Get your Church Invitation Cards Out in your Community: 28 Ways to Spread the Word about your Church
There are thousands of ways for churches to reach out in their communities. Every church is uniquely positioned to reach the people in a specific area. It’s an incredible opportunity!
Of course, you’ll need to find the ideas and strategies that fit the people in your church and in your area. But here’s a collection of ideas to get you started.
A church in West Virginia offers free oil changes every year around Mother’s Day. The service is provided to single moms, wives of deployed servicemen, and widows in their community. While volunteers tend to the vehicles outside, the church provides breakfast for the mothers and their kids indoors. They even get a local auto parts store to donate the oil and filters for the event.
Consider sending out church invitation cards to your community through the mail. EDDMs (“Every Door Direct Mail”) or direct mailers are both great ways to get the word out about your church. And with non-profit rates of 8.5 cents per piece, it’s an affordable option for almost any church.
This is a classic strategy for reaching people in your community. Just enlist volunteers to canvass the neighborhoods around your church. Give each person a stack of 40-50 church invitation cards and assign them a street in the area around your church. It’s an effective way to get your people out in the community.
Send your church to tailgate at the local high school football events. This is a really great idea if you have families with kids in that school. Setup some table and chairs. Invite church families to bring extra food. Then, invite people to join you. If people ask why you’re there, give them an invite card or a mini football with your church info on it.
When it starts to get cold in the mornings, send out teams of 2 or 3 people from your church to provide free hot drinks at the bus stops around town. You may even want to invest in some paper coffee cups with your church logo and website on them.
Many churches use car washes to raise money for events and programs. Why not offer a free car wash for a change? Volunteers can hold signs, wash and dry cars, direct traffic, and provide refreshments to your guests. Make sure you’re clear about the “free” part of the car wash.
This is a resource that’s often overlooked, but done right, it can be a very effective tool for reaching people in your community. Your church probably has a database of names and address. These are people who have visited your church before. They know who you are, and they would probably come back. Just give them a reason to do so. Send them all an invitation card for your next big event. Of course, if you do this every month, you’ll just annoy people. But once or twice a year, you should definitely send church invite cards to everyone in your database.
Ask some volunteers to dress up like Disney characters or super heroes and provide free photo opportunities at a big event in your city. Choose an event with a lot of kids and families. After you take the pictures, give out special invite cards with directions on how to download the picture.
Is there a large business near your church with a lot of employees? Talk to the owner. Offer to cater and serve lunch to all the employees. Even better, have people in your church bring their grills and cook the meal on site. Your church will have a great opportunity to get to know those employees, and those employees will see firsthand the love of Jesus in action.
This might surprise you, but the bulletin boards in your community get a lot of attention. So get permission to put up your church invite card at coffees shops, libraries, post offices, and really anywhere that you can. This is an especially great idea for events that are specifically aimed at serving your community.
Christian hospitality is a powerful context for connecting with non-Christians. Encourage your small groups to welcome neighbors into their weekly gatherings. Take a few minutes to read the testimony of Rosaria Butterfield. Listen to her talk about the role that Christian hospitality played in her conversion story.
Every city has events that are unique to their yearly calendar. What are those events in your city? And how can your church be present to serve? It may something as simple as handing out waters at little league games or cleaning up trash after an event at the fairgrounds. If your primary goal is to love and serve your community, you will get opportunities to talk to people about your church and your Savior.
Search for non-profit organizations in your area and consider sending volunteers to serve. Is there a rescue mission in your city? What about a women’s shelter or addiction treatment center? Some non-profit organizations will not be a good fit for your church. But you should be able to find a few that can become regular ministry opportunities for your church family.
Many churches reach out in their community during Christmas by providing free gift-wrapping services. You’ll need to develop a relationship with a local department store or mall, and of course, you’ll need a team of volunteers to volunteer time in the weeks leading up to Christmas. But this is a simple way to make connections with people in your community during time when many people are already thinking about the message of Christ.
Use a service like church inviter to connect the printed world to the digital world. Send out e-invites to your entire email list. Just upload the design from your church invitation cards, personalize the invitation, and send it out with your church contact info and logo. Again, you don’t want to do this every month, but you might choose a couple events a year to use a service like this.
A few years ago, Lifeway Research surveyed 1,000 pastors about their church attendance numbers. They asked them to list the Sundays with the highest church attendance. Easter (93%) and Christmas (84%) easily took the top two spots on the list. Since people are already more likely to visit your church on these Sunday, be intentional about planning and promoting these events. Get some fresh ideas for Easter and Christmas and pray that God would use these Sundays to reach people with the gospel.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are also great Sundays to reach new people through your church family. It’s really simple to setup a photo backdrop and offer free photos with Dad or Mom. You can create a unique website where people can download and print their photos, or you can print them on site and provide them at the end of the service.
Many churches host a “Friend Day” in the Spring or Fall. The concept is simple: encourage everyone in your church to invite at least one friend out for that Sunday. Announce the event a few weeks before and encourage your church family to pray about who they could invite. Design a Friend Day invitation to make it easy for people to invite others. You may even want to consider an incentive for anyone who brings a friend on that Sunday. Maybe a $25 gift card for a local restaurant, so they can take their visitor out for lunch.
Being a teacher is a tough job. But that job is a lot easier if you can start the day with pastries and coffee. Contact the schools around your church and ask the principle if you can bring breakfast to the school teachers. In general, you want to take every opportunity that you have to pour into the schools in your community. And you want to start by building strong relationships with the teachers and administrators in those schools.
If your church has large monitors in your main meeting area, you can simply invite people in for a movie inside the church. But if the weather is nice, it might be even better to show the movie outside on the church property. It’s very easy to rent projection equipment for this kind of event, and it will create a great environment for visitors to get familiar with your people and your location. Invite people to bring chairs or blankets. Serve snacks and drinks. Make it easy for your community to get to know your church.
A church in Texas ran a “You’ve Been Egged” campaign for people in their community. They left a simple door hanger with instructions for an easter egg hunt that had been set up in their yard. This idea is probably better if it’s personally delivered by someone in your church to someone that they know in their neighborhood.
Two out of three churches will offer a Vacation Bible School program this summer. Of course, you’ll be knee-deep in skit costumes, Safari decorations, and wacky game supplies. But it will be worth it.
Planning a “Kids’ Art Camp” at your church is another great way to make connections in your community. Find artistic people in your church to run art stations with a variety of mediums. Maybe theme the event after “God’s Creation” and help the children see that their creativity is tied to His. When the event is finished, you can even display the kids’ art in the church lobby on Sunday.
A pastor of a church in Indiana encouraged his church family to pass out mini invite cards with the church’s information and this statement: “Something Extra to Show You God Loves You.” The idea was for church members to use their creativity and resources to be a blessing others. These cards were given out with gift cards or added to gifts for neighbors.
Many churches use their church buildings to put on a game night for the community. Put out some video games, board games, LEGOs, and maybe even a ping pong table. You can even designate an area for a movie showing. Just plan an evening of fun and food and invite the community to join your church family. It’s a great way to love and serve others.
Partner with a local bike shop and host an event where kids in the community can come and bring their bikes. Offer to fill or repair flat tires. Setup a bike cleaning station. Setup a bike course on the church property. Then, send the kids home with a small gift from your church. You might even be able to find a local non-profit (https://www.offthefront.org/) that will run the even with you.
There is a church in San Jose that puts on an Epic Easter event every year (https://southridgesanjose.com/epic-easter-2019/) for their community. The highlight of the event is 50,000 Easter eggs dropping out of the sky. Kids also enjoy pictures with the Easter bunny and go home with an Easter basket full of goodies.
Get some volunteers from your church to sing Christmas carols at a nursing home in your area. You don’t need a fancy program or complicated arrangements. Just find people who want to serve and who can smile while they sing. And be sure to stick around afterwards to talk to fellowship with those who come to hear you.
Some of those ideas probably won’t work for your church. But maybe there are few that you can use. Or maybe this list will just get you started thinking of ways that you can reach out to the people around your church.
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