church, your first-time guests will know whether or not they are coming back. That’s before a single worship song is sung and before a single word of the message is uttered.”
When you first read this quote, it seems impossible. How could a single person decided if they are going to attend or not attend a church in seven minutes? I do not completely understand, but I have been in church long enough to see that it is a true statement. This is why Fusion by Nelson Searcy is such an important book for anyone in church leadership to read and put into practice.
Within the first couple chapters, Searcy begins to lay out what he calls “the assimilation system.” Perhaps the term assimilation is not a familiar one to you. The dictionary defines assimilation as: to taken in; to understand fully. Whenever I hear the word “Assimilation,” I flash back to my Star Trek days and remember the Borg. A half human robot race who would assimilate anyone they captured and make them part of the Borg collective.
Luckily, Searcy is not writing a book on how to make every person into a Borg. Instead, his goal is to help us as church leaders succeed at bringing people into a fully-engaged membership of your church. Searcy writes:
“…‘assimilation’ can be defined as the process used to encourage your first-time guests to continue coming back until they see and understand God’s power, accept Jesus as their Savior and commit themselves to the local church through membership.”
The goal of Fusion is to help you as a church leader to understand and implement the assimilation system into your church setting. Searcy does an amazing job a walking through each part of the system. Each part of the assimilation system is a step set up to help encourage an individual to move forward in the system. The goals of the system can be broken down into three steps:
- Get a first time guest to become a second time guest
- Get a second time guest to become a regular attender
- Get a regular attender to become a member of your church
These three goals should be the goal for every church. Searcy lays out how him and his staff at his local church reach these goals. What makes Fusion even better is that many of the things Searcy recommends are not complicated. This does not mean that they are things that take do not take some work, but they are simple steps that any church can make to bring more people into church membership.
You might be sitting there thinking to yourself, “This sounds like a numbers game. You are focussing to much on the number of people you bring into membership. That is not what it should be about.” I would completely agree with you. I commonly say in my ministry, numbers are not what matters. The truth we much realize is that the number do matter as well. Searcy states it perfectly:
“We do care about numbers! Why? Because every number represents a life.”
Every number is someone seeking after God and if you are a church leader, that should matter.
One of the most impacting aspects of this book was how it changed my perspective. Searcy continually refers to first time guest as gifts from God. He points out that if God is giving us a gift each week. We have better be prepared to receive it. The church is not about me. It is not about what I want to get out of it. Church is for the unchurched person. It is a place for broken people can come and find healing. The assimilation process helps church leaders and church members begin to realize the focus of church needs to be on the people not in the church.
As you read through Fusion, Searcy lays out “The Assimilation System” and how it can be implemented in your local church. Much like when you go on a big journey, it is the destination that reminds you of what all the hard work was for. The end goal of the assimilation system is the same. Searcy states;
“The heart of the Assimilation System is to introduce new people to God and help them become fully developing followers of Jesus Christ.”
I highly recommend Fusion to any church leader to read. If you have read Fusion and want to share your thought, please feel free to do so in the comments below.