Three Ways to Keep People Coming to Your Church
I think there are three big areas that will get people to come to your church. Here at Oak Leaf Church, we’re constantly evaluating and tweaking these things. Running through all of them is the God-factor, because you could do all this stuff, leave God out of it, and fall on your face. So, with that understood, here’s the three areas:
1. Advertising and Outreach. In order for your church to grow, you’re going to need new people to come. Just like a restaurant needs people to come try it out, you want people to invest their time and come to church. There are churches out there that don’t do advertising (I think of Rob Bell’s church), but instead do a bunch of community service – which I think turns into advertising. The bottom line is that the word has to get out. You’ve got direct mail, serving, community outreach, road signs, door hangers, invite cards, billboards, e-mail blasts, and a bunch of other tools at your disposal. If you want your church to grow, what can you to do go after new people?
2. The experience. When someone goes to a new restaurant, they want to have a good experience. The food, the service and the decor need to meet or exceed their expectations, or they won’t go back. When people come to your church service, do they leave happy that they spent the time there? Did you give them something that will matter to their real life? Did they encounter God? In other words, you’ve got to make sure the service is the best it can be. What can you do to improve your overall experience? Maybe it’s as simple as walking through your facility with the eyes of a first time guest, or tweaking how you do the welcome or announcements, or cancelling a meeting so you can work on your message. By the way, the experience factor isn’t just limited to adults…it works for kids, too. Parents will ask their kids if it was worth it.
3. Connection. One of the reasons people come back is because there is a meaningful connection to another person (sometimes it’s the pastor, but most of the times, it’s someone else), or a team. I met a greeter Sunday who said to me, “Do you know what I love about Oak Leaf? It’s that you guys let me serve.” There is a person that is connected to a team of people who are serving. She is needed and missed when she’s not there. Teenagers do this all the time – they make decisions about where to go based on who is going, not just on what it is. Adults really aren’t that different. People want to feel connected to what’s happening. They need to buy in and believe.