If you have found yourself asking frustrating questions like, “Why is church attendance declining?" you have come to the right place. We know it can be tough keeping the church members you already have engaged, so getting newcomers on board can feel like a whole different ball game. Read on for our top tips on how you can attract newbies that will last.
Plan Events and Invite Outsiders
It’s all well and good to plan events at your church. But do you make the conscious effort to extend make your events inviting for potential newcomers? Put yourself in the shoes of an outsider. Coming along to a well-established church’s event could feel very intimidating. Church communities resemble families, and many outsiders could feel awkward at the prospect of simply showing up.
So, spread news of your church event far and wide using flyers, word of mouth, and any other form of advertisement that you can imagine. Just remember to add a welcoming note that specifies newcomers are welcome. Otherwise, those who hear about the event might assume that it is exclusively for church members.
Of course, it is still OK to plan events just for your current congregation. News of these events will likely be shared during the weekly service or specifically on the church bulletin board. But, if the event is designed to widen your reach, make sure that the welcome is known. This will help attract enthusiastic newcomers who will likely come back again and again!
Update Your Church’s Signage
Many churches fall into the trap of having the same old notices showing on the same old bulletin board for far too long. When a notice board looks shabby and uninspiring, people will just keep walking without even glancing at its content. If this is the case, even if you do plan an event to welcome newcomers, they may not even see it.
Instead, changing the signage outside your church will attract attention while getting people excited about it too. Your church may be a point of interest on someone’s daily commute, but they rarely think twice about what’s going on inside. If you suddenly have a modern and eye-catching sign, your church will play on their mind after that.
Our favorite solution to church signage is digitization. If you make use of digital signage solutions at your church, you can upload savvy and aesthetic signs frequently. This way, you can keep them up-to-date and relevant by changing them as often as you like. Or, why not use a vertical welcome sign outside your building that says “Join Us for Church” and boldly invite others in to share a Sunday with you?
Develop an Online Presence
Most of the world we live in takes place online nowadays. From online shopping and banking to video streaming and apps, it feels like everything has an online presence. While you may be against this generally, we believe the saying, "if you can’t beat them, join them," resonates strongly here.
You may already have a website for your church, but have you considered creating your own app? Get a new church software provider, and you can! It enables you to stay on top of organization and planning while also giving you a leg up in designing your online presence — good church software is a must.
If you’re feeling brave enough, why not recruit some young volunteers to get you set up with an Instagram or Facebook page too? Expand your community online by sharing images and news of events, and watch how your footfall increases too. Newcomers will be much more likely to attend if they can see what a hit your last event was online!
Make People Feel Welcomed
Possibly the most vital point on this list is to make sure people feel welcomed. You can have the flashiest equipment, the most impressive church logo, and the best events in the world, but if newcomers don’t feel wanted when they do come, you will never see them again. While it may not seem like a lot, it does take some people a lot of courage to go along to a new church’s event.
Besides encouraging your general congregation to be smiley and friendly, there are several tactics to let people know they are safe and with family at your church. Have a welcome team of volunteers tasked with greeting people at the door, to show them to their seats with a smile. Clearly marking the entrance to the event is another good tip, reducing the number of lost and confused could-have-been attendees.
Get their contact information so you can send them a new church member welcome letter reinforcing the fact that you would love to have them in your community. How to grow a church depends on the specifics, but throwing events and revamping your image both in person and online will definitely increase general interest.
As many people don’t know how to become a member of a church they might second guess whether or not it is customary to just show up. But, assuring people they are free to come along is as simple as installing a vertical sign that says “Everybody Welcome.” So, what’s stopping you?