After a person has joined the church, the next step in the process is for them to ENGAGE through small groups and discipleship. Small groups are an important element in disciple-making and need to be a central element to the assimilation of new members. The new member in a church can feel lost in the crowd, but a small group setting like Sunday School affords them the opportunity to build close relationships with and to be ministered to in a more personal manner. It has been said of large churches that people come for the service but stay for the relationships that they build in small group settings. This is true for any size church though! This stage is perhaps the most crucial for retention of new members. If they are effectively engaged in a small group, those relationships formed with fellow members will be the glue that holds the church together. The primary teaching ministry of the church will come through this venue. Also, small groups can be a platform for ministry projects. It is therefore crucial that the small group leaders are well informed and onboard with the assimilation process and their critical role in it.
An additional element of the ENGAGE step is that of discipleship. As God blesses the ministry of a church with conversions, there will be those members who are newborns in their faith. While a great deal of instruction and help will be offered by the small group they engage with, it will be important for the church to also offer discipleship courses or mentoring relationships that start with basic Christian doctrines and practices but that will also allow opportunity for deeper growth in spiritual disciples and knowledge. The format can be flexible and experimentation may be needed to determine what best suits the needs of the new believer and of the church. Topical, discipleship classes can fit this role and new classes could be added that address this element: essential for new believers who join the church.