Places of worship desperately need to be connected to the community outside of their buildings — both to reach people who don’t attend church and to be more available to current members who can’t physically make it to services. The other reason churches need to connect is that their members are connected to the community. Aligning with causes your members are passionate about provides opportunities to engage members and foster a deeper relationship. Here are three ways to get your ministry’s message outside the church walls.
1. Hold Community Events Off Campus
Many churches host events that are open to the public (like a fall fun fest or a summer block party) in an effort to provide a fun, wholesome time for families and draw local community members to the church. These are great ideas, but the second component — community involvement — can be limited if you hold every event on church grounds.
First of all, many of the people you’re trying to draw in might be uncomfortable visiting church. If they choose not to come to church for services, they likely won’t make an exception for any church-sponsored event. Secondly, putting signage near the church entrance and encouraging members to invite their friends has a very limited reach. You will likely end up seeing the same handful of people at every event.
As an alternative, consider hosting a community event in the community. Rent a highly visible park, rec center, or event space. Work hard to raise awareness of the event by placing flyers in coffee shops, posting yard signs, and putting a small budget toward local social media ads. This can be a great way to reach people outside your building and improve your ministry’s reputation in the community. You can also choose a local cause that benefits the community to align with your event and use Givelify for easy mobile giving to that cause. (More on mobile giving in a moment.)
2. Leverage Technology to Reach Beyond Your Walls
Consider who is most cut off from your church when you aren’t able to expand beyond your walls. What about former church members who would love to attend in person, but can’t — either due to illness, physical ailments, or job relocation? What about potential members who are considering a visit, but aren’t yet ready to step through the door? What about current church members who travel for work, are away at school, or are on vacation with their family?
Technology offers virtual opportunities to easily connect with people outside of your regular in-person membership.
Give anyone who wants to witness your ministry firsthand the opportunity by live streaming your services. “Pre-first-time visitors,” former members who no longer live locally, and current members who have to miss a Sunday will all benefit.
Worried about the cost? Don’t be! While some churches use advanced technology for live streaming, plenty of cost effective options are available. Facebook Live and Periscope, for example, are completely free and work great for instantaneous streaming on social media. All you need to get started is a smartphone — and a member of your staff who has one handy would be more than happy to contribute.
Mobile and Online Giving
Now that you have a solution for sharing services with people outside of your church, it’s time to look at your giving options. Are your members and visitors able to participate in church giving without being present, or is the offering plate their only option? Mobile and online giving from Givelify are the best ways to let stewardship extend beyond your walls.
Members who can’t be present are motivated to give to your ministry, but haven’t had a convenient way to do so — until now. Using your mobile or online giving solution, they can participate in the moment. All they need to do is either:
- Pull out their smartphone and open the Givelify app
- Click the Givelify online giving button on your church website
- Click the “Donate Now” button on your Facebook page that is linked directly to your Givelify giving page
Whether they’re watching the church live stream and want to feel involved when you take up the offering, or they think about your ministry on a random weekday and want to show their support, mobile and online giving from Givelify make it possible.
3. Embrace Advertising and Social Media
If your place of worship isn’t blessed with a prime location on a busy street, consider a modest advertising campaign to help spread the word. On the digital side, social media ads are inexpensive and can be targeted to specific locations and demographics.
Traditional advertising such as billboards are also a tried and true method of local advertising that can help drive interest in your ministry. Even an ad in your local newspaper has the potential to reach people who otherwise may never hear about your church.
Not comfortable with spending money on advertising — or simply don’t have the budget? Start a church sponsored community page on Facebook and encourage your members to participate — and invite their friends. As more and more people share the page with their followers, the message will spread like wildfire. You may be surprised how many potential new members are hiding in your current congregation’s social media following.
Another huge benefit of expanding your social media reach is in driving awareness and use of your mobile and online giving platform. First, you can add a “Donate” button to your Facebook profile that links directly to your Givelify donation page. Then, any time you want to ask your followers to participate in giving, you can direct them to click on the Donate button. Voila — with just a few clicks, they can complete their offering.