Most churches in the United States are facing declining membership, but the message is still as relevant as in the past. So what’s changed? The message is getting lost in all the clutter. If you are a pastor or church worker, you probably did not receive any training in marketing. Even if you did so much has changed in the last few years that much of the information is no longer current.
So the Tips for increasing your church membership in 2011:
- List your church on Google Places. It is an online Yellow Pages developed by Google. When someone searches for a church, Google displays its Places page in the search results. Last month 17 million people typed in “church, find a church, church home, Methodist Church, Baptist church, etc.” If your church is not showing up, then visitors are going somewhere else.
- Make up or buy some cards that invite people to your church and hand them out to every member. Ask them to go out and perform random acts of kindness and give out the cards. The cards should include the name, phone number, address and website of your church. Memory Cross has developed some very unique ones or you can create your own. If each of your members can touch three people a year, think what an impact that would make to your community and your church.
- Get a list of people in the neighborhoods around your church and reach out to them at least 3-4 times a year. Postcards are a great tool because they are inexpensive and people have to see them, at least for a second. When you buy the list, make sure you can use it multiple times.
- Create door hangers or flyers and give them to members to hand out in their neighborhood. If your members are willing to knock on doors, hand out the flyer and invite people to a church event, that will give you the best results. The flyer should let people know about upcoming events or services that you have going on.
- Hold a free community event. It can be anything from a car wash to a concert to handing out bottles of water on a hot summer day. Do not accept any donations. Instead hand out a card with your church information on it.
- Start using email marketing and ask for the names and email address of all visitors. This will provide you a second way to connect with them.
- Set up a system where you connect visitors with someone in your church as soon as possible. Too many people come one time; and if they don’t feel connected to the church, they may not return. Even a phone call to thank them for visiting is a great way to open up conversation.
- Form a group that is committed to praying for people in your community. Meet on a regular basis and encourage them to write down any outreach ideas they come up with.
If you take action on these eight steps, you will find new visitors coming to your church and people’s lives being changed.
I have put together a new site to help churches use new and traditional media to reach out to their community. The website is: http://www.GrowingChurches.net.