This post is the second in a series from my time at the Exponential Conference in Orlando, FL last month. I will post several others in this same category. I invite you to browse all of the notes that I took.

Exponential – Contagious Church

Contagious Church: Turning mere attendees into zealous advocates.

Orlando, FL
Speaker: Larry Osborne
Topic: Contagious Church
Date: April 25, 2012

3 Things Every Pastor Needs to Know about

1. You need to know that no one wants to be used.


  • We use them because we see them as pawns for our vision.
  • You need to see the world from your lay people’s perspective.
  • If you don’t understand the real world, you will set up unrealistic expectations.

2. Assimilation is not retention.

  •  Don’t measure assimilation. Measure retention.

3. Attendees become advocates when they experience three things: (1) satisfaction, (2) confidence, and (3) trust.

  • An attendee shows up every week. An advocate brings people with them…without being asked.

Turning Advicates into Zealous Advocates

1. SATISFACTION – Are people satisfied with both the product and the process?

  • If people are satisfied with the product but mildly uncomfortable with the process, they will keep coming back, but they won’t bring anyone with them.
  • Don’t be fooled by those who simply keep coming back because they’re not advocates, they’re just attendees.
  • How often do our people says, “Our church is great, but you need to know…” Usually, that phrase leads to a negative comment.
  • At what point in our service, do people feel (1) confused, (2) out of control, or (3) stupid?
  • Be careful of insider language: locations, abbreviations, etc. Every place you have it is a chance for confusion. If anything has a subtitle, the subtitle should be the title.
  • You need to occasionally take an audit in order to review what you have accidentally done.
  • Use plain language with your audience when teaching,
  • Always talk like there is a room full of new people. It communicates to people that their unchurched friends will be able to manage.

2. CONFIDENCE – Are people confident that the experience will always be the same?

  •  One “throw away Sunday” will ruin the “come and see” experience. People won’t invite people if they’re scared it might be a bad week to invite someone.
  • You don’t have to hit a home run, you just need consistency. Home run guys, lead the league in strikeouts. The same is true in church world.
  • Consistency is more important than quality.
  • People want to know if you’re real. Excellence is a thing of the past.

3. TRUST – Do people trust the character and integrity of leadership?

  • Trust takes a long time to build, but only seconds to lose (in the big stuff and the small stuff). Moral failures and misleading announcements.
  • When you say people will like it, they should like it. When you say it is good, it should be good. When you say the Bible says, they need to be able to trust you.

Notes & Quotes

  • In th Christian world, we often use the same words, but a different dictionary.
  • At North Coast Church, we don’t do any marketing or advertising.
  • At North Coast Church, we’ve never done a special outreach or service.
  • At North Coast Church, we are service and small groups (sermon-based).
  • At North Coast Church, I’ve never asked people to bring their friends. If you have to ask people to bring their friends, you’re not doing something right. If you do the right things, people will tell people by world-of-mouth, without request.