Is Church Outreach Dead?
While pandemics and lockdown orders greatly impact the attendance of your services, they’re not completely at fault for the current state of the ministry. Average membership at houses of worship has consistently decreased in recent years, and ineffective or nonexistent church outreach might just be the culprit.
Some religious leaders view outreach as an outdated concept, but this isn’t the case. In fact, the DonorWerx Framework succeeds in part due to improved outreach strategies. Extending your hand out to the community is vital for church health. This can be difficult if you’re unsure how this works in the modern world, but the following guide will prove that church outreach is far from dead.
What Happened to Church Outreach?
Anyone alive during the ‘80s and ‘90s remembers a point when Saturdays meant a knock on the door from local church members. This was an effective way to share testimony and invite community members to church. At one point, it was even possible to predict the success of a ministry based on how many houses they visited.
Unfortunately, times have changed. Security experts now warn people to not open the door for strangers. Even worse, statistics show that an overwhelming majority of people do not appreciate proselytization when someone invites them to church. In a simple world, this would show that church outreach is dead. In the actual world, however, things are more complicated.
While door-to-door outreach may be on the decline – as it has been for decades now – many ministries are still effectively connecting with members of their community. It all comes down to the church outreach ideas you’re using. It sometimes becomes necessary to evolve as times change, and there’s no arguing that this is one of those times.
Modern Church Outreach Ideas
There’s an old marketing adage that says it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than bring on a new one. This has a ring of truth to it when comparing current church members to potential attendees. If you’re thinking of using this as an excuse to not reach out to your community, though, you’ll find a rude awakening waiting for you.
Donations to the church have gone down in recent years, and since 98 percent of church revenue stems directly from congregant giving, it’s essential to bring in new members consistently. And while door-to-door church outreach may be on its last leg, the following ideas can improve your community efforts in the modern world.
Offer Family Nights
Even families who don’t attend church often will jump at the chance of getting out with the family. Sometimes a single night away from home is all parents and the kids need to reconnect with each other and recognize how vital their local ministry really is. Here are a few ideas:
- Craft Nights.
- Parent-Specific Events or Meals.
Offer Holiday Alternatives
Certain holidays aren’t exactly religious-friendly, and others don’t always have safe celebratory events to enjoy. By offering these holiday alternatives in your community, you can improve church outreach while showing everyone a great time:
- Trunk or Treat.
- Super Bowl Safe.
- 4th of July Cookout.
- The Easter Hunt.
It’s important that religious folks show God’s love through their actions rather than their words. When members of the community look around, they want to see the helpers. By providing service projects, you can ensure that their eyes eventually find your ministry.
- Neighborhood cleanup.
- Building homes.
- Soup kitchens.
- Refugee service.
- Paid work for recovering addicts.
The goal of church outreach is to get people in your pews during service, and by hosting certain events, you’ll be able to accomplish this feat. Even folks who wouldn’t typically come to church will love taking part in a variety of community activities you’re hosting.
- Block parties.
- Festivals and conventions.
- Art shows.
Nearly 40 percent of Christians don’t attend church even once a month. Of course, this doesn’t mean they don’t have spiritual needs. By providing group prayer opportunities, you can reach out to these individuals and other community members facing trying times.
- Prayer services on specific nights.
- City walks after tragedy.
How to Get the Word Out
You now have a full arsenal of ideas for modern church outreach, but these offerings won’t amount to much if people don’t know about them. If your neighbors across town go the entire week of your service project, family night, holiday alternative or another event without once hearing about it, your outreach will prove completely ineffective.
Fortunately, the tools for outreach have improved as the task itself changed. By utilizing the following resources and strategies, you will amplify your voice prior to these events. And even when your church outreach occasions conclude, you can use these same resources to spread the word of God.
- Social media: The majority of Americans now use some form of social media. Reach out to them there and don’t be afraid to use ads on the platforms to promote upcoming events.
- Maintain traditional advertising: Radio announcements, television commercials, flyers in mailboxes and even the church marquee are brilliant methods of traditional advertising for events.
- Blogging: Church outreach via blog offers a shareable message while simultaneously improving your ministry’s search engine ranking.
- Word of mouth: Pastors have no problem asking congregants to bring a friend to service. This means there should be no hesitation in asking them to spread the word about an outreach offering.
- Local organizations: Working with local organizations is a great way to offer church outreach and take advantage of their marketing. Think homeless shelters, nursing homes and even other churches.
Don’t Let Church Outreach Die on Your Watch
It was once possible to predict a ministry’s success based on how many doors they knocked on. We’re in a different world now due to changing attitudes over the years, but this hasn’t lessened the importance of outreach in your community. Missionary and ministry work will always remain essential, but it’s time for church leaders to remember how to bring in their neighbors.
While a big part of the DonorWerx Framework relies on technology that makes giving simple, it would have no foundation without church outreach. Schedule a Discovery Call with one of our giving experts today to learn how to better engage with your congregation and community in order to do God’s work.