The “Yes, We’re Going” Challenge: A Church Attendance Commitment Strategy


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Thursday, June 20, 2024, at 2:00 PM EST

What If We Challenged People to Attend Church?

I know this sounds ridiculous. I mean, attending is about the lowest common denominator. But stay with me.

I never asked my parents if we were going to church as a kid. The answer was pre-determined: Yes, we’re going!” I stopped asking because the answer was answered well before I could even ask.

That couldn’t be further from the truth for most churchgoers today. Churchgoers seem to decide whether to attend church on Saturday night or Sunday morning. Church attendance is far less of a commitment than most other things in their lives. People commit to having their children at school or baseball practice but not church. Adults commit to being at work but not at church.

This reality got me thinking…

Challenging the Church Body

When I led Woodstock City Church in our portable days, we grew to plus capacity at our 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. services. We weren’t ready to build our first facility yet, so we devised a third service solution. Yet we also knew any service times outside Sunday morning weren’t “ideal” in our community.

Before we launched our third service (Sundays at 5:00 p.m.), I knew we needed to inspire some insiders to attend this service to create open seats in our morning services. So that’s what we did. I stood up on our stage for a few weeks, emailed our congregation several times, and publicly asked them to consider committing to attending our 5:00 p.m. service for six months. The vision was other’s focused.

“We needed to create open seats at optimal times for the unchurched, de-churched, and fringe-churched people in our community.”

Our challenge worked. Over 100 families committed to attend the 5:00 p.m. service. 

And they did.

Not because it was easy for them. Or more optimal for them. But because they believed in our mission and vision. These families understood the need for open seats on Sunday morning.

A New Church Challenge

Church attendance matters. Being present in a church service is good for us and everyone around us.

Have you ever been to a half-empty comedy club or a half-full concert? The experience isn’t all that great. A church can feel the same way. Every week, people invite friends and neighbors. Some of them are giving God and the church one more chance. The average attendee probably never considers how their presence impacts the guest experience.

A packed church service is one of the most powerful experiences a guest can have. 

Presence matters more than most people realize.

When people who are skeptical of God and the church experience a church that is passionate about faith and prioritizes participation, it makes a difference.

The “Yes, We’re Going” Challenge

Like my 5:00 p.m. service asks, here’s an idea:

What would happen if we asked people who loved their church to commit to attending church every week for six months?

Not when they are sick or on vacation, but what if we removed the “Are we going to church” question for them with a vision that attendance matters?

Here’s the catch. We can’t ask them to attend because it’s good for them. It absolutely is good for them. But that’s a sale people aren’t likely to purchase. However, most people are willing to do things that benefit those around them. Research has proven this over and over.

Challenging people to attend because “Their presence matters for the guests coming today” is a vision worth embracing. It’s simple. And it matters.

This isn’t just an idea. I’m testing this with a few churches, including Beachside Community Church in Fort Walton Beach, FL. We’re only a few weeks into the test, but so far, so good.

The week following the launch of their “Yes, We’re Going” challenge, attendance increased by 25%. Sure, there was some energy around the new idea. Time will tell if the church and leadership can keep the idea front and center. But so far, it’s working.

Several other churches are hoping to launch the “Yes, We’re Going” challenge soon, too. Perhaps you should join them.

A Secondary Benefit

We all know that if people attend church more frequently, their lives and faith should improve. If we can challenge people to attend for a season, perhaps they’ll realize the personal benefit, too. Maybe they’ll even create some new (better) habits.

Regardless, people often respond well to a challenge, especially if it is achievable for them and positively affects others.

Perhaps You Should Challenge Your Church?

What do you think?

Let’s remove the ‘Are we going to church?’ question. For six months, let’s make being in your church a priority for your church and see what God can do.


I spend most of my time working directly with pastors, church leaders, and leadership teams on innovation and intentionality.

If you found this helpful, mark your calendar for July 1. I’m announcing a new opportunity you and your church will not want to miss!

Tags: Improve Church Attendance, Church Engagement Ideas, Increasing Sunday Service Attendance, Church Growth Strategies