What the church can learn from Weightwatchers

Keep Your WhyHow does this sound to you?

“Our church service is more than a chance to grab a bulletin and learn about a helpful topic. Church instantly connects you to a welcoming community—and surrounds you with the inspiration and motivation to keep going. Your fellow members and staff become friends and cheerleaders, and you benefit from the accountability, we’ve-been-there understanding, and tips, tricks, and hacks that help you stay on your plan. Coming to church every week is also a rewarding way to put yourself first—even when life gets in the way. In fact, days when it’s the hardest to get to church are often the days when you need it the most.”

I like it a lot. But its not church advert…it actually comes from “Weightwatchers Weekly”—the 8-page “bulletin” that is given to Weightwatcher members at each gathering (just substitute “Weightwatchers meetings” with “Church”). You see Weightwatchers actually knows what causes life change…in this case weight loss and management.

2 things that make the difference

Over the years Weightwatchers has discovered that among all the great things they do, like giving out “BRAVO” stickers, small metal charms celebrating 5%, 10% weight loss, selling healthy food and beverage products, etc., the 2 thing that make a difference are:

  1. Tracking your points every day. Weightwatchers measures points rather than calories. Each food has points…or not. Fruit and vegetables have zero points. A chocolate chip cookie on the other hand has 11 points (1/3-1/4 of your daily point allotment!). The point system is “gamed” to promote better and healthier choices
  2. Attending meetings weekly. The data shows that “the more meetings you come to, the more likely you are to lose weight on your plan. Members who attend regularly are 11.2 times more likely to reach their 5% weight-loss goal at 6 months compared to those who attend fewer meetings.”

Weightwatchers knows what behaviors people need in order to change their lives. There is an actual statistical benefit of tracking every day and being at their “church service.” Weightwatchers has figured out the causes and effects of what they do in helping people change their lives. Can we say the same? With church attendance declining each year, maybe we could learn from someone else who is in the life-change business.

For consideration:

  • Why do people come to your church? What is their “I want to?” How would you know?
  • How does your weekend service speak to their “I want to” and help them achieve it?
  • Do you have any data (like Weightwatchers does) that increased attendance increases the chances of life-change and growth? How might you start?


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