The following are 10 tips for reaching out to your community.

  1. People Invite People – A non-believer is not interested in hearing a popular Christian band or speaker. What brings them to your church will be an excited church member who enthusiastically invites them. So this raises the question: “How do you get your church members excited?”
  2. Skeptics Need a Reason to Come – Most non-believers over the age of 13 are not interested in going to your church. They may have come before or been invited before and have a pre-conceived notion about what church is about. However, a special event is just that… SPECIAL. It excites your church members and it gives them something different to approach their friends and family about.
  3. Your Senior Pastor Must Endorse It. – No matter if it is a children’s event, youth event, or women’s event, your senior pastor must be the primary champion to get the congregation excited about it. Their charge isn’t just asking church members to come but challenging them not to come alone.
  4. “Where’s the front door?” – Do you know how intimidating it can be to a visitor to come to your church? My guess is if you’re small, you have 3 or 4 possible entrances to your church while if you’re big, you may have 20. And that fear of embarrassment is enough to keep many non-church goers from attending your church. So take time to point people to the main entrance. Make it clear and during special events, have parking lot attendees outside to help greet and escort people where they need to go.
  5. Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Emcee. – Most people check off a list to make sure they have what they need. Speaker? Check. Band? Check. Volunteers? Check. What they most often fail to bring is an emcee or moderator who fills in the space between talent on the stage. This person is also a stage manager making sure the next person or group is “on deck.” Failure to have a good emcee creates awkward pauses and moments that leave first-time visitors with an uncomfortable feeling that they may not want to relive every Sunday.
  6. The Power of Prayer. – Our ministry has put on 4,000+ outreach events over the years and there is a measurable difference in turnout and decisions made at an event that has been prayed for over the preceding weeks. God moves when His people pray.
  7. Be Unique. – What makes concerts and conferences great is when they are unique. If you bring in a concert to your church with the hope that people will attend, what makes it different than what happens every week at another church? What could you do that makes a non-believer willing to attend your church for a special event when he or she may have said “No” the last six times they were asked? Be different.
  8. Bring the Event to the Lost – When we do a youth event, we ask ourselves, “How could we connect personally to every student in this city prior to our event?” The answer is easy: In the schools. That is why we put on short assemblies focused on a topic the principal chooses. So ask yourself the same question about your next women’s event, men’s event, children’s event, or other event. How could you take a portion of that event or a “taste” of that event and get it in front of the audience you’re hoping to reach?
  9. Neutral Non-Church Locations – You can have our events at your church. But from our experience, if you hold it in a neutral, non-church location such as the school auditorium or local theater, you will see 2 or 3 times the attendance from non-church members. Sometimes, the best way to connect to the lost and get them into your church is to start outside your four walls.
  10. Minister to the Needs of Your Audience – Don’t just host an event that meets the spiritual needs of your community. While they need that, we see in Scripture that Jesus and the apostles almost always met their physical needs as well. You can do this by providing food or medical attention or by simply supporting a great ministry or non-profit in the community. Perhaps the money raised that night will go to feed the homeless. Or maybe it will be given to the local public school. Show your community that you love them and are willing to support their needs through your special event.

You can find more articles from Gresham Hill at Reach Your City.

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Gresham Hill
Gresham Hill began his work in ministry in 1994 while a student at King College (now King University) when he served as a part time youth leader in Wytheville, VA. He continued working in ministry serving as a full time children and/or youth leader at Briarwood in Birmingham, AL and First PCA in Brewton, AL. In 1998, Hill left student ministry to get his MBA at the University of Alabama. While there, a friend asked him to assist in creating a ministry so that he could travel to share Christ. Reach Your City was launched with the goal to provide churches and Christian organizations with solid, Christ-centered ministries for creative outreach events.
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