How To Quickly Accelerate Growth At Your Church | Ep. #147

Pro Church Daily is the show where - in ten minutes or less - you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

July 5th, 2018

Every one of our churches want to grow and the best way to do that is to increase next steps. Brady discusses how to make this happen in your church.

What’s In This Session?

  • Quick wins (2:05)
  • The lie (2:36)
  • The paradox (3:05)
  • The study (3:25)
  • Less announcements (7:03)
  • Connect cards (7:31)
  • A single call to action (8:17)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

The Full Transcript

Brady Shearer: Hey, we just launched a free, brand new resource for churches called “The Nucleus Playbook.” You can find it at Playbook.Church. Within “The Nucleus Playbook,” you’re gonna find a number of different step by step strategies for increasing next steps at your church. We think that next steps are the absolute best way to measure and improve church growth and church health. Within “The Nucleus Playbook,” you’ll find plays like the New Visitor Freebie Followup, or the Two-Part Church Announcements Formula, or the Instant Prayer Request System, and a ton of others all geared to improving and increasing next steps at your church. Again, it’s 100% free. We poured more than 200 hours into this resource. You can access it by going to www.Playbook.Church.

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less you’ll get a daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer, and today we’re talking about how to quickly accelerate growth at your church.

Brady Shearer: I think every one of our churches, Alex, wants to grow.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: If we can grow fast, even better.

Alex Mills: Why not? 

Brady Shearer: In episodes 144 and 145 of Pro Church Daily, we set the new rules for measuring church growth. For too long we’ve used attendance as the be-all and end-all, the one important metric, for measuring our church growth and health, and we kind of flipped that on its head and said, “No, if you want to measure church growth and health, you want to measure next steps, people taking action within your church. Attendance is just one small part of this wholistic view of church growth and health.” When we understand that, the best way to accelerate church growth is to increase next steps. If we get more next steps this month than we did last month, that’s church growth.

Alex Mills: There you go.

Brady Shearer: If we can get more next steps even faster, that’s even faster church growth! That’s how to accelerate it. Now that we’ve set the baseline for how to accomplish and how to quickly accelerate our church’s growth, let’s talk about how to accomplish that.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: One of the best things you can do, and easiest things you can do, is look for low-hanging fruit, the types of things that our churches overlook and don’t consider that are right there in front of us and we can just grab for the taking. One of the things that I always recommend if you wanna increase the volume of next steps being taken at your church is simply doing less. Offering less things will almost always translate to a boost in next steps. I know it’s hard to believe, but we’ve seen this time and time again. Just doing less will lead to more next steps.

Alex Mills: Which seems counterintuitive.

Brady Shearer: The lie is this, that more next steps requires more options.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: That’s what we do, right? We just need a better bulletin. We need a church app. We need a better welcome desk. We need more announcements. We need another church app.

Alex Mills: We do it all the time with small groups, you know. We gotta see more of our church engaged in small groups. Then we need women’s small groups. We need men’s small groups. We need teens. We need women talking about health. We need men talking about guns. We need this and that. It doesn’t work.

Brady Shearer: Yes, exactly. That’s the lie, because the paradox is this. More next steps actually requires less options and, in turn, less work for your church. If you’re wondering or saying to yourself, “There’s no way that’s true,” let’s talk about some data and real-life case studies that have proven this psychological principle to be, in fact, true time and time again. 

In 2000, this was a groundbreaking study in the world of retail and the psychology of choice. Psychologists Sheena Angar and Mark Lepper published a remarkable study. On one day, they had shoppers at an upscale food market see a display and they had 24 varieties of gourmet jam. Who doesn’t love jam?

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: A nice sandwich. What’s your favorite type of jam?

Alex Mills: Oh, strawberry.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, that’s the correct answer. Good, I’m glad you said that. One day they had shoppers see 24 different varieties of jam. Lots of options. Those who sampled the spreads received a coupon for $1.00 any jam. You have one, you get a coupon. Nice. Then they compared that to another day. Same store, same clientele, shoppers saw a similar table except this time instead of 24 jam varieties, they only saw six. Same thing. You sample, you get a coupon. Here’s what was so interesting. The large display of 24, maybe not surprisingly, attracted more people.

Alex Mills: Look at all that jam!

Brady Shearer: Look at all that jam! I wanna sample this. Here’s where things got really interesting, though. The smaller display of just six jams did not attract as many people as the display of 24 jams, but when it came time to purchase, when it came time to take action, when it came time for that next step, people who saw the large display were 1/10 as likely to buy as people who saw the small display.

Alex Mills: Wow, that’s crazy.

Brady Shearer: Analysis paralysis. So many options, I don’t know how to choose. It’s just easier not to choose because if I buy this strawberry jam and then later I think, “Oh, if I had this other jam,” now I’ve got buyer’s remorse. I’m just not gonna even chance it. Less options makes for more next steps.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: Here’s another case study. Whirlpool sent two email campaigns. Here’s a digital example of this. One email had multiple calls to action, multiple different opportunities to click and take a next step. The other email consolidated all of them, one next step only. One call to action in the email only. The email campaign with just one call to action saw 42% more clicks than the other one. 42%! This is what I mean when I say low-hanging fruit.

Alex Mills: It’s right there.

Brady Shearer: All you have to do is offer less and maybe you see a 42% increase in next steps. When we say quickly accelerate growth, when we use next steps as that wholistic metric that matters the most, consolidate and suddenly you see a huge increase. It was there the whole time if you had just taken that action.

Alex Mills: It’s right there.

Brady Shearer: Here’s another example. There’s a reason people like Obama and Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, when he was alive, wore the same outfit every single day. Very high-ranking people that have to make very world-changing decisions, every single day, and they don’t wanna waste any of that decision-making power on trivial decisions. This is an example of decision fatigue. We only have so much power in a day to make decisions. The more decisions we make, the lesser quality of decisions we’re likely to make later. That’s why at the end of the day, I’m much more likely to go into my kitchen, eat a giant bag of sour cream and onion rippled chips-

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: Because it’s 9:00. I’m not doing that at 6:00 a.m..

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: I’m locked in at that time. But as the day wears on, we make less and less quality decisions. Similarly, this can also lead to analysis paralysis. 

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: If at your church you’re saying, “Hey, check the bulletin, download the app, visit the website, talk to Pastor Carl, call the church office, email the ministry leader, go to the church welcome desk-”

Alex Mills: All of those options just to sign up for small group.

Brady Shearer: That’s not uncommon in our churches.

Alex Mills: No.

Brady Shearer: Because again, we fall for this lie, more options leads to more next steps. But that’s not the case. How can you actually begin taking this principle of less which will, in turn, lead to more next steps which will accelerate church growth, and put it into action?

Example number one, less church announcements from stage every week. In episode 146 of Pro Church Daily, we talked about the 50% rule, a rule that you can implement at church to reduce the overall number of church announcements. I’d recommend one to three stage announcements each week. Do you think that’s impossible? Watch that episode, listen to that episode, 146, and implement the 50% rule. Hey, who knows? It’s like Whirlpool when they reduced the number of calls to action. Who knows what kind of increase you’ll see of next steps?

Alex Mills: Could be 42%.

Brady Shearer: When you do that, who knows? Second option, ask for less information on your connect cards.

Alex Mills: That’s a big one.

Brady Shearer: This is just for new visitors. Here’s an example. ImageScapes saw a 120% increase on their form submissions when they condensed their form from 11 fields to four. That’s a great example because four is about the exact number of fields we recommend on a connect cared, whereas 11 is probably the average of what churches-

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: If you just reduce that from 11 to four, what would 120% more new visitor welcome cards returned mean for your church?

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Just imagine it. Again, low-hanging fruit. It’s right there. Another example of this, Neil Patel saw 26% increase in conversion rates on his contact form simply by eliminating one field. He went from four to three, 26% increase just like that. Another example, another way that you can put this principle into action, use a single call to action for every single next step. Instead of getting chaotic with your communications like we were talking about before, sometimes check the bulletin, sometimes talk to Pastor Carl, sometimes call the church, sometimes email the ministry leader, sometimes download the app, sometimes go to the website, sometimes go to the welcome desk. It is exhausting just listing out these options, much less actually using them, maintaining them, the cost involved there.

Alex Mills: Oh, of course.

Brady Shearer: Just condense every single call to action to one thing. We’ll always say something like, “Head to LifeAbundant.info or the LifeAbundant.info kiosk in the lobby.” You can do it on your phone, your desktop, your tablet, or go to the kiosk that runs the exact same site.

Alex Mills: I was gonna say, the kiosk is just an iPad running the same site.

Brady Shearer: It’s just so that maybe you’re a bit older and you don’t feel like, “Oh, I don’t wanna take out my phone.” Okay, but we’re still using the exact same software.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: This is the central hub idea in action. If you consolidate every next step to a single destination, the increase in next steps that you’re gonna see, who knows? Again, it’s hard to believe this is the case, but there are so many real world case studies and empirical studies that have proven this to be the case, and we hear it with Nucleus users all the time. We built the world’s first all-in-one central hub software that ever existed for churches. It’s a new kind of church website builder called Nucleus. This is what users tell us.

Adam said this. He takes the words right out of my mouth. He’s like, “I couldn’t really believe it, but when we started using only one destination for every next step, sign ups went up 20%.”

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Or Jason, “It’s hard to believe but engagement’s up 53% since switching to Nucleus since consolidating every next step into one.” That goes right along the lines with that Whirlpool email. It goes right along the lines with that ImageScape form. Condense, consolidate, less options, more next steps. More next steps, more church growth.

Alex Mills: There you go. You got it.

Brady Shearer: That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily. You can head to Nucleus.Church to get a free trial. Try it out, see if it’ll work for you and if it makes sense for you. No credit card required. We’ll see you on the inside of Nucleus and we’ll see you next time on Pro Church Daily.