For your church to be successful with a Season of Inviting, where churches can use all the events of fall or spring as a time to invite people outside the church to the church, requires every part of the church: leadership, communication team, and the congregation.
Not only is this the most effective way to grow your church through seasonal events, but it is the model we should use on all outreach projects. Jesus did not give his disciples the Great Commission and then qualify it by saying: "The command to be my witness and to reach your world is only for paid pastors and for rich churches with huge PR budgets."
No—outreach is every believer's task and seasonal celebrations are a great way to reach our world. This article will define each group's tasks and then give you some tips for implementation with links on this website that will help you carry out the suggestions. Some of the links go to free articles or how-tos, some are for Effective Church Communication Members only. For information about how to become a member, CLICK HERE.
Church Outreach Success work division
Though everyone should be involved, various parts of your church need to be involved in different ways, meaning in practical terms that the church leadership, communication team, and congregation each have different primary responsibilities. Following is a suggested breakdown of each group's tasks:
The church leadership decides which events will be celebrated and when. With the communication team, they decide an overall theme and activities not only for the event itself, but how they are going to involve the congregation, follow-up, and evaluate the results. Leadership needs to offer the spiritual guidance and prayer direction for the event. Leadership needs to continuously encourage, motivate, and thank those involved in the event. Leadership needs to decide on the goals for the event and assure accountability for measuring and evaluation to make each event and each year are more effective than the last one.
Technology Application Tips: Go online and search for holiday communication ideas. See what other churches are doing or have done. Email the church if you like something and ask for advice. Effective Church Communications has strategies that other church leaders have found useful at the first link below. The next two are overviews on what you need to do at your church to be prepared for seasonal ministry.
Based on their guidance from the church leadership and their knowledge of the community, the communications team creates print and digital communications for before, during, and after the event that both the church office and the congregation will use. Advertising, website support, PowerPoint, and every social media avenue should be used repeatedly to assure communication saturation. The communications team tracks materials created, sent, frequency, and response to the type and number of communications. During the process, the team continuously prays for wisdom and insight as they create communications for their congregation and for audience receptivity and positive response. Think of ways you can create materials that your congregation can use in their social media. Short videos to link to, images for Facebook and Instagram, suggested Twitter links.
Technology Application Tips: Start early to collect images that you can use for holiday themes. Some of the free images on the sites below are great for seasonal communications and are far more contemporary-looking than what's available through some of the church clip art sites. Some searching and modification will give customized themes for your church for no cost. I search these sites at night while watching TV and work on modifying them--this kind of work takes a lot of time, but you'll get some great results. Following is a great list of resources for artwork.
The congregation should be involved in every step of the process: motivated by the leaders and equipped by the communication team to pray for the events, volunteer to make them happen, invite their unchurched friends, help evaluate and follow-up with visitors. The congregation has the primary responsibility for inviting and bringing unchurched friends to the event, interacting with them at the event, and following up with them afterwards. This process needs to be continuously taught and reinforced, until it becomes part of the DNA of the church. When the congregation looks at seasonal and special event celebrations with anticipation as opportunities to share the joy of the Christian faith with their unchurched friends, you will experience natural church growth in numbers and in your people in spiritual maturity.
Technology Application Tips: Social media is a great tool to use to invite people to church-sponsored seasonal events. Using images, tips, and content provided by the church or your own, create a social media campaign to bring your friends to church. Social media has been the driver of political revolutions around the world—pray that you can use it to change your community for Jesus.
Create specific sections on your blog and social media that support the holiday outreach for your church: Why not do one all about an upcoming holiday with imput from your church and your people. For example you could do a Christmas site where you share traditions and recipes from your congregation. If you put that website on your outreach postcards and invitation cards it would be a wonderful way to involve unchurched people in your church.
What this whole church approach avoids:
In far too many churches season celebrations are events the church leadership puts on for the entertainment of the congregation. This then results in outreach being viewed a commodity purchased, not an ongoing ministry in the church, therefore if the church is not growing it is the pastor's fault or the worship leader's because seasonal celebrations are seen as promotions put on by professionals—congregational involvement is primarily to provide money to make the production possible.
These attitudes and actions are all unbiblical and ultimately unsuccessful if you want to grow your church and people. They are also deeply sad because the congregation does not experience the joy of sharing the gospel and their church and the community does not experience the joy of getting to know your church and Jesus.
For the holidays and special events to be more than traditional church family celebrations, all the church needs to be involved in new and creative ways; we are all to be Jesus' witnesses. The seasonal times of the year are a great way to reach out. We are all responsible if our church is growing or not, let's get busy this holiday season doing just that.
For many more ideas and practical tips on how to use seasonal celebrations as times to reach your community with the gospel message, grow your church in numbers and your people in spiritual maturity go to: https://www.effectivechurchcom.com/category/seasonal/
Please share your thoughts, comments, questions!