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7/11/17 at 03:15 PM 0 Comments

4 Honest Ways to Increase Your Church's Attendance

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Are the pews looking sparse on Sunday morning? If so, you're not alone. According to the latest Gallup poll, only 26% of Americans attended church once a week in 2016. It can be discouraging when you know you have a great message to share and not nearly as many people as you'd like to share it with.

Fortunately, you can solve this problem by developing a marketing plan. We know—it sounds a little weird to think of "marketing" your church. But just like a business needs good marketing to prompt shoppers to buy its products, you need good marketing to encourage people to visit your church. Here are four tools to get you going, and put more people in those pews.

1. Community involvement

Small businesses get out in the neighborhood for the same reasons as churches: working in the community helps people associate good feelings and develop loyalty to you when they find out all of good things you’re doing. You probably already are doing great work in the community, but it’s time to let people know about it. Design matching T-shirts with your church name on them, so people can easily spot you when you're out and about. You can also publish alerts in the newspaper or post flyers around town to let people know what projects you're working on and even invite them to join you.

Community events also are taking your organization to people, rather than waiting for them to come to you. This gives you a chance to find out what they like in a church and tell them about the programs you offer that might interest them. For instance, if you host a backyard barbecue for young families in the community, you can tell them about your children's program.

2. Print marketing materials

While it’s good to get a face-to-face interaction, you’ll want to give people something to remember you by. That’s where print marketing materials come in. You can hand them a flyer to put in their pockets or stick on the fridge so they don’t forget your next service or event. You also can advertise upcoming events by posting information around town at places such as libraries and grocery stores. A folder also serves as a reminder of your organization every time people use it.

Welcome packets for new members can be organized and customized in binders like these so they will stand out among other documents in their homes. The durability of a binder also does well to protect Sunday school and other worship workshop materials. A custom exterior matching the church logo or colors is a special touch that shows you’re willing to go the extra mile.

3. Social media
A less expensive way to market your church is through the use of social media. It can be an effective tool to spread the word about an upcoming event, solicit ideas for future projects, or engage community members on what they want from their local church. Like community involvement, social media also can help form a bond with people. It’s about putting faces on the organization and making people feel welcomed.

Start a YouTube channel and post daily inspirations or a weekly sermon series —a preview of what’s to come on Sunday. Create a hash tag so members can share their thoughts about this week’s message. Post photos and videos from your events to show people all of the fun, good things you’re doing in the community. Social media also provides a way for you to give real-time updates on the church or send out last-minute notifications of changes to event details.

4. Website

You don’t have to be a tech geek to create a great website for your church. There are several services available. Many sites like this one have thousands of templates and are easy to use. There also are packages available to meet any budget with the most basic being free.

The key to a great website is to make sure it is user friendly and easy to navigate. After all, how can people attend your next service if they can’t find the service dates, times, or locations on your website? Other details you can add to your website include a statement of your church’s beliefs, a short biography about your pastors, office hours or a blog about what it means to live a godly life.

While you might not be able to implement all of these tips at once, it’s important to try a couple, as people receive information by various means. Some marketing tools will be more successful than others, but remember that even if you only reach one new person, that’s one more person who needed to hear the good news.

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).