Using Church Invitation Cards to Reach more People
The debate has been over for a long time. Word-of-mouth is by far the best way to get more visitors to your church. One of your church invitation cards given by someone in your church is better than any Facebook ad, billboard, or TV commercial.For his book, "The Unchurched Next Door", Thom Rainer and his team did three years of extensive research on the “unchurched”. He defines the “unchurched” as those who attend church less than three times a year.
Here’s what they found: 96 percent of the unchurched said they were likely to attend church if they were invited.
That's a staggering statistic. Think about your city. That means there are thousands of people in your area that are just one personal invitation away from visiting your church.
Your goal as a pastor or ministry leader is simple. Make it as easy as possible for people in your church to invite their friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers.
But how do you do that? How do you make it easy for people to invite others? You really just need two things - some invitation cards and some opportunities to use them.
Let’s talk about why the church invite card is the best tool for your church. Then, we’ll talk about how to use them effectively in your city.
Why Use Church Invitation Cards?
Church invitations have come a long way since the clip-art flyers of the 90’s. Today, you can get church invitations in a wide variety of styles and colors. And with the affordable printing costs available, church invite cards have become the perfect tool to help your church family reach out. Here are four reason to start using them in your church.
They set the tone for your church event.
A church invitation card doesn't just communicate to people outside your church. It also communicates to your church family. It reinforces the value of what happens in the life of your church. It's like a bulletin announcement on steroids.
The reality is that many churches struggle to get regular attenders out for big events, much less visitors. A high-impact invite card tells your church family that something important is happening. It communicates value, and it encourages even your regular attenders to get involved.
They remind your people to look for opportunities to invite.
Everyone in your church has friends and family members who do not attend church. Maybe they've thought about inviting them to visit your church. It may be as simple as giving them a little encouragement.
Printing up church invite cards is a great way to provide that little nudge to your church. It gives them a physical reminder to go to that friend or co-worker and invite them to their church. Sometimes, all they need to do is ask.
They put something tangible in the hands of potential visitors.
The digital revolution is here. But the digital world is over-crowded. Done right, your printed materials can make a huge impact, because they’re not easily dismissed. You can’t scroll past them. You can't dismiss them with the swipe of a finger.
They're tangible. So they find their way into cars and on kitchen counters. And everywhere they go, they become mini-billboards, reminding people about your church.
That's why it's important to get a high-quality design for your invite cards. Since you're sending it out all over your city, you want it to represent your church well.
They invite people to engage in the life of the church.
It’s easy to slip into the rut of church attendance. You know the routine - come, sit, listen, and leave. Rinse and repeat.
This can even happen in churches that have a lot going on. We just get stuck in our routines, and we forget to pay attention to what's going on right in front of us.
Church invitation cards remind your people that they are part of something that is alive and growing. The church is bigger than any one of its members. That big event or new sermon series is a small reminder that your church is alive. These opportunities call your people to engage in the life of the church. They're not called to be passive consumers. They're called to be active members.
You are not just inviting people to attend an event or visit your building. You're inviting them into a community of faith, a local body of believers who gather each week to worship Jesus.
And this is the real value of using invite cards. It requires personal interaction. Unlike other forms of promotion, it requires your people to make real connections with people outside your church.
Creating Opportunities for your Church
So we’ve talked about why church invitation cards are a really practical and powerful tool for inviting people to your church. Now, let’s talk about using this tool effectively by creating opportunities for you people to use them.
Here are four strategies to help you plan those opportunities at your church.
Take advantage of the Easter and Christmas Seasons
A few years ago, Lifeway Research asked 1,000 pastors to list the three Sundays with the highest church attendance. Not surprisingly, Easter (93%) and Christmas (84%) topped the list. Mother's Day was the only other Sunday that got close with 59%. Another survey by Lifeway research reports that "nearly two-thirds of Americans agree Christmas should include a trip to church."
Easter and Christmas are clearly incredible opportunities to invite people to your church. So take advantage of these Sundays! Make your Easter and Christmas services exciting. And make them visitor-friendly. Encourage your church family to take invite cards and give them out in their neighborhoods, at their workplaces, and in your community.
Instead of asking, "How can we promote our Christmas and Easter services?" Ask instead, "How can we equip our church family to invite others to those services?"
Choose a Few Big Events that your Church will Put On every Year
We've already talked about the fact that you'll want to do this on Easter Sunday and around Christmas. But don't stop there. Plan a few big events each year that are specifically designed to help your church family reach out.
Plan a "Friend Day" in the Spring. Or a "Back to Church" Sunday in September. Take a week of the summer and put on a VBS program for your community. Do something special for your Father's Day and Mother's Day services.
Choose a few of these events and make them highlights in your church calendar. Your people will start to look forward to these Sundays, and you’ll start to see the momentum build from year to year as people find it easier and easier to invite others.
Many churches even provide incentives for people to invite their friends. Try giving away t-shirts to both the visitors and the person who invited them. Or give out gift cards so your church members can take their first-time guest to lunch or coffee.
Be creative! You can't go all out for every Sunday, but you can choose a few each year and make them a big deal for your church. On those Sundays, encourage everyone to invite someone to church with them.
Promote the Start of your New Sermon Series
Many churches use carefully chosen sermon series to lay out their church calendar. Hours go into planning and preparing and praying for each series. Pastors prepare sermons, media teams create graphics, ministry leaders plan next steps for those hearing the sermons. Why not leverage that investment to reach people who do not currently attend your church?
Try printing mini church invitation cards at the beginning of each new sermon series. Just use the sermon series graphic for the design, add the basic details for the services, and write a short, crisp sentence describing what the series is about. It's a simple and affordable way to transform your sermon series into an instant outreach tool.
Use Small Group Events to Reach New People
Every person is created in the image of the triune God, which means that we all crave community. Non-Christians will often be attracted to a Christian community even before they're attracted to the Christian message.
Your small groups are wonderful snapshots of your church body. For many people who are not used to going to church, small groups can be a very natural introduction to your people. Take advantage of the power of community. Plan a couple of small group fellowships or service projects each year, and specifically encourage your church to invite other people to come.
Preparing to Reach Out
So you have a high-impact tool for inviting people to church, and you have some exciting opportunities planned for your church this year. What now? How do you actually implement all of these ideas in your church?
Here are 3 simple steps to make sure your church is ready for that next big event.
Design church invitation cards for the event.
With the online editor from ProChurch, you can complete this step in minutes. Just choose a style, edit with your church info, and place your order.
Keep in mind that most people will not remember all the details for your church event without help. So make sure you give them the service times, location, and a basic summary of what’s going on. You'll also want to include your church contact info in case they want to reach you.
Start giving out invitations a week before the event.
It might seem like a good idea to start giving out invitations earlier than this, but most of the time, it simply doesn’t work. People rarely plan that far ahead for church events.
In the weeks leading up to the event, you can definitely announce the event in the bulletin or on a pre-service slide. But don’t start giving out the invite cards until the week before. Most potential visitors won’t remember to come if they are invited too far in advance.
Send your people out with a challenge.
You want these invite cards to be a next step for your people. So give the cards out after the service, not before. The stuff you give them on the way in is usually for them. You want this to be different. These invite cards are for others.
At the end of the service, make an appeal to your church family. Ask them to think of a few people that they can invite that week. Then, as they're leaving, have your ushers ready to give each person 2 or 3 cards. You’re sending the no-so-subtle message that you want them to invite more than one person.
Remember, you’re not twisting their arm to do something they don’t want to do. You’re helping them get past the usual excuses and distractions that rise up in their hearts. You’re making it easy for them to do what they already want to do.
Every person in your church knows someone who would gladly respond to a simple invitation to your church. As a church, you can help by simply providing a quality tool for inviting and some regular opportunities to reach out.
Whether you’re looking at postcard-style invitations or mini invite cards, check out the church invitation options at ProChurch. No time-consuming forms. No waiting for approval on your design. Just choose a style, customize the design, and place your order. It’s that easy.