30+ Church Outreach Ideas to Grow Your Church in 2021

Synopsis: 2020 may have been the year that you had to rethink a lot of the way your church ministry could grow donors and stay active. Now that we are well into 2021, here are some great church outreach ideas to keep pastors focused on the goal of growing their ministries.

Getting Church Outreach Ideas Right

Are you looking for ways to grow your church outreach and inspire members and donors to attend? Here are more than 30 ways you can reach out without donors feeling like the activity is a religious service.

Some of the church outreach ideas are traditional; others are tech-based and require more out-of-the box thinking. When planning your ministry outreach, always remember to do what works for your church members, volunteers, and donors.

Before Planning Your Church Outreach Event Do This:

All leaders and outreach styles are different, so find the best outreach solutions for you to invest your time, donations, and energy in. What should you keep in mind when planning a good event that will inspire your members and donors?

There are a few things to remember when organizing church outreach.

  • Volunteers – How many people are needed to organize the logistics of the outreach event?
  • Funding – What is the budget you are working with, and where will these funds come from?
  • Fundraising – A church outreach event is always an opportunity to encourage more donors to support your work. How will you go about fundraising during the event?
  • Marketing – Prior to the event, how will you spread the word about it? Which digital tools and platforms do you need to ensure that all marketing communications are handled well?
  • Follow-up – This is what happens after your event — gathering data, statistics, writing thank-you notes to those who attended, for example.
  • Documentation – Plan to have a photographer or church blogger present during your church outreach activity, so none of those important moments are forgotten!

After you have covered those important basics, you want to get brainstorming on church outreach ideas for the whole year. Here are more than 30 to get you started.

1. Open Church Night

Encourage current church members to bring one friend to attend a service on this night.

2. Bible Quiz Fun

Test your church members’ knowledge of Bible verses or Bible history with a fun activity dedicated to Bible trivia. This is also an event idea that can take place online.

3. Donor Appreciation Service

This event should be scheduled regularly, showing your appreciation for everyone who has donated or sponsored ministry activities throughout the year. Church outreach ideas are nothing without appreciation.

4. Sponsor a School

Your church community can collectively support the school or nonprofit organization of your choice, teaching the donors and even young church members to “pay it forward.” Any activities planned on this day will go toward funding the needy school or community, so that everyone feels a united effort to help others.

5. Family Day

Church outreach activities don’t always have to feel like a religious obligation. Organize your volunteers to set up a fun family day outside, such as in a sprawling park or by the beach. Encourage interaction, networking, and positivity among church members and donors at this time.

6. Church Picnic

If you are lucky with the weather and have the chance to do outdoor activities, get everyone together for a fun afternoon with picnic food and fellowship.

7. Visit a Senior Center

This is something to organize with the young people of the church or a small group of volunteers. You could make the outreach something that you do to help inspire the elderly. Good times for this are seasonal events such as Easter and Christmas holidays, when folks tend to feel lonelier.

8. Online Church Concert

If you cannot yet meet for in-person concerts, have your sound engineers ready to help you set up online concerts. You can do this as long as you can guarantee good Wi-Fi reception for all involved.

9. Bible Costume Party

Who are some of your community members’ favorite Bible characters? Have one event dedicated to dress-up, similar to Comic-Con events.

10. Bible-Themed Art Event

For the creative souls in your community, host a painting party or art event, either in-person or online.

11. Mother’s Day

This is always a good day to appreciate the mothers in your community. Make Mother’s Day special by making it an outreach opportunity.

12. Father’s Day

Show appreciation to the fathers in your congregation by organizing a Father’s Day outreach event.

13. Grandparents’ Days

Grandparents in the church can also have a special day to feel loved and appreciated.

14. Community Thanksgiving

Even if you don’t hold this on Thanksgiving Day, it can be a wonderful opportunity to give thanks together, organizing your donors and showing appreciation to them for their continued support of the church.

15. Alternative Halloween at Church

Everyone loves a Halloween event! But you could put a spin on it by dressing up as spirits based on Bible stories: angels, archangels, etc. Some of the best church outreach ideas double as fun events.

16. Host a Talent Show

You might be amazed by some of the creative, talented people in your congregation. Dancers? Jugglers? Host a night where people get to show off that one special talent on stage!

 17. Church Ninja Sports Day

Together with your volunteers, create an obstacle course for the athletic members of your church. This can be fun, active, and sporty for all!

18. Digital Courses at Church

As your church moves forward with digital technology, why not offer to teach or train those who would like to learn more tech skills?

19. Youth Day

A day dedicated to the younger and/or teenage members of church, where you can highlight their community accomplishments.

20. Church Potluck

For all the bakers, cooks, or home chefs in your congregation, this is a fun activity, where you can enjoy eating together and swapping recipes.

21. Church Movie Nights (Digital)

Schedule inspirational movies that folks can watch together online, anywhere in the world. This can be a unifying yet relaxing experience.

22. Community Clean-Up

Encourage the members of your ministry to get involved in keeping the streets of your community safe and clean. This is a church outreach idea that can attract the entire community’s attention.

23. Church Theater (Digital)

Many Bible stories are also wonderful theater plays. If you cannot bring folks together to watch, schedule a time to film the theater play, and then stream it or broadcast it to all who want to enjoy the show.

24. Virtual Dinner Party

Host a night online via Zoom or another videoconference platform, where church members and donors can enjoy a dinner party together. You can even send out a dinner menu with recipes ahead of time!

25. Virtual Travel to a Mission Field

Is your church raising funds for missionaries in a foreign field? Why not dedicate one night to learning all about the culture of that country, some easy language basics, or discuss what it is like for folks living there?

26. Letter-Writing Event

Letter writing is an art that is still appreciated, even with all the digital communication options available. Focus on writing to a specific group of people in the community or writing thank-you notes to all who have supported your missions.

27. Soothing Sounds Night

Enjoy some relaxing, soothing music, poetry, or even instrumental sounds together. This can also be done via a podcast, or virtually. It’s one of the most relaxing church outreach ideas!

28. Cook for the Community

Similar to a potluck where everyone brings food, but you can also invite people who are not yet members of your church to come and enjoy the meals. This is also one way to encourage new members to find out what your church and mission are all about.

29. Beach Barbecue

If you have travel lovers or people who want to get out of the city, organize a beach event for community outreach. You can either have everyone meet at a beach restaurant or host a private cookout with your church members.

30. Plant a Garden Activity

Planting trees or caring for a garden together is a nurturing activity that promotes spiritual growth as well as physical activity.

31. Bonfire Story Night

Some members of your church probably have wonderful life stories to tell, and what could be more exciting for the little ones than a campfire and stories around it?!

Inspirational Bible Verses for Your Church Outreach Ideas

When planning each of these activities, keep in mind that people will come to church not because of what you say as a pastor, but how you make them feel. A church outreach event is the perfect opportunity to interact with your members and donors while creating a networking space for your church members.

You should also brief each volunteer involved as to the donors you expect to be present. Which projects have they helped with? How long have they been giving to the church? Share these along with the verses below to inspire your volunteers for the task at hand.

Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Matthew 25:35-40 – For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in

For more helpful tips on growing donors and having a thriving church ministry, visit our DonorWerx blog. We have digital tools to help you achieve your church mission goals and focus on helping pastors and leaders be better servants in the church.

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