When I was pastoring a church, we used to have a membership class. However, we realized that by calling it membership class, that meant people had to pre-decide that they wanted to become members before attending. So we had people getting involved and hanging around for about a year, a year and a half, before they took the membership class. By then, the class wasn’t even necessary– they had already gleaned all of the information covered in the class through their involvement.
So we changed the name to “Pastor’s Class.” It helped. People began coming earlier. One Sunday morning, I was in the sanctuary early and met a man who was raving to me about how excited he and his family were about the church. They had been attending for about three months. I asked him, “Have you taken the pastor’s class yet?” He looked confused and responded, “No. Why would I do that? I don’t want to become a pastor.”
That was one of my “Duh” moments. Shortly after that conversation, we changed the name again to “Newcomers’ Class.” That was perfect. That’s who the class was for– newcomers– where they could meet the pastors, find out more about the church, ask questions, figure out how to get involved, and decide if they wanted to become a member.