We know we won’t, but in Today’s podcast we’ll talk about how you can increase the response by what you do on Easter Sunday.
Today we’ll talk about…….What can happen if you work hard on your event, but don’t have time to work communications FOR the event
This is a true story.
Though the specific event discussed is Easter, the lessons learned from it can apply to any event. In addition to applying to any event, we can all identify with the situation here. The challenges of ministry are so huge, it is very easy to get overwhelmed in one area and totally forget another one. May the Lord have mercy and help us all.
In one of my seminars, at the break, a lady literally came running up the aisle to talk to me.
“Oh, thank you, thank you,” she said, “Now I understand what went wrong.”
I had just been discussing the same ideas I’ve presented here about the importance of an overall communication plan for maximum results from your holiday outreach. I knew it was useful, but her response was more excited than most so I asked her to tell me more about her experience.
She then told me about a special Easter service her church put on that was a huge amount of work and an equally huge disappointment in results. Here is what happened:
They were a new church plant and wanted to reach out to their community at Easter.
They were meeting in the grade school, but they wanted to grow and to do that committed to reach their community for Jesus at Easter. On faith, they rented the high school gym so they would have room for a huge crowd. They prayed hard and worked hard to get lots of community involvement. They got it—merchants put up posters; the church got lots of media exposure. The day came and the church of 300 had over 1500 at the Easter service held at the local high school gym.
They were so excited. They praised God for answering their prayers.
The next week back at the grade school, they set up hundreds more chairs, printed lots of extra bulletins. Additional ushers were recruited. They were excited to welcome all the new people they were sure would come.
They didn’t need to go to the extra trouble.
Almost none of the1500 visitors for the Easter service at the High School showed up. The lady who shared this was now between laughing and crying as she continued, “Now I understand what happened!” she said. She was the pastor’s wife and they had been beating themselves up emotionally for whatever had happened to give them so little lasting response. Maybe people didn't like them. Maybe the preaching was a turnoff. Maybe the music was boring. Maybe it was a huge Satanic attack....they didn't know what to think.
But now she understood what happened.
“We didn’t give them any follow-up material! We didn't give them ANYTHING that told them where we met regularly!” she continued, “Can you imagine how many people were probably wandering around the parking lot of the high school the next Sunday wondering what happened to the church? And we were miles away wondering where all the people were.”
She realized that a simple flyer or a business card that said something like “We are so glad you joined us today! Come back next week to our usual location…” with the church address, phone, map, times of service, some of the services offered would have made all the difference.
An extreme, but not unusual story
Though her story was more dramatic than most, I almost never see the necessary follow-up publications given out at holiday celebrations or special events. Because of that lack of follow-up, few seasonal or special event celebrations accomplish lasting results, not because people aren't interested in a further relationship with the church, but they may not know how to do that or what else the church offers.
The reason this happens is often that the church staff is usually so time-stressed and exhausted just getting the event put on that they don’t have time to plan and reproduce the follow up documents that are essential to make the event have a lasting impact. It seems like these don’t have to be done so they aren’t done.
A way to solve this problem and make your event one of lasting success
Prepare your follow up publications and the materials that you will give out to people at the event BEFORE you finish all the communications for the service itself
That seems counter-intuitive and you'll always have an excuse not to do it, but the purpose of outreach events is not to get people to the event only. The purpose of all your events is to get them involved in the church and introduced to Jesus.
The communications that will do that are of vital importance and easy to not do once the staff is involved in the last-minute preparations for the actual event. If you don’t do the follow-up materials first, often you’ll run out of time to do them.
I’ve got Free Templates ready for you to use for bookmarks and bulletin inserts of various kinds. If you are doing follow up in addition to your print materials or primarily via social media—use these print versions as ideas.
Whatever you choose, just be sure you do something to tell people about what you do regularly at your church and where you meet regularly and invite Easter visitors to continue to interact with you there.
Following are the links to templates you can modify to let Easter Visitors know what you do regularly
Below is the direct link to all the templates for Easter: