Outreach Ideas for small churches

Last year we had 300 first time visitors at our church. I think that’s a lot of visitors for a church running 100. I’d love to tell you we kept them all, but we didn’t. Often we get asked what we do to attract visitors. We’ve had over 1,200 visitors in 5 years. I don’t claim to be an expert, but here are some simple things we do.

Festivals.

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If there is a community gathering, festival, event, etc, we are there. We rent a booth and give away peanuts and church information. it’s a simple way to get out into the community and meet people. Most cities have festivals with booths available. We invest about $1,000 in the two festivals we participate in every year. We have people attending our church right now that we met at these festivals.

Postcards

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When we launched we mailed 10,000 postcards. About 60+ people came from the mailing alone. We tried it again on our 1 year anniversary. The results were like 10-15. What happened? We had peaked in that 10,000 postcard market. We learned a valuable lesson 3 years later when we mailed 10,000 postcards advertising our community day. Lesson= give them a deadline or date to be there, and give them something they want (free food and carnival). About 100-150 visitors showed up to our community day. About 20-30 came to church the following Sunday. This leads to our third outreach tool…

Cookouts

time to eat!

Where there is free food and games, there’s a crowd. This past summer we had our VBS. 17- 20 kids showed up each night. On Friday we pushed a big cookout. We had food for 75 and ran out. Count on it, if there’s a cook out, people come and invite their friends.

The most important aspect of outreach events is planning. The more time we have to push an event like a cookout, VBS, or a big Sunday etc increases the likelihood of it being a success. Getting the information into community calendars around town or online or on the radio with K-Love requires you to know the dates up to 60 days in advance. Plan out your year around 3-4 big events/services. This will give you and your people time to get it ready and invite people.

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