This book is a helpful guide to congregations of any faith interested in retaining and attracting members by enhancing engagement and connection to the congregation. It is a step-by-step how-to book describing the experience of our congregation’s transformational process. In this process we focused on values, especially the value and sacredness of relationships. Enhancing the culture of belonging to the congregation in an in-reach process strengthens the connectedness of members to each other and to the congregation.
Many congregations have experienced the loss of membership that takes place after members’ children complete rites of passage such as bar/bat mitzah, confirmation, baptism or first communion. Members that are connected to other members and engaged in congregation life are less likely to leave. In this way, membership builds from within.
Even though this relational initiative is focused inward, it may result in additional new members as well. If people who are not members hear about the relational projects under way – the transformation that is taking place – from happy and satisfied members, they may explore the possibility of membership. And if the financial barriers such as standard annual commitment (dues categories) and capital (building) funds are removed, those “explorers” may be more likely to become members of the congregation.