I believe after many attempts to connect with our community and multiple methods having been attempted that I have discovered an outreach idea that is revolutionary. However, before I impart this revelatory idea to you I would first like to help you avoid some of the methods that have been unsuccessful for me.
1. Newspaper Advertisements (Approximately $300-$500 for small ad)
Allow me to save you some time and effort before you advertise your church in the local paper. Simply take $300-$500 in your hand. Find the nearest toilet and lift the lid. Open your hand and release the $300-$500 into the toilet and press the handle. You have now saved time and effort and will have the same amount of guests in your next service.
2. Direct Mail/Post Cards ($1000 for small mailing)
My personal experience gives me some mixed emotion about adding this method to the list. The reason I have mixed emotion is because I have seen a limited response to doing direct mail campaigns. We mailed out cards and a few folks showed up. However, the reason I include it on the list is because they don’t come back. For the money we spend we usually get a very small response and are unable to connect with these guests. My personal opinion is that mailers attract people who are church shopping and you are added to the list of churches they intend to visit. At this stage our church is not the largest and best programmed church in our area. Therefore, we do not win top pick in the church draft and first selection usually goes to the larger church with a larger budget. As we grow larger we will revisit doing direct mail campaigns.
3. Billboard, Radio, and TV Advertisement (Mortgage Your House)
If you are desperate enough to read a blog about church outreach from me, you cannot afford to advertise on a billboard, radio, or tv program.
This may come as a surprise to you, but the most effective method for us has been attenders of CoastLife Church inviting non attenders to come to services. Here’s how it works. Someone loves Jesus, and loves their church and begins to tell people about this very important facet of their lives. It’s so simple I can’t believe someone hasn’t thought of it before. Perhaps we should give it a cool name like evangelism.
As a church we support this revolutionary idea in several ways:
1. Instead of mailing cards to a stranger’s home, we provide them to attenders of CoastLife Church to use to invite people they would like to see come to church. We support personal evangelism by equipping attenders with printed information that is easy to pass on.
2. Through offering special services and special events. We use social media as a non invasive and non awkward way for people to invite their friends and family to special events and special services at CoastLife Church. We create a Facebook event for every special service or event. We support personal evangelism by offering creative events geared towards connecting with the community.
3. We do our absolute best to provide a service and atmosphere the attenders of CoastLife can be proud to bring their friends and family to. It should go without saying, but you wouldn’t recommend the restaurant that was disorganized and offered poor service. People won’t recommend your church for the same reasons. We support personal evangelism through offering excellence to attenders.
4. We have a good website. Over 80 percent of first time visitors of a church will visit the website first. In the early days of CoastLife, guests weren’t an every Sunday occurance. During those days I could “prophecy” which Sundays we would have visitors by the hits on our websites. We support personal evangelism by recognizing our website as the virtual front door of our church.
I would be interested in hearing of different methods and their success or failures from other church planters, leaders, and team members. Please leave them in the comment section below.