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Epiphany Engagement Boost: Tips to Build Participation

Three Kings Cake
Cynthia McChesney, Missioner for Stewardship and Legacy Giving
A Three Kings Cake, traditionally served on Epiphany with a figurine of the baby Jesus, or other token, baked inside. Whoever finds the token wears the cardboard crown that comes with the cake and is said to be blessed with good luck for the New Year.

This Epiphany, why not shake things up with fresh approaches to parishioner engagement?

Epiphany, which falls January 6 to the beginning of Lent, can be an ideal time to offer parishioners ways to get more engaged in the church. Calendars are not so jam-packed. New Year's Resolutions still retain some power. For many, "bleak midwinter" stretches ahead. So why not take advantage of a time when people want more connection and have emptier calendars to increase the level of participation and engagement in the church?

Building higher levels of engagement among church members is not just a "nice" thing to do. It's strategically smart, and the data proves it. (Click here to read an earlier Stewardship Matters that discusses benefits of higher engagement in more detail).

Engagement does lots of good things: it fosters a sense of community and purpose and helps to build a sense of ownership and commitment. When people are actively involved in their church, they are more likely to feel invested in its success and want to contribute time, talent, and financial resources.

Here are 6 ideas designed to encourage engagement this season:

  • Small Groups. Offer small group opportunities for people to connect and grow in their faith. Again, calendars are emptier this time of year and folks might be willing to take something like this on. The Bishop's Office has a worksheet (click here) that can provide guidance. ¬†Want to talk through a way to bring small groups to your parish? Shoot us an email (click here) and we'd be happy to help!
  • Ministry Fair. Host a ministry fair to showcase volunteer opportunities within the church. Even if you held one earlier in the year a second one in Epiphany can mesh with parishioners' own New Year's resolutions.
  • Personal Invitations. Personally invite people to participate in church activities and groups that are matched to their interests. ¬†Note the word "personally," One-on-one asks are more effective than a blanket call for volunteers.
  • Day of Volunteering. Epiphany can be a good time to provide opportunities for service and outreach, such as helping at a local soup pantry or organizing a clean-up day.
  • New Member Class. What about a new member class for those new to the church? These small classes can be a great way for people to connect with others in the church and build new friendships.
  • Throw a party! Organize social events and fellowship opportunities to help people build relationships with each other. Host a get-together for new members. Celebrate the birthday(s) of long time members. Celebrate Epiphany with a Three Kings Cake. There are lots of reasons to throw a party!

Epiphany can be a perfect time to focus on building parishioner engagement in the church. Why not give one or more of these ideas a try?