Many pastors struggle with where to spend their limited advertising budgets. They wonder and experiment with different ways to invite people to church.
When I began to think about writing an article on inviting people to church, I stumbled across an excellent article by Kevin Hendricks on the Internet entitled “You’re Invited: Bringing People to Church. ” Hendricks interviewed Pastor Lee Powell of Cedar Creek Church in Perrysburg, Ohio.
Powell started Cedar Creek in 1994 with 25 people meeting in a Chinese restaurant. The church has grown to more than 6,000 with two campuses. Before entering the ministry, Powell worked for Sears as a national advertising executive.
"When I worked at Sears, we used to buy tire ads every week, " Powell said. “Most of the time people pay no attention to them. But when they need a tire—that's when they looked for the ad. " In spite of Powell’s marketing sophistication in buying ads, he says 80 percent of first-time church visitors come because someone personally invited them.
Hendricks reports that another pastor of a large multi-site church (Shawn Wood of Seacoast Church in South Carolina) said that his church has almost given up on mass mailings. It now relies primarily on people inviting other people.
These pastors and others have discovered what secular marketing guru Seth Godin has been saying for years. Mass marketing is dead. If you insert your message into the clutter of mass marketing channels, you will waste a lot of money, time and effort.
Godin recommends investing in a purple cow, which he describes as something different that is going to get people talking. If you combine word of mouth with word of mouse (Internet and e-mail), then you have the makings of a viral marketing campaign for your church. A purple cow is something that will get your church noticed. It is completely different. You can’t help but notice it.
Because you have a good church doesn’t mean your congregation will invite people. Make it easy for your members to invite their friends and acquaintances. Hendricks suggests printing invitation business cards. Be sure and include the basic church details such as meeting times, phone number and website address.
OK, you’ve decided to print an invitation business card. Now, where do you get the purple cow? Will it fit on a business card?
On the other side of your church invitation business card, bless people with a complimentary subscription to the Kids Click Menu at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Kids Talk About God features unique, Bible-based content in which Christian children express their faith in speaking, writing and drawing. Even though some parents may be spiritually lethargic, most of them want Christian values for their children.
Through database website technology, the space above and below the Kids Click Menu can invite people to your church. To see an example in action, visit the web page created for New Hope Christian Fellowship at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/NHCF. Children and families will enjoy seeing and hearing real kids answer questions about God and the Bible in 60 streaming Kid TV Interviews. There’s an online art gallery of Bible pictures drawn by kids along with a printable storybook Bible where children can illustrate Bible stories and make their own books (Kids Color Me Bible).
Kids and parents will have to strap on their seatbelts for high adventure when they watch the Mission Explorers Streaming Video. This series, originally distributed by a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers, features an 11-year-old girl reporting on the activities of real missionaries in a global mission trip. To date, it remains the only series where children experience missionary work through the eyes of a peer. In fact, the entire Kids Click Menu is geared that way. Children learn from their peers.
The idea here is to bless people where they care the most – their children – and invite them to church at the same time. Once a website visitor enters the Kids Talk About God website through a special URL such as the one created for New Hope Christian Fellowship, the visitor receives an invitation to church with every click.
Besides invitation business cards, church members can use the “Send This Website to Friends” button at the top of every web page. This button allows church members to send the church-sponsored Kids Click Menu to all the friends in their e-mail address book with a personal message. When their friends click on the website link, they will receive the Kids Click Menu with an invitation to church that appears in the space above and below it.
Is your leadership ready to equip members with an effective way to invite people to your church? Are you ready to trade your brown cows for a purple one?
Carey Kinsolving is a syndicated columnist, producer, author, speaker, website developer and purple cow developer. To consult with him about creating a purple cow invitation business card and web page for your church, call 956-772-1920 or click the Contact Us button at the bottom of http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org .