Being Strategic About Church

by Jessica Olivito

How can we engage more people to try out Christian Hills? We already have a great mission, a big vision, and some devoted followers.  But of course, we want to reach more and more people with the life-changing message of Jesus.  So here are seven ways we could make that happen:
#1 – Equipping Our Church to Invite
We often do a great job encouraging people to invite their friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  But encouragement and equipping are two different things. People don’t just need encouragement to invite, they need the tools to do it. Therefore, CHC is printing professional invite cards and door-hangers for distribution.  We will also be posting on Facebook and asking followers to share and invite from these posts.  We will also be posting fun sharable graphics and videos for people to use on social media.
#2 – Promoting Posts on Facebook
Facebook isn’t just for sharing pictures of your kids or your pet.  It’s one of the world’s largest platforms. That’s why CHC actively utilizes their Facebook page and is working towards posting more helpful content for those that do not attend our church.  Soon, you may start seeing articles get posted that go beyond sharing our  church announcements and upcoming events (that only make sense to insiders).  We need the help of our congregation to share both types of media in order to expand our reach.  So, next time you see an event posted for a marriage reboot series or teen retreat,  hit "share" so that your contacts see the difference CHC intends to make in our communities. Most people have Facebook accounts nowadays, but we realize it takes a bit of commitment (and courage) to use our Facebook accounts in this manner to start inviting our friends, families, neighbors and co-workers to these types of events.
#3 – Our Focus on a Big Event – 'Back to Church Sunday'
Instead of asking people to invite all the time, we are focusing our energy on hosting a big event, which is happening on September 20th.  We will be pulling out all the stops, just like we do for Easter, but on a Sunday that’s not Easter.  We plan to make this day more relevant to outsiders than insiders and you may notice more creative elements during our worship service.  You will also notice that all the sermons leading up to our BIG EVENT will challenge us to invite our connections.  Then, for the next 4 Sundays following the big event, CHC will focus on a sermon series called “I Love Sundays” that highlights the many reaons we need church.  For fellowship.  For spiritual growth.  For taking the next steps.  When we commit to planning for a big event, we get people out of their normal routines to take more initiative.
#4 – Praying for People by Name
Church growth isn’t just all about tactics and campaigns. While these things are important, they are not all-important.  (Or even most-important).  After all, church is a very spiritual enterprise.  If we want to reach people in our communities and be able to invite them to church, we need to start praying for them by name.  Last Sunday, Pastor Mike kicked-off this initiative with an altar call at the end of service where we interceded by name on behalf of all those people we wished to invite and impact.

#5 – Connecting Sunday Church Attendance to Social Media
If we truly want to extend our ministries beyond Sunday service, we may want to consider devoting a moment in our Sunday services to help people engage on social media, which is one of the very things that can take the church outside of the four walls.  During our welcome segment or during the time we greet each other, we could ask people to take out their phones and tweet something, "check-in" on Facebook, or lead followers to our website to watch the live feed of our worship service.
#6 – Being More Visible in the Community
Most people in our communities don’t even know where our church is.  But when we get involved in the community, people will take notice of who we are and what we are doing.  Now this isn’t going to bring a bunch of guests in the door next week, but when we start to connect to our communities, we begin to build trust over time.  Not only is it just the right thing to do, it’s going to have long-term results.  CHC is hoping to be able to be present at more community events.  Such as joining the local Chambers of Commerce, subscribing to other community newsletters, and  promoting our initiatives at other local community events. 
#7 – Marketing, Advertising & Press Releases
Taking a look at our outreach spending is a great place to start. From there, we can then determine the best ways to strategically invest in our future growth and reach more people.  Some people think advertising isn’t a spiritual concept, but advertising and marketing are neither good nor bad.  They are simply tools that can be used for just about anything and should not be overlooked.

These are just some of the ways we can start being more strategic.  I hope reviewing these ideas has led you to start thinking about ideas that would bring people to our big event, Back to Church Sunday on 9/20.

Jessica OlivitoComment