7 Reasons Why Most Church Outreach Programs Fail
Have you ever wondered why most church outreach programs fail after just a few weeks or months? You, as an executive pastor, may be looking at other churches to inspire successful outreach programs. Before putting together your plan for church growth and donor outreach, it is important to be aware of probable pitfalls a church can experience before, during, and after the outreach program.
Below, we list seven reasons most church outreach programs fail. You can use this list either as a checklist or a training guide during your pastor and manager workshops.
They Feel Like a Commercial Show
If we look back at the Bible story of Jesus in the temple, we see this first point on our list as one of the earliest mistakes of the church and organized religion. He was angered upon entering the synagogue, and famously stated: “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ [a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ [b]”–Matthew 21:13 (New International Version)
Don’t make the mistake of turning your outreach programs into a material or commercial avenue. Always “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, then all these will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
They Are Not Inclusive
No matter how well-meaning your church outreach program is, it will fail if it does not take into consideration all who need your message. This includes families, children, parents, people of all genders, races, nationalities, and even other religions or communities. Why target only certain types of people exclusively? Ensure that your church program is open to all and does not leave anyone feeling left out, ostracized, or minimized.
They Lack Follow-up Materials and Methods
Part of planning your church outreach program is making sure there are good follow-up materials and avenues available. The easiest for this nowadays is online, digital programs. For example, you could do any of the following:
- Set up a digital base for support of those who signed up for your outreach program.
- Email messaging for sending out regular newsletters.
- In-person follow-up services.
- Online follow-up services via video conferencing.
- Website courses for those who want to dig deeper after learning the spiritual basics during your outreach program.
The Outreach Program Is a Logistical Disaster
Your outreach program team should include leaders who are not just good with people, but also logistics. This means hiring staff and managers who can foresee any problems that may arise due to scheduling, donor personalities, preferences, and even weather or other natural causes.
If your church outreach program is outdoors, for example, you may need to consider many factors. For good logistical brainstorming, ask some or all of the following questions:
- How is your technical sound system?
- Do you have adequate connections for planning an online live-streamed program?
- Are there childcare options for the donors who come with their families?
- Does anyone in attendance need materials translated into another language?
- What is the spiritual knowledge level of the donors attending?
- Will there be on-site donation options during the live outreach program, or will we keep the fundraising for follow-up or online programs?
The Organizers Lack Communication Skills
Excellent communication skills are essential for all leaders, and all teams. Give your communications team an upgrade by enabling digital avenues of communication. This could be as simple as a private social network page or a chat group for questions and answers. You need to be as quick as possible when conveying important information and logistics during your outreach event, so make use of the technology available to you.
The Programs Only Offer Temporary Solutions
Your church outreach program must include long-term solutions for change and church growth. Everyone could get excited and inspired during the event, but how will you keep those fires of enthusiasm stoked? Clarify your expectations for church outreach programs and take the time necessary to go over both short-term and long-term goals.
The Leaders Emphasize Statistics, Not Souls
The bottom line for outreach programs failing is that some church leaders tend to treat their public work like medals. They take lots of PR pictures, pose with the general public, make a lot of noise, and go for the statistics (e.g., how many people attended, rather than how inspiring or life-changing the outreach program was).
Those leaders often forget the quality of service—their ultimate responsibility. Treat those whom you seek to lead into the church with the same respect and care that you would your children. See each as a child of God—only this way will you be able to guarantee real growth and spiritual maturity.
How DonorWerx Can Help
Organizing a church outreach program may seem overwhelming, but don’t get discouraged. At DonorWerx, we have solutions to all the problems mentioned above. Contact us for a Discovery Call and find out more about our donor growth programs and digital solutions for your church.